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Review article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Reviewing gender roles, relations, and perspectives in small-scale and community forestry - implications for policy and practice

Ota, Liz; Lidestav, Gun; Andersson, Elias; Page, Tony; Curnow, Jayne; Nunes, Lilian; Goltiano, Henry; Gregorio, Nestor; dos Santos, Natalia Ferreira; Herbohn, John


This study synthesises published research on gender relations in small-scale and community forestry to examine how gender roles, dynamics, and identities are understood in the literature. We also assess the ways in which gendered social relations can be more effectively incorporated into policies and practice. After initial screening, 140 papers were systematically reviewed. Thematic analysis revealed that gender relations have been studied in small-scale and community forestry under different approaches and to various depths but were frequently equated to women's issues. Although normative gendered roles within households and communities may persist, there are opportunities for breaking through stereotypes. Most common findings were that small-scale and community forestry increases gender equity in rural communities but can have adverse effects if women are not genuinely included in decision making. Leaving women's perspectives out of decision-making processes can be harmful to their livelihoods. Further, as women often distribute the benefits from small-scale and community forestry to households and communities, their absence in decision making is detrimental to society. Policies that promote ways to incorporate the perspectives of men and women in small-scale and community forestry can benefit from the resultant broader knowledge bases and objectives. When gender inequities are pronounced, gender-targeted approaches might be necessary. Other factors that explain social stratification, such as ethnicity and age groups, must also be taken into consideration. Small-scale and community forestry can provide opportunities to broaden the scope of livelihoods, decision making, and contribute to a more gender-equitable engagement.


Gender; Women; Equity; Development; Governance

Published in

Forest Policy and Economics
2024, Volume: 161, article number: 103167
Publisher: ELSEVIER