Abstract Participatory forest management (PFM) in Bangladesh has become the dominant strategy in the country's forestry sector. The main goal of PFM is to enhance the capacity of both state and civil society stakeholders to manage forests in a sustainable manner. This study aims to evaluate capacity development for key stakeholders using ‘4Rs’ stakeholder analysis. The data for this study were collected through focus group discussions with local stakeholders, individual interviews with forest department (FD) staff and a sample survey of participating farmers. Information derived from focus group and individual interviews were analysed using conceptual content analysis and sample survey data were analysed using statistical analysis. Conceptual content analysis suggested the following: among stakeholders, the national government, concerned civil servants, concerned FD staff and the funding agency are the most important and influential stakeholders; although local FD staff and participating farmers are important and are the most experienced stakeholders, they cannot participate in the decision-making process and thus are less influential as stakeholders. The FD usually has ownership and revenue collection rights over a PFM project, while participating farmers have only usufruct rights over the forest resources and are responsible for protecting and managing the participatory managed forests, so that those stakeholders with many responsibilities and rights benefit less. Relationships between the project implementers and the local stakeholders are poor. Statistical analysis suggests that in respect to participating farmers: about 46% did not received any benefits from the forests; about 30% who received benefits were not satisfied with what they received; about 85% did not attend any decision-making process; about 19% did not agree with the strategy of PFM; and about 28% were unable to participate in PFM with their acquired capacity. Overall analyses suggest that the capacity of stakeholders for sustainable PFM did not develop to the level anticipated under the project proposal.

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