New Publications

From education to rehabilitation: empowering farming communities through extension services for landscape restoration

Public extension services disseminate awareness and promote community participation in landscape restoration efforts around the world. Due to the importance of forest restoration programs in Pakistan, access to public extension services can have a significant impact on community mobilization in reforestation efforts. This study quantifies the social and landscape restoration impacts of extension services in communities with and without access to extension services. It also identifies the factors influencing community-level access to extension services in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region of Pakistan. The results of our study showed that those communities that had access to extension services were more active and effective in restoring forest landscapes than those that didn’t have access to extension services. Extension services increased awareness of forest conservation, adoption and implementation of forest management strategies, changes in attitudes and behaviors, and social empowerment through capacity building. The findings suggested that several factors, including no roads to a village on hilltop, proximity/distance of a village to the extension office, lack of community cooperation with extension officers, weak government support for extension agents and elite capture in the communities restricted communities’ access to extension services. Based on the findings of the study, we recommend the development of infrastructure, especially roads to uphill villages, and the recruitment of more extension agents to include marginalized communities in extension programs.