It is clear that protected areas have both benefits and costs on local community. This article aims to explore views of community members and forest park administration staff on benefits of forest park for local community; with particular reference to Subba Sabbata Forest Park.
The study relied on both primary and secondary sources. It is qualitative in nature in which key informant interview, focus group discussion and observation were used as data collection techniques. The informants were members of the local community and staffs of Subba Sabbata Forest Park purposively selected based on the researcher’s judgment. Ten key informants (seven community members and three staff members) were interviewed. This size was determined based on the principle of data saturation. Besides, two focus group discussions consisting of six and seven discussants were conducted. The findings were organized into different themes and sub- themes.
The findings indicated that Subba Sabbata Forest provides various benefits for local community. The benefits include: source of employment, alternative income generation, permitted use of the forest and its resources, source of community identity, recreational benefits and medical purpose.
It was found that informants from local community and the park administration differ in their perceptions regarding the costs and benefits of the forest park. In some cases, what the staff raised as benefits were found to be costs from the community’s perspective while others were hardly acknowledged. There are also common understandings between the two on some other issues regarding costs and benefits of the forest park on local community.
Keywords: Local Community, Forest Parks, Benefits