Much has been done for the conservation of natural resources; but without the participation of the community around the resource area, sustainable conservation cannot be achieved. Participatory Forest Management (PFM) is the best practice for the sustainable conservation of the remaining natural forest of the country with entire involvement of the community. PFM can sustain the natural resource. This study intended to examine the effect of PFM on forest status. The ecological effect of participatory forest management in three forest without and three with PFM practiced in Bale highland forest reserve south east Ethiopia. Semi-structured questionnaire, focus group interview and field observation were used for the purpose of forest study. Forest parameter data was collected by systematic sampling using transect line at 250m interval in which 152 plots within 20m by 20m at 500m .Forest parameters like DBH, height, number of seedling, sapling mature tree as well as general human use sign data was analyzed using Microsoft excel software . Average biodiversity indexes of forest with PFM were higher in forest with PFM than none PFM forest. The Average number of stem per hectare was found to be higher in PFM forest. Average number of trees has increased from (213 to 245±8), (128 to291±7) and168 to262±7 in study areas from their respective year of PFM inception to 2018. Mean basal area has also increased from (13 to 69.5±2.7), (7.5 to 63.6±2.8) and (10 to 35.5±1) m2 ha-1. The study recommends undertaking PFM initiatives in all forests.
Keywords: Forest Status, Effect, Livelihood and Participatory Forest Management