Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Strengthening forests in Nepal

Damakant Jayshi in IPS: Tired of walking, Shankar Prasad Ghimire, 87, a retired government worker, puts his walking stick aside and takes rest on a vast expanse of lush green land. Such dramatic backdrop of dense forest cover gives this former bureaucrat reason to be proud. As chairman of the Kafle Community Forest, he helped transform the once dying forest into a 94-hectare green treasure trove in Lamatar village in Lalitpur district, 13 kilometres south-east of Kathmandu.

"Those were the difficult times," Ghimire tells IPS, referring to his green crusade. "Some people simply refused to be part of the mission to rebuild the forest." …"What you see in front of you," he says proudly, "is the result of efforts by the local community, government laws and I/NGOs’ (international and non- governmental organisations) expert guidance."

Data from the Department of Forest show 1.1 million hectares (22 percent) of the total forest land has been handed over to the locals to manage and enhance in keeping with the Forest Act, which guarantees non-interference from the government forest office so long as the community forest user group (CFUG) complies with the Act (1993) and the Regulations (1995) and the Community Forestry Operational Plan.

Under this plan, the local community that agrees to manage the forest prepares a five- to ten-year master plan to protect, conserve and enhance forest products. Since timber and firewood are still so central to a local community's day-to-day living, they would first determine the sustainable reserve of timber and firewood and then sell the surplus to the community members.

…At present 1.6 million households are involved in the conservation and sustainable management of forests across the country. Together they make up 15,000 community forestry groups across the country, based on data from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). … A study undertaken by ICIMOD in three community forestry sites in Manang district (in high Himalayas) and Ilam and Lamatar in Lalitpur (in mid Himalayas) between 2003 and 2007 shows an increase in carbon storage in the community forests….

Narrow winding road leads through extremely diverse terrain in Nepal. This road leads north from Kathmandu towards Tibet. Taken by someone at the US Department of Agriculture

1 comment:

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