“Samudaik Ban” : community forest in Nepal

by Kriti

Once Forest was the greatest assets of Nepal. It still is but the deforestation rate is in record setting speed. The illegal traders have eagle eye on  Nepal’s forest and there is always ongoing illegal transaction of important forest tress. Nepal’s geographical position has also facilitates the illegal trade of trees and herbs to its neighboring countries. The declining ratio was very high in the 90s with annual rate of 1.9 percent.  Today, many forest have turn to bare hills. With loss of  forest land, Nepal is not losing the botanical assets, but bearing some direct effects on Vegetation too.
Nepal Forest-Community forest
However, acknowledging the scenario, locals of different villages in Nepal has taken action for forest conservation. The concept of Community forestry is practiced by many Nepali villages.  The community forestry concept was introduced in Nepal in early 80s. In 1980, 14,000  Community forest consumer group was formed. The community forest program has been exceptionally successful in Nepal, as the groups have managed to restored the declined forest of Nepal.

Community forest groups in eastern Nepal have been able to benefit the government and nature along side. Many villages that were under threat in monsoon can now breath relief as they no longer have to face the landslides. Water supply has been easy and forest is helping them with income generation. Villagers form a group to conserve forest and share benefits from the forest. They made rules and regulation to care forest, guard it and maintain it under governmental supervision.Governmental facilitator facilitates the conservation program. Also there are many NGO/INGOs working for the conservation program.

Many pasture lands and bare hills in rural Nepal are now transforming to forest. After plantation, it takes almost 20-25 years for the trees to grow full. Members from the consumer group says, they had not expected the plantation program will be effective but with strict action from the group members, the trees are growing. Villagers have mange to earn money from the forest by selling the grown trees, timber and other forest products but still maintaining the forest. The money has help them educate their children, manage their family. One third of the income goes to forest conservation.

The conservation groups have taken the lead on conservation efforts and green economy while government has still do a lot to strengthen its policy against illegal trades and Forest conservation in Nepal.