7. The Forestry Sector Policy, 2000Editor NLC
The policy statement of 2000 for the forests of the Terai, the Churia hills and the Inner Terai provided explicit management options for the forests in the hills and mountains of these region. It has also given recognition to the Agricultural Prospective Plan (APP), Master Plan for the Forestry Sector (MPFS), and the Nepal Environmental Policy and Action Plan (NEPAP), all of which pay special attention to the management forests in the hills and the Siwaliks. The National Biodiversity Action Plan will provide a broad framework for developing a comprehensive work plan for forests, Protected Area System (PAS), wetlands, mountains and agriculture.
In the following policy statements, His Majesty’s Government presents the guidelines for the legal, institutional, and operational development of the forestry sector. This forestry sector policy is especially important in that it provides a framework for the systematic implementation of the various development programs in the sector.
7.1 Land Use Planning
Land use planning will be introduced in order to enhance the productivity of the resource base and for striking a balance between the conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources. As changes in land-use categories reduce productive capacities and result in environmental degradation, the cultivation of forest, shrub and grassland will be forbidden. Existing landuse categories will be improved to their full potential so that productivity is increased and the forestry sector developed.
7.2 Conservation of Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Genetic Resources
Biodiversity conservation will receive high priority to ensure both security and a sustainable livelihood for millions of people living in the eastern Himalayan region. Species, their interactions, and the ecosystems they inhabit are the essential elements for creating biodiversity. A landscape planning approach to managing biological diversity on an ecosystem basis will be initiated.
In order to conserve forests, soil, water and biodiversity while at the same time meeting the basic needs of the people on a sustainable basis, land and forestry resources will be managed and utilised according to their ecological status. Representative examples of ecosystems unique to Nepal and areas of special scientific, scenic, recreational or cultural value will be protected. In order to provide a systematic and strategic approach to biodiversity protection in Nepal, in accordance with the Convention on Biodiversity, 1992, in line with Nepal’s existing initiatives in commitments to and responsibilities for conserving biological diversity, the need of and constraints to biodiversity protection will be identified. Ecological balance will be maintained and biodiversity conserved for the well-being of the nation. To accomplish these goals, the environmental impacts of development programs will be evaluated. In cases where the national interest conflicts with local interests, any adverse effects on the local people will be minimised and compensated for.
Tourism in protected areas will be regulated and kept within the carrying capacity of the local ecosystems. Part of the income from tourism will be made available for community development.
His Majesty’s’ Government of Nepal will adopt a National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP) in the year 2000 to provide an operational planning framework to conserve biological diversity, maintain ecological processes and systems, and to ensure the equitable sharing of benefits.
7.3 Production and Utilisation
The forestry resources of Nepal will be managed and utilised in a manner which gives priority to the production of products which best meet the basic needs of the people. The priority products are fuelwood for cooking, timber for housing, fodder for domestic animals, and medicinal plants for health.
Forests in the hills will be managed with the users’ participation. The primary task of a government field worker will be to assist, advise and facilitate households in their efforts to manage and utilise the forests on a sustainable basis. Promoting the establishment of permanent users as managers of forestry resources will gradually eliminate the present uncontrolled use of forestry products. The ancient right of the people to collect fuelwood and fodder will be regulated accordingly to the decisions and management plans of the users. The villagers themselves will thus defend their property against illegal exploitation.
Forests in the Terai and the Siwaliks of high economic and national importance will be managed and utilised by implementing management plans and by strictly following the plan’s prescriptions. Collaborative partnership with the households living adjacent to such forests will be established. Legal provision will be made for sharing the revenue. The supply of forest products, especially wood to urban areas, in the cash economy will be intensified by promoting the production of these products in national forests, on farms and commercial plantations. Especially in suitable parts of the Terai the production, processing and marketing of non-wood forest products will be encouraged.
7.4 Social Aspects of Land and Forestry Resources
A holistic approach to the multiple use of land will be taken up by blending forestry management with biodiversity conservation and community development activities. Emphasis will be placed on integrated farming for strengthening soil conservation and watershed management, for research, extension, and agroforestry, and for other activities related to the forestry sector policy of 2000.
The principles of decentralisation will be applied in the forestry sector through community forestry, which, according to the Forest Act of 1993 and the Forest Rules of 1995, has priority over other forest management strategies. Priority will be given to underprivileged communities, or to the underprivileged people within a community.
7.5 The Role of the Private Sector
Establishment of private forests, herbal farms, and wildlife ranching on private land will be encouraged. Similarly, the establishment and development of forests on leasehold government land will be promoted as long as such forests are socially acceptable. As always, the involvement of the private sector and non-governmental organisations will be continued in forestry development activities.
Parastatals will be required to compete with private enterprise on an equal footing, and required to pay market prices for forestry products. New forest-based industries will be established only if their plans for the production and acquisition of raw materials are acceptable to the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.
7.6 Investment in the Forestry Sector
The forestry sector policy and its programs demonstrate the importance of the forestry sector in the overall context of national development. Accordingly, the forestry sector will be recognised as one of the priority sectors for planning and investment. His Majesty’s Government (HMG/N) will solicit Cupertino and assistance from all concerned parties, including donor agencies and international financial institutions, to implement the forestry policy and to finance the forestry sector programs. Preference will be given mainly to grant assistance, particularly for community-based resource management and supportive development programs. Funding which supports international training and the purchase of equipment to improve the capability of forestry professionals will also be welcomed. Loan assistance will however, be considered and accepted for productive forestry programs. Similarly, joint ventures with the private sector to implement commercial forestry operations in suitable forests of the Terai will be encouraged.
The Forestry Sector Co-ordination Committee (FSCC) of the MFSC, which is comprised of representatives of donor agencies, international institutions and relevant government agencies of HMG/N, will continue to work closely together to co-ordinate programs and develop guidelines for program implementation and to mobilise necessary financial resources. The FSCC will foster closer ties and co-operation among the funding agencies, and between the agencies and the MFSC.