4. New concept of forest management of Terai, Churia and Inner TeraiEditor NLC
According to a recent survey (1998), the estimated annual depletion rate of forests in the Terai is 1.3% and in the mountains including shrubland is 0.2% , overall the national average of forest depletion was 0.5% during the period from 1978/89 to 1993/94. It is estimated that the annual economic loss from the deforestation is eleven billion Nepali rupees per year. This situation shows that there is still good deal of pressure on forests especially those in the Inner Terai and Terai. The depletion of forests causes serious problem including declining agricultural productivity and environmental degradation. In order to check the depletion of forest resources to improve conservation, and practice management in a sustainable way, the His Majesty’s Government of Nepal introduced a proposal for a new concept in managing the forests of the Terai, Churia and Inner Terai on May 1, 2000. The proposal is ideas include the following.
- Contiguous large block of forests now existing in the Terai and the Churia hills will be delineated, gazetted and managed as national forests.
- A collaborative forest management system, following natural processes, will be applied to improve forest and biodiversity.
- Since the present stock of timber in Timber Corporation of Nepal (TCN) depots and the collection of fallen trees from forests and settlement areas is able to fulfil the present demand, green trees as such will not be felled for commercial purposes, at least for next five years.
- The barren and isolated forestlands of the Terai, inner Terai and the Churia hills will be made available for handing over as community forests. A Community forest operational plan will be prepared and forest product will be utilised based on annual increment and prescribed guidelines relating to the marketing of forest products.
- The Churia hills will be managed as a protected forest. They are geologically very fragile and moreover, they absorb rainwater and recharge ground-water for the Terai.
- The sustainable management of forests in the Terai, the Churia hills and inner Terai requires participation. Committees established for this purpose receive fuelwood and fodder free. In addition, 25% of the income of the government-managed forest will be provided to local governments (VDC and DDC) to implement local development activities. The remaining 75% of the income will be collected as government revenue
- As the main objective of community forests is to fulfil the basic needs of local communities for fuelwood, fodder, and small timber, 40% of the earnings from timber sales from the Terai, Siwaliks and Inner Terai will be collected by the government for program implementation when surplus timber is sold by community forest users’ groups.