Study suggests a positive contribution of community forestry

Nepal has a promising history of forest management and shows an excellent example of community-based forest conservation globally although the country has only 5.96 million hectares forests (40.36% of the country’s land area). However, the effectiveness of this program on forest cover change remains mostly unknown after four decades of community forestry. GIIS research fellows Uttam and Sujata analyses the spatial and temporal patterns of tree cover change along with a few socio-economic drivers of tree cover change to examine the effectiveness of the community forestry program for conserving forests or in reducing deforestation. They also investigate the socio-economic factors and policy responses as manifested through the community forestry program responsible for the tree cover change at the district level. Their analysis reveals that between 2001 and 2016, Nepal has lost ∼46,000 ha and gained ∼12,200 ha of forests. They concluded districts with the larger number of community forests had a minimum loss in tree cover, while districts with the higher proportion of vegetation covered by community forests had a maximum gain in tree cover indicating a positive contribution of the community forestry program to reducing deforestation and increasing tree cover.

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