© WWF Nepal
Forests
Nepal's forests are home to multitude of flora and fauna that range across the Terai to the middle and high mountains of the country. Forests occupy roughly 44% of the country's landmass and includes areas both within and outside protected areas and other wooded lands.
Nepal's forests occupy rougly 5.96 million hectares of landmass, with the forests of Terai serving as a source of revenue through timber exports to India. However forest management was paid relatively little attention until the 1930s (1990 BS). Meanwhile, forests were also used as collective resources under systems such as Kipat and Guthi by indigenous people and local communities until the 1950s (2007 BS). The practice of transferring tenure rights of forests by rulers to their families or people of interest in the form of Birta or Jagir was also prevalent during this period. In 1957 (2013 BS), the government nationalized all forests of Nepal considering them as property of the state. Protection of national forests were regulated after the formulation of Forest Act in 1962 (2018 BS). The nationalization of forests however limited local community ownership over the surrounding forests, contesting its protection. 

In order to enhance the role of local communities in forest resource protection and management, the government launched the Panchayat Forest and Panchayat Protected Forest in 1978 (2035 BS) which gave rise to the notion of community-based forest management in Nepal. Community based forest management has been mainstreamed in Nepal's forest management after the endorsement of Master Plan for Forestry Sector in 1988.

WHY FORESTS

Nepal's forests face grave pressures resulting from a multitude of human related factors such as conversion of forests for other landuse, haphazard infrastructure development, human resettlement and forest encroachment, uncontrolled forest fires, overgrazing, over extraction of timber, fuelwood and non-timber forest products, and illegal extraction of forest products.

© Nabin Baral/Hariyo Ban Program/WWF Nepal
WHAT WE'RE DOING

At WWF Nepal, we support the restoration of forest and landscapes to increase forest cover, improve ecosystem services, and enhance resilience, by engaging conventional and non-conventional stakeholders.

 

IMPROVED FOREST MANAGEMENT

WWF Nepal works with the government of Nepal and local communities to improve management of forests and forest resources by promoting community-based forest management and sustainable forest management. Community-based forest management (CBFM) has proven to be an effective approach in increasing community stewardship in forest conservation and in mitigating human-induced deforestation and degradation. WWF Nepal's forest program supports CBFM groups in improving management of community forests through revision and implementation of Forest Operational Plans (FOP) and capacity development of user groups.

WWF Nepal also supports sustainable forest management initiative which regulates present optimum yield with due consideration for forest regeneration in a sustainable manner to increase yield and productivity of forests while also improving economic benefits to the society.

FOREST LANDSCAPE RESTORATION

WWF Nepal supports the Government of Nepal in its forest and landscape restoration initiatives through plantation of native species and enhancing natural regeneration. It's restoration work primarily focuses on deforested areas and degraded lands within WWF’s priority working landscapes.

Nepal's forests are impacted by varied drivers of deforestation and degradation owing to increasing population pressures, which in turn jeopardizes forest ecosystem services. Restoring forest ecosystems is therefore a major strategy of the forest program to limit forest loss.

As the forest landscape restoration is a process of regaining ecological functionality, WWF Nepal has been promoting agroforestry and private forestry initiatives within various segments in its working landscapes.

EFFECTIVE FOREST PROTECTION

Forest ecosystem are degrading due to illegal harvesting, forest fires, overgrazing and expantion of unsustainable infrastructure despite conservation efforts over the past few decades. Despite steady addressal of threats and drivers of deforatation and degradation, issues have continued to emerge.

The forest program has provided continuous support to in reducing these threats and drivers, which has been instrumental in protecting forests and improving the functionality of forest corridors for both wildlife dispersal and flow of ecosystem services.

FOREST CARBON ENHANCEMENT AND REDD+

WWF Nepal has been supporting the Government of Nepal in the REDD+ process since the very beginning, starting with the development of a sub-national level Emission Reduction Program Idea Note (ERPIN), and the Emission Reduction Program Document (ERPD) for Terai Arc Landscape of Nepal. The Emission Reduction Program Document (ERPD) of Nepal was approved by 18th FCPF Carbon Fund meeting in June 2018. The sub-national level ERPD covers TAL with the potential to recover up to USD 45 million in lieu of 9.16 million tons of CO2e sequestrated over a six-year period ending 2024.

© WWF Nepal

NATURE BASED LIVELIHOODS

WWF Nepal has been supporting livelihood diversification and creation of economic opportunities for forest dependent communities through the promotion of forest based green enterprises. Despite this, natural resource extraction is still predominant as a subsistence livelihood option for a majority of households residing in WWF working landscapes.

WWF Nepal supports natural resources dependent IPLCs and marginalized people through skilled based income generating activities, and forest and farm-based enterprises. WWF Nepal also promotes community-based ecotourism to uplift the livelihoods of forest dependent communities by helping them capitalize on non-consumptive use of ecosystem services, and in the generation and mobilization of community capital to run green enterprises as alternate livelihood options, alongside trainings on cooperatives and micro-financing to support effective mobilization of community capital through cooperatives.

Focal Species

Considering the ecological importance and threats to protection, WWF Nepal has identified four focal species as a priority species to focus conservation.

The species include:
  • Chaamp (Magnolia champaca)
  • Bijaysal (Pterocarpus marsupium)
  • Rhododendron (Rhododendron species)
  • Tree Fern (Cythea spinulosa)

Forest Management Regime

Based on management regimes, Nepal’s forest can be categorized into broader two types government managed forests and community managed forests. Government managed forests include forests within protected areas, block forests/inter-provincial forests and protected forests (forest conservation areas), while community managed forests include community forests, collaborative forests, religious forests, leasehold forests (pro-poor and industrial) and forests within conservation areas/buffer zones. Besides, trees have also been grown in public lands and urban areas as public land forests and urban forests.
 
© Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK
CHALLENGES

Despite Nepal's 44.7% forest cover there are multiple challenges in maintaining this forest cover to maintain connectivity for ecosystem services flow and wildlife dispersal.

The most pressing challenges remain conversion of forests to other land use, haphazard infrastructure development, resettlements, uncontrolled forest fire overgrazing, unsustainable and illegal extraction of timber and non-timber forest products, and high dependency of local people on forest resources.

The current government priority towards infrastructure and development has also resulted in increased pressure on forests. Attention is therefore needed in maintain existing forest cover and reduce fragmentation. WWF Nepal engages with the government and its agencies, civil society organizations, as well as other stakeholders to integrate environmental issues into development planning and policy instruments. WWF Nepal also supports various efforts to reduce drivers of forest degradation such as forest fires, overgrazing and overextraction of forest resources. Promotion of alternate energy and energy efficient technologies, alternative livelihood opportunities for forest dependent communities are also important areas to reduce pressure on forests, supported by WWF Nepal.

© WWF Nepal / Shayasta Tuladhar

FOSTERING CHANGE

WWF Nepal supports improved conservation and management of forest resources with the objective of improve the condition of forests, biodiversity and the environment.

WWF Nepal intendds to increase benefits from forests to society by promoting sustainable use, while also facilitating in the trickle down of benefits to forest  dependent communities. 

At WWF Nepal, we support the restoration of forest and landscapes to increase forest cover, improve ecosystem services, and enhance resilience, by engaging conventional and non-conventional stakeholders.

FOREST STORIES
WWF