32,000 hectare Tarai forest cleared in 20 yrs

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 22, 2014-

The total forest area of the Tarai region has declined by 32,000 hectares, at an annual rate of 0.44 percent in the last two decades, according to the findings of the latest national -level forest inventory.

The Tarai Forest Resource Assessment prepared by the Department of Forest Research and Survey (DoFRS) shows that the situation worsened from 2001 onwards. The annual rate which was 0.40 from 1991 to 2001 increased to 0.44 from 2001 to 2010.

Tarai forests were highly disturbed by livestock grazing, felling trees and forest fires. The report has mentioned that state-managed forests were consistently most heavily disturbed while protected area core zones were least disturbed.

Speaking at a programme to release of report, Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya said the inventory calls for intervention and debate on forest resource management. “The updated data are important as the forest resource assessment shows that we need new intervention in various issues,” he said. He said the report reiterated the need for massive tree plantations through the engagement of various stakeholders.

Of the total area of 2 million hectares, forest covers around 21 percent of land in the Tarai region. The final design of the survey, which is third of its kind conducted by the DoFRS, was based on an internationally accepted systematic sampling design.

Also speaking at the programme, Yam Prasad Pokharel of the Department of Forest said forest depletion in the Chure region was lower than the Tarai forest depletion at 0.18 per cent. He stated that while trees in Tarai forests were being cut at a rate of around 6 trees per hectare, the rate was half at just 3 per hectare in the Chure range annually.

Besides the Tarai and Chure forest assessments, the project is conducting research in the middle hills, the high mountains and the Himalayas. The forest inventory is funded by the Finnish government.

According to Rameshwar Khanal, chairperson of the newly-formed President Chure Tarai Madhes Conservation Development Committee, instead of waiting for almost two decades to know about the status of forests and come up with effective management measures, the government is working to make information available every two years with the advancement of the technologies.

Published: 23-07-2014 08:50

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