Forest conservation work proves ineffective

- GANESH CHAUDHARY, Tikapur
Forest conservation work proves ineffective

Oct 29, 2014-

The Basanta Conservation Forest Area programme initiated by the government has proven ineffective following the gradual destruction of Basanta Wildlife Corridor in Kailali. According to conservation experts, one of the major factors behind the ineffectiveness of the programme is the flawed policy adopted by the government.

The inability of the government to discourage locals from being over-dependent on the forest and make them self-reliant as per the programme has led to rampant deforestation. Although various vocational training programmes including training on commercial agriculture and livestock farming, mobile phone repair, electric wiring, among others, were conducted, they have failed to check rampant deforestation in the district, said Ram Chandra Subedi, project manager and chief of Area Forest Sector, Pahalmanpur.

According to Subedi, increase in land encroachment in the district has also posed a major threat to the forests in the district.

“While the political parties lack the willingness to try and put an end to land encroachment, the formation of the committee for the landless only adds to our worries,” Subedi said, adding that as the committee had no alternative but to distribute forest land to the landless in order to solve the problem of illegal settlement in the district, the same has indirectly encouraged encroachment, impeding their work to conserve the forest area. Subedi said that rampant deforestation and encroachment has brought the internationally relevant wildlife corridor connecting the forest with Dudhuwa National Park in India on the verge of extinction.  

Meanwhile, coordinator Puskal Bam of Basanta Conservation Forest Area Council blamed the flawed policy adopted by the government behind the ineffectiveness of the programme to deal with the threat of rampant deforestation and encroachment in the district.  

“We had asked the government to come up with a provision to distribute 20 percent of the income from the forest to the locals, but the proposal was denied. However, we have heard that they are making certain amendments in the policy,” Bam said. As the locals living near the forest are victims of wildlife attacks, Bam said that it was imperative to make a provision for compensating them for the losses they have incurred in wildlife attacks in order to discourage deforestation.

Bam also stressed on the need to prioritise and keep a check on a few major factors like forest encroachment, smuggling of forest products, over dependency on the forest for animal grazing, and unproductive livestock farming for the programme to be effective.

The Basanta Conservation Forest Area spreads over 11 VDCs of Kailali and covers about 69,000 hectares of land. The number of community forests and proposed community forests in the area figure at 88 and 71, respectively.

Published: 30-10-2014 09:40

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