Rampant resin extraction threatens pine forests

- MADHAV ARYAL, Palpa
Rampant resin extraction threatens pine forests

Jan 9, 2015-

The rising trend of contractor companies extracting pine resins out of Saal (Shorea robusta) trees by going against the regulations has led to the drying up of the trees in local community forests in the district. The companies had been encouraged to engage in such activities due to the negligence of the District Forest Office (DFO) during regular supervision and monitoring of the forests.

The pine resin is collected from community forests in 12 VDCs in the district, including Khasyauli, Kusumkhola, Palungmainadi, Bhuwanpokhari, Deurali, and Chahara VDCs, to name a few. While forest officer Prakash Lamsal informed that various contractors extracted the pine resins from the community forests since the past decade, members of the consumers’ committee of the community forests alleged the DFO of not conducting regular supervisions.

According to experts, lack of knowledge about the policy regarding the extraction process was the primary factor behind the problem. Due to the excess use of acid and unnecessary cutting of the tree barks by going against the regulations has led to the trees drying up or being prone to forest fires.

“We are unaware about the policies regarding the extraction process and have no idea to ascertain the legitimacy of the process,” said local Rajendra Khatri.

According to the government directive issued in 2007, one can only extract the resin from trees standing 1.30 metres above the surface. The tree has to also be at least 30 metres in diameter. And despite a written agreement--with provision to plant trees and dab the tree barks with mud--signed between the extracting company, DFO and consumers’ committee, it is rarely implemented.

The tendency of the contractors extracting resin from the trees without giving it time to heal has led to the drying up of the trees.

“Once extracted, the trees should be given a year or two to heal. But the contractors were found extracting the resin regularly,” Lamsal said. The consumers’ committee of 25 community forest had collected about Rs 1.2 million in revenue from the extraction of pine resin last year.

Published: 10-01-2015 09:39

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