Resin extraction threatens pine forests in Far West

- POST REPORT, Mahendranagar

Mar 7, 2015-

Haphazard extraction of resin out of pine trees in forests of more than a dozen VDCs, including Bagarkot, Bhageshwor, Rupal, Aalital, Asigram, Koteli, Samaiji, Nawa Durga, Ganeshpur, in Dadeldhura district has become a major cause of environmental concern.

As a result of unchecked extraction of resin, the lush green pine forests, which were found in abundance in the district just five years ago, have started to die out in the recent times.  Except Kanchanpur, the tendency of contractor companies extracting pine resin by going against the regulations has led to dwindling number of pine trees in many community forests eight districts in the far-west.

In order to put a definite stop to the tendency, a supervision team was deployed from the district headquarters in mid-January. While interacting with the members of the community forest user’s group of the community forests in the district, the team found  that most of them were concerned about the decrease in revenue collection from the extraction of resin and gave little or no regards for the conservation of the forests.

“We were taken aback as no one seemed to care about the adverse impact the rampant extraction of resin can have on the environment, and were instead concerned only about revenue collection,” said Tekendra Deuba, one of the members of the team.

Acting District Forest Officer Suresh Rokaya, who is also in the supervising team, said that they have already corresponded with the companies involved in rampant extraction of resin from the forests in the district, warning them that action would be taken against them if they are not found to be working in accordance to the government regulations.

Community forests in the district earn millions in revenue from extraction of pine resin.

According to an official at the District Forest Office (DFO), lack of regular supervision and monitoring has given rise to the tendency wherein companies are involved in rampant extraction of pine resin. He also said that the DFO and consumers’ committee working in collusion in most cases were to be blamed for the destruction of the pine forests within a short period of time in the country.

The government directive issued in 2007 states that companies can only extract resin from trees standing at 1.30 metres above the surface and are at least 36 inch in diameter.

Meanwhile, experts said that lack of knowledge regarding the policy governing the extraction process and ignorance about the provisions was another major factor behind the problem.

Likewise, the companies grant the contract to collect the resin to contractors at the rate of Rs 12-18 per kg and the contractors, subtracting their commission, hire people at the rate of Rs 10-15 per kg.

As the contractors do not care whether the extractors are trained or not, the tendency has led to people without any knowledge to extract pine resin, harming the trees in the process. However, as they are paid on the basis of the amount of resin they are able to collect, they do not care much about the regulations.

And while locals continue to complain about the destruction of pine forests in Doti, Baitadi and other districts, the inaction on the part of concerned authorities has contributed to the rapid destruction of the forests in the region.

(With inputs from DR Pant in Dadeldhura, Mohan Shahi in Doti, and Khagendra Awasthi in Baitadi)

Published: 08-03-2015 08:53

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