Bajhang herbs risk extinction as illegal harvesting thrives

- Basanta Pratap Singh, BAJHANG

Nov 4, 2018-

The over-exploitation of medicinal herbs in the mountainous area of Bajhang district may lead to the herbs’ extinction, according to conservationists.

Hundreds of people from the Far-west and the Mid-western regions have been excessively collecting the herbs without the authorities’ permission. But the Division Forest Office and the Community Forest have failed to intervene so far.

Locals, however, claim the herb collectors are illegally collecting herbs in collusion with the forest officials.

According to locals, people have even set up tents in several forests of Bajhang district for their convenience in herb collection.

As per the Five Year Forest Management Plan of Bajhang (2071), only 350 quintals of Setakchini can be collected from community forests and 50 quintals from national forests each year. But more than 70,000 quintals and 50,000 quintals of Setakchini (Polygonatum Species) have been collected from Saipal Rural Municipality and Surma Rural Municipality respectively this year, locals say.

“People start collecting Setakchini early from September, when the Forest Regulation states that it can be collected from mid October only,” said Lalijan Fareda, a local from Sarkegadh Rural Municipality in Humla. According to the Forest Regulation 2051, Setakchini can only be collected from mid October to mid December. At this rate, the herbs may get extinct, said Jiban Bohara, a forest technician.

“It can also affect the bio-diversity,” said Bohara, adding that Katuki, Ban Lasun and Satuwa among other medicinal herbs are on the verge of extinction. On the contrary, Karna Bahadur Khati, acting division forest officer, said

the forest office has limited human resources to stop the rampant and illegal collection of herbs.

“There are hundreds of herb-collectors all over the forest and we have limited manpower. It is difficult for us to keep track of all the illegal activities,” said Khati However, to counter this problem, the Division Forest Office is planning to distribute permit papers to the herb collectors. Until now, no one has received the permission from the authority to collect medicinal herbs.

Published: 04-11-2018 07:03

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