In 2005, Bird Conservation Nepal (BirdLife in Nepal) invited Community Forest Users Groups to discuss ways to reduce their pressure on the forest. Subsequently, with support and training, these groups have generated income for conservation and development activities.
Phulchowki Mountain Forest, Nepal, is an unprotected Important Bird Area (IBA) which lies 16 kilometres south of the capital city, Kathmandu (Baral and Inskipp 2005). The lower slope of the forest is managed by seven Community Forest Users Groups (CFUGs) whereas the upper slope of the mountain is managed by the District Forest Office (DFO). When Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) first became involved at the site, all the CFUGs used forest products (both timber and non timber) for their livelihoods, and the lower slopes of the forest were heavily degraded. In 2005, BCN invited the CFUGs to discuss various alternative ways to reduce their direct pressure on the forest. Subsequently, over six months, BCN helped each CFUG to develop infrastructure (e.g. entrance gates, picnic spots, toilets, and information centres) in their respective areas as well as to undertake training on sustainable management of Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) and their markets. BCN also provided guide training to selected local youths representing the CFUGs.
Since there are now facilities to use, CFUGs have started collecting entrance fees and other charges from visitors, and youths have started to lead tours of the area (see figure a). Currently all the CFUGs are making good money from these sources and are investing part of the income to safeguard the natural forest resources (figure b). Some income is being invested into development activities (e.g. roads, schools, health posts, visitor information), conservation activities (conservation education and research) and micro credits for the community (Baral et al. 2005, Baral 2007).
Related Case Studies in other sections
BirdLife International (2008) Bird Conservation Nepal works with Community Forest Users Groups for sustainable forest management. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/225. Checked: 04/03/2015
|Key message: Action on the ground can be achieved through empowering local communities|