Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) is working with Forest User Groups (FUGs) at Phulchoki Important Bird Area (IBA) to ensure that local communities benefit from the revenues generated by visiting tourists. These funds contribute to forest patrolling and FUG management costs, but they are also used for projects in the village—including improvements to the roads and bursaries for school children from some of the poorest households.
Many of Nepal’s forests are managed by community Forest User Groups (FUGs) in accordance with plans approved by the District Forest Office. There are over 14,000 FUGs in Nepal, and most are coordinated and represented by an umbrella organisation, FECOFUN (Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal). Several Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Nepal are managed in this way, and the FUGs are therefore natural local partners to work with Bird Conservation Nepal (BCN, BirdLife in Nepal) for conservation and development at these sites.
Phulchoki Mountain IBA is located 16 km southeast of Kathmandu. The lower slopes of the mountain support a luxuriant growth of subtropical broadleaved forest and the site is particularly important for the restricted-range bird species Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis and Hoary-throated Barwing Actinodura nipalensis. Because of its proximity to Kathmandu many people are attracted there at weekends, to picnic in ‘parklands’ on the forest’s boundary or to enjoy the snow during winter.
Much of BCN’s support to the FUGs has been focused on enhancing the revenue that they can earn from these visitors. BCN has helped five FUGs to improve facilities and put in place a more organised charging system. Each LCG identified their own priorities, which included improving the water supply, constructing toilets, building tables, chairs and shelters, fencing and erecting signboards. Their efforts have made a significant difference to the income that they receive. At Godavari Kunda, for example, the community was receiving about Rs 5000 (US$70) from picnickers. However, since the improvements to the picnic area, they have auctioned the annual lease to run the picnic site to members of the FUG and now receive about 65,000 Rs (US$900) a year. These funds contribute to forest patrolling and FUG management costs, but they are also used for projects in the village—including improvements to the roads and bursaries for school children from some of the poorest households.
This case study is taken from ‘Poverty, Biodiversity and Local Organisations: Lessons from BirdLife International’, part of the International Institute for Environment and Development’s Gatekeeper Series. To download the full paper click here.
Related Case Studies in other sections
BirdLife International (2011) Local communities around Phulchoki Important Bird Area in Nepal benefit from tourism. Presented as part of the BirdLife State of the world's birds website. Available from: http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/sowb/casestudy/433. Checked: 26/05/2013
|Key message: Birds can make a significant positive contribution to local and national economies|