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From The Nepali Press
Community deforestation



Nepal's community forestry success story may be unravelling if the trend in Dang is anything to go by. Forests that were conserved by communities are being cut down by the user groups themselves. Two thirds of the 447 community forests in Dang are said to be in the process of being denuded, affecting more than 3,200 hectares of woodland protected by villagers in the past decades.

Many places that used to be thick forests are today unrecognisable because they have been turned into farmlands, or even plotted out to housing colonies. In many of the community forests, the user group committees have themselves decided to cut the forests and start cultivation because they were being encroached upon by squatters. The chairman of one user group, Duryodhan Pandey, said: "When the squatters wouldn't move, we thought it was better to cut down the trees and use the land ourselves."

The Dang DFO has warned user groups that it may get the police to evict the encroachers and if that doesn't work, they may lose their lease on government forests if the deforestation continues. The main parties in Dang have also started consultations on how to stop the destruction of community forests. The UML and NC are fully on board with getting the encroachers out, but the Maoists are against the move.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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