During the lockdown period, illegal handling and misuse of trees increases. The cabinet meeting formed the high-level committee on June 11, for investigation of illegal logging, in the name of Scientific Forest Management. This committee was chaired by Dr. Netra Timilsina. Although the committee has already submitted the report, the Ministry of Forest and Environment is unwilling to proceed further.
Minister for Forest and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet, has been advocating for launching Scientific Forest Management techniques. So, he was disappointed by the cabinet’s decision to form the committee.
The Council of Ministers has directed the Ministry of Forests and Environment to implement the report. The cabinet meeting has decided that the issues of the report should be implemented at the ministry level or the work should be done by the ministry in coordination with various bodies or institutions.
In the report submitted to the government by the high-level committee, it is mentioned that some forest workers have lobbied for the action plan of scientific forest and the condition of not allowing the non-action group to collect the forest produce has created a situation of conflict in the community. Similarly, the participation of ordinary members in the decision-making process has been very low after the approval of the tree felling action plan in community and partnership forests.
The report states that due to irregularities in a community or shared forest where this program has been implemented due to the procedures of scientific forest management, the situation has to be investigated in the forests across the country time and again. It is also mentioned that the procedure has been dragging into the circle of controversy rather than facilitating the consumer group or forest technical staff for forest management and therefore scientific forest management has become controversial.
The High-Level Committee has suggested adopting the model of sustainable forest management adopted by the United Nations and in vogue worldwide instead of scientific forest management. The same model would be appropriate, said the Forest Ministry official.
Translated from the online version of Himal Khabar published on Saturday, 18th October 2020, written by Mukesh Pokkharel.