Nepal and China, despite the differences in the size, economy, and socio-political structures, the forest reforms in the 1980s towards the participatory approach have made a positive change in the forestry sector in both economies. Nepal’s initiation of the Community Forestry concept in 1973 is recognized globally as the best-practice model because of its groundbreaking achievement (CF Journey in Nepal). However, China’s growth in its forest industry has made remarkable accomplishments in comparison to Nepal.
China is now the world’s largest exporter of wooden furniture. Not just that, the nation has also been recognized with awards like ‘Special Award for Protection of the Earth’ and ‘Outstanding Leader Award for Protection of Nature’. So, Nepal can learn a lot from the management practices of China to rehabilitate and improve its forests.
Forests in mainland China are classified according to their leading function like an ecological and economic forest. Ecological forests are centered on the conservation of forests while economic forests focus on the production of Non-Timber Forests Products (NTFPs). This management practice as per the functional need has made China’s forest management practices effective.
Nepal’s forest management seems to lag behind in various aspects. For instance, the forest policy of Nepal has been more conservation-oriented. With trees not being harvested in time, in turn, results in the most standing trees above their rotation age becoming useless. As a result, they have no ecological or economic importance now.
China’s government has given more focus on investing in the forest industry and plantation projects with 27.78% annual growth of national investment in the forestry sector (China’s case study) whereas in Nepal only 2% of the annual budget is allocated for the forestry sector.
Forest policies in China are concentrated on the development of the forest and its industry whereas in Nepal they focus on combined upliftment of both forest and marginalized groups. Thus, the main objective of uplifting the forest status deviates as a result of more emphasis on poverty alleviation, and socio-economic issues in Nepal.
It’s evident that China’s achievements can give a lot of policy insights to Nepal. Nepal’s forestry sector is still improving through community engagement, silvicultural treatments, and the advancement of multi-sector forestry. However, focus on forest-based enterprise and enhancing national investment is an imminent need to boost the overall economy of the country. For all this, to lead the nation in a constructive pathway; political unstability, corruption, and social stratification problems should be addressed at first.