Forest ecosystems are multiplex and essential for livelihoods, biodiversity, ecosystem, and climate change mitigation and adaptation. For its management, a robust and inclusive approach to public policy governance innovation is required. Scientific Forest Management or simply termed as SFM balances increasing demands for forest products, it benefits and preserves forest health and diversity.
In recent years, stakeholders have admitted that protection-oriented forest management practices cannot boost the economy of a developing country like Nepal. Therefore, the government initiated SFM, which allows advanced silvicultural practices in the existing Community Forests and Community Based Forests in Terai Districts. It can address today’s need for forest products with good quality timber, forest improvement, poverty elimination, and can combat climate change (CC) effects as well.
Recently, a parliamentary panel has claimed that scientific forest management is promoting deforestation in various parts of Nepal. The investigation finds that it has various negative impacts. Intrigued by this lawmaker Pradeep Yadav said, “Under the name of scientific forest management, several growing trees have been cut down. In some jungles, big sections have been cleared. Community users are only limited in the names, actually, forests are owned by the contractors.”
Kapilvastu district alone has set the target of selling 5,00,000 cubic feet timber in 2019. Members of the house panel found that several trees have been felled and smuggled in various community forests in six districts of Nepal, namely Kailali, Kanchanpur, Banke, Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi West, and Nawalparasi East during their visit in the past few months of lockdown.
There can be the various way in which SFM can work. Methods such as retaining forests where steep slopes exist, establishing green belts near road areas, protecting biodiversity, and forest ecosystems can work. Other methodologies also include ensuring soil quality management techniques, incorporation of climate change adaptation and resilience techniques in the work plan, sustainable management, and utilization of forest resources, etc.
But there exists a need for proper quantitative investigation for the implementation of such practices. Science, experiential insights, indigenous knowledge, citizen support are all needed for forest ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, and climate resilience.
The in-depth investigation and drafting of strict laws for the punishment of the corrupt contractors and smugglers are some of the steps that are urgently needed to enhance scientific forest management practices in Nepal.