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Importing Nepal's community Forestry Ideas to West Africa

Bringing Nepal’s community forestry Ideas to West Africa

A long journey it was indeed, from Liberia to Southeast Asia. And finally, I arrived at the Tribhuvan International Airport and headed strict to the Kathmandu Guest House. I was four days late for class.

The purpose of my visit, to form part of Future Generations Graduate School class 2014 term III residential to gain insight into the successes leading to Sustainable Community Based Natural Resource Management in Nepal-Community Forestry program.

Nepal occupies a total area of 1, 47,181 sq.km which is 0.001 percent of the total world’s land.  Forest land covers 39.6% and the forest of 4.27 million hectares (29%) has 1.56 million hectares shrub land.

There is a strong reciprocal relationship between human and forest and it is source of soil erosion control, conservation, landslide, water and carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat and oxygen.

Nepal forestry program has become a success story for the world in the face of development using natural resources directly put under the control of the community people.  Yes, it works!

Steep mountains and deep valleys are mostly what the Nepali has for land. The Himalayas they are called. They do not have the luxury of forest, rain and water as most West African countries including Liberia. Nepal only started community forestry about 30 years ago when they observed eminent danger due to lack of forest and trees leading to environmental degradation. Tree planting and establishment of community controlled programs become necessary.

Our study tour did not just look at why community forestry have been successful but also how the successes has scaled up to positively affected other sectors of the Nepali society including Women, girls and youth population, health and income generation( environmental conservation and tourism).

The lessons learnt were overwhelming; conserving natural heritage sites, development of women tour guides to most especially cater for women tourists to the establishment and turning over of community manage forest lands.    

Often times Nepal is only associated with the highest peak in the world (Mt. Everest) and not the energy level of the ordinary people in managing, controlling and developing their various communities through truly world class example of  forest and natural resource management system.

Each Forest User Group (a community of people) is able to conduct its forestry inventory by determining the number of trees and shrubs including non-timber forest product found within a plot of land, community wellbeing (categorizing community members into rich, poor and very poor) for assistance; and also planned a management program through a three way partnerships including government, community and NGOs participation.

Most important is the transparent manner which requires that a whole community assemble to witness and give approval at a General Assembly before the implementation of Forest management can actually start.  http://www.liberiaconservation

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