Villagers revive forests

Published: Saturday 31 July 1993

FOREST degradation around a Nepali mountain village has been reversed in a span of 10 years despite an annual population growth rate of 2.5 per cent. In 1980, grazing and fodder collection was a major cause of degradation in Bhogteni, a village in the hills of central Nepal. However, in 1990, a study by Jefferson Fox published in Mountain Research and Development showed the forests were found to be in a much better condition.

The success was due primarily to the introduction of community management of forests. In addition, outside agencies promoted enrichment plantings in forest areas, where grazing and collecting of firewood and fodder was prohibited from 1981 to 1985. Farmers increased the number of fodder trees they grew their land. Besides, the availability of chemical fertilisers enabled farmers to raise crop yields without correspondingly increasing livestock numbers to get more manure, their alternative source of nutrients.

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