Nepal’s forests occupy 44.74% of the total area of the country, of which 30% is managed by 22,266 community forests user groups. This participatory model of managing forests under the ownership of local communities has not only become an example in the sector of natural resource management but has also set a benchmark for other development sectors to achieve.
The Community Forests program was conceptualized and implemented four decades ago and since then, it has contributed to increasing the forest area of Nepal. In addition, it has helped local communities, including women, Dalit and marginalized groups to enhance their capacity regarding forest management, biodiversity conservation and advocacy; in the meantime, diversifying their livelihood options.
Despite these achievements, sustainable forest management for resources should be adopted more effectively for ensuring regular supply as well as optimum utilization of forest resources in the years to come. Sustainable forest management refers to prudent management of forests, increasing/maintaining continuous flow of forest products and services without reduction of its inherent values and future productivity, and keeping balance between social, economic and environmental aspects.
Model Community Forest
Hariyo Ban Program
In this context the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal (FECOFUN) and Hariyo Ban Program have introduced the concept of a Model Community Forest with a primary aim of incorporating sustainable forest management as the core element of community forests. FECOFUN will pilot the concept of a model community forest in selected community forests within the working areas of Hariyo Ban Program. This will provide an opportunity to create proven methods, processes and successes that can be replicated in other community forests throughout the country.
The main goal of the model community forest is to improve the livelihood status of forest dependent, disadvantaged, Dalit and marginalized communities. It further aims to enhance participatory biodiversity conservation and maintain or increase the continuous flow of forest products and services for long-termuse through sustainable forest management.