Green cover concerns top the agenda at annual community forest workshop

Lalitpur, November 9:

Experts today stressed the need to formulate new policy, rules and regulations to provide the rights to ensure community ownership on forest.

Speaking at the 5th National Community Forest Workshop organised by the Department of Forest and other partner organisations here today, Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Kiran Gurung said that the government should come up with programmes for the benefit of local people.

“Now the people should decide who is to hold how much rights on natural resources. Only then they will be encouraged to preserve and promote natural resources,” he said, adding, “We can earn good amount of money through carbon trade if we preserve our forest.”

Ghana Shyam Pandey, president of Community Forest Consumers’ Federation, said that the constitution should guarantee local community’s rights in the forest. “Though the government has announced that 61 per cent of the total forest could be handed over to the community, only 25 per cent forests have been transferred to the community so far,” he said.

Krishna Chandra Poudel, director general of Department of Forest (DoF), demanded the government to make investment in producing community forest technicians within the country.

More than 14,000 community forests covers around 1.2 million hectares of land and more than 1.6 million households directly rely on community forests in the country, according to Poudel.