Kathmandu, August 8

Nepal is celebrating its first National Day for Community Forests with a three-day event that started with a plantation programme in Changunarayan Community Forest, Bhaktapur from today.

Secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Udaya Chandra Thakur inaugurated the programme where at least 2,000 trees of Cupressus torulosa, Michelia champaca and Phyllanthus emblica, among others, were planted.

A ministerial level meeting of the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation held in May this year had declared August 9 as the National Day for Community Forests.

The meeting had also declared Nil Prasad Bhandari and Tej Bahadur Singh Mahat as initiators of community forestry.

The Department of Forest said that according to the declaration, the department, community forestry groups and other stakeholders are celebrating August 8, 9, and 10 to mark the day.

Thakur said at the programme that the government would develop forest-based industries as it did agriculture-based industries throughout the country.

“Nepal can be developed through the management of its forest,” he said.

In a press meet today, Deputy Director General of the Department Ganesh Jha said that the department would honour Nil Prasad Bhandari and Tej Bahadur Singh Mahat by organising a formal programme tomorrow.

He added that a field trip will be organised to Thokarpa of Sindhupalchowk.

The village of Thokarpa was declared the origin of community forestry in the same ministerial meeting. Community forestry is one of the most recognised and successful forest conservation models in the world.

The village has been practising community forest conservation since 1973.

The decision of the meeting had solved a long existing debate at both national and international levels over the place of origin of community forestry.

Authorities said the decision would increase world recognition of the community forestry programme, spur development and growth of the sector, and open doors for national and international academic groups to conduct extensive researches in Thokarpa.

The government plans to develop Thokarpa as a school of community forestry and apply scientific forest Management in the area at the earliest.