Local communities are highly dependent on forests for their daily livelihood support. They depend on forests for timber, fuel wood, fodder, and collect non-timber forest products including medicinal and aromatic plants and sell them to the market as a source of income. Threats to native wildlife include unsustainable use of non-timber forest products which degrades habitat upon which wildlife depend. In addition, where Nepal borders Tibet, there is cross-border illegal trade in wildlife parts.
A community forestry program intervened and initiated the incorporation of a sustainability plan which outlined the harvestable quantity of non-timber forest products on a yearly basis as well as guidelines for responsible harvesting practices which were adopted. As a result forest coverage has increased substantially over the last 10 years improving habitat for wildlife. On the issue of illegal wildlife trade, community forest user groups can now levy and enforce sanctions for illegal hunting, killing or harvesting of wildlife.
The Conservation Enterprise
Promoting and marketing locally producedCertified Wildlife Friendly? products including beautiful handmade papers, woven nettle and hemp fabric and products,and essential oils, have greatly benefited marginalized community groups, helping them to fight poverty and improve their standard of living, while protecting the extraordinary biodiversity of the region. Job creation and income generating opportunities at a local level, where forest sustainability, social, and economical issues are a factor, are now closely monitored and product quality is controlled from harvest to finished product. These efforts are helping to create sustainable supply chains that will benefit these communities for years to come while giving consumers high quality natural products and improving the conditions of key wildlife habitat.