5.2.1 Protected areas
22.214.171.124 New Models of Protection and Management
Until now, conservation of threatened species in Nepal entailed the establishment of PAs guarded by the Royal Nepalese Army. This approach is still largely applicable in the Terai to respond to the enormous human and commercial pressures on the Terai/Siwalik Hills PAs. However, reliance on the army alone for protecting PAs should be reduced given the high cost of mobilising the army. New models of PA management have been developed in the highlands and mountains, in the Annapurna, Kanchenjunga and Manaslu Conservation Areas, where the army is not involved. Efforts will be made to extend this approach to other PAs. A management information system will be established for all PAs.
126.96.36.199 Inadequate Co-ordination
Inadequate co-ordination between certain institutions and organisations with the DNPWC and between the DNPWC and other Government offices is apparent. There is very little cross-sectoral co-ordination of projects and programmes within the government in general. Effective cross-sectoral co-ordination will be established for the conservation of biodiversity in and around PAs.
Emphasis will be given to effectively use the Research and Training Centre for Protected Areas to regularly train staff and local communities in integrated landscape conservation and management. DNPWC staff’s capacity to conserve and manage biodiversity will be strengthened.
188.8.131.52 Representation of all ecosystems in PAs
The Mid-hills have the greatest ecosystem diversity of all of Nepal’s physiographic zones. However, the remaining undisturbed ecosystems are seriously threatened by increasing human activities and are insufficiently represented in the PA system. Priority will be given to establishing new PAs to incorporate these ecosystems, which have a rich biodiversity and which are not represented within the existing PA system. Existing PAs and their buffer zones will be extended where applicable.
184.108.40.206 Biodiversity Inventories
The biodiversity of the existing PAs has not been comprehensively studied at ecosystem, species, and genetic levels. A comprehensive survey of the biodiversity of PAs will be urgently undertaken to assess the status of diversity and its ecological significance.
220.127.116.11 Exchange of Information
There is little exchange of information on biodiversity within Nepal. Scientific papers published in journals in languages other than Nepali or English are not easily accessed. The inadequate flow of information often leads to duplication of work. A mechanism will be developed to strengthen existing information networks and to make the information more user-friendly.
18.104.22.168 Species Conservation Plan
A species conservation plan that focuses on keystone species has not been given due priority. The loss of such species from an ecosystem impacts the survival of other species within the ecosystem. Species conservation action plans will be developed and implemented targeting keystone species in all the PAs of the different physiographic zones. The plans will emphasise population surveys, monitoring, protecting key habitats, and relocation and restoration of certain species.
22.214.171.124 Management of Protected Area Tourism
The high concentration of tourists in certain PAs has brought about negative environmental impacts. To address these issues, an Integrated Tourism Management Plan will be developed and implemented. Involvement from the private sector will be encouraged.
126.96.36.199 Forest Rehabilitation
Most areas important for biodiversity are not pristine but have been influenced by human activities. Emphasis will therefore be given to revitalise the degraded ecosystems and to restoring the flora and fauna.
188.8.131.52 Inventory of Flora and Fauna
A comprehensive inventory of the flora and fauna, including micro-organisms, will be undertaken through out the country. Emphasis will be given to the Terai and Siwalik Hills, whose flora and fauna have not been as well explored as in other parts of the country, in particular the lower groups of life.
184.108.40.206 Ecosystem Network and Representation
The most effective way of maintaining biological diversity is to protect a representative array of ecosystems. Therefore, a network will be designed to represent all ecosystems in Nepal with particular emphasis on: (i) tropical evergreen forests, (ii) far-eastern subtropical forests, (iii) lower temperate broad-leaved forests, and (iv) subtropical broad-leaved forests located in the west of the country. These forest types would be best represented in the districts of Kaski, Lamjung, Tanahu, Lalitpur, Udayapur, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur, Terathum, Dhankuta, Ilam, Morang, and Jhapa, which have a rich biodiversity, especially of mammals and birds.
220.127.116.11 Understanding Forest Resilience and Biodiversity
Understanding forest resilience and monitoring biodiversity are vital for the sustainable use of community forests. Steps to maintain biodiversity to support subsistence agriculture and livestock management will be undertaken. Forest biodiversity will be maximised to increase the ability of local organisations to undertake sustainable development efforts.
18.104.22.168 Local Participation
The community forestry approach requires more discussion amongst all levels of management, including government, NGOs, INGOs, donors, politicians, and forest user groups. The role of local people, particularly women, in forest biodiversity conservation will be recognised and integrated from the onset of biodiversity conservation programme planning and implementation.
22.214.171.124 Strengthening Management Practices
A major weakness of community forestry is that not all forest users were equally represented in community forestry management. Adequate attention will be paid to identify all users and to inform them of their rights and responsibilities. The involvement of disadvantaged groups and women in community forestry management will be ensured.
126.96.36.199 Sustainable Harvesting
It is expected that eventually, all the Mid-hill forests will be managed as community forests by the communities themselves. However, some forest management practices have negative implications for biodiversity, such as the removal of undesired species and their replacement with monocultures, and collection of all dead trees and branches and of leaf litter. Forest user groups will be given training to manage blocks of forests, as they are officially divided, on a rotational basis, which will allow sufficient time for plant regeneration in ‘fallow’ forests. Technical knowledge will be provided in sustainable harvesting of forest resources.
188.8.131.52 Non-Timber Forest Products
It has been observed that all levels of management, from user groups and individual farmers to forestry staff, customs officials and other organisations working with NTFP resources, do not have adequate information to work with. A baseline survey of NTFPs will be undertaken for their better understanding and management.
184.108.40.206 Religious Forests Management
Religious forests often provide important refuge for wildlife. A biodiversity inventory of religious forests will be made to identify important clusters or significant areas with high conservation values. An overall management plan will be formulated and implemented to manage these areas.
There is lack of clear rangeland policy in Nepal. Policies for pastoral areas will acknowledge the efficiency of traditional pastoral practices and seek to understand range resource dynamics and current land use practices. Incentives will be established to encourage herders to adopt better technologies and practices. In order to better integrate biodiversity conservation with range livestock development, rangeland policies will emphasise multiple-use management practices.
220.127.116.11 Conservation of Rangeland Biodiversity
Conservation of rangeland biodiversity will focus on (a) research on range wildlife ecology and wildlife habitat, wildlife-livestock interactions, and indigenous pastoral management, (b) awareness campaigns and environmental education, (c) management of stoking rates/sale of unproductive animals, (d) rehabilitation of overgrazed ranges, (e) creation of a biodiversity database, (f) control of illegal hunting, (g) introduction of improved forage, (h) incorporating indigenous knowledge into development plans, (i) creating off-farm employment opportunities, (j) promoting appropriate land ownership rights/legislation tenure, and (k) establishing practical monitoring systems.
Pastoral development and management in the Himalayas will include: (a) capacity building of professionals and locals, (b) creating opportunities for the two-way exchange of information between pastoralists and professionals, (c) developing programmes to study traditional pasture systems and perceived problems, (d) improving forage/fodder resources, especially in winter, (e) improving people’s participation and community organisations, (f) conducting applied rangeland research, (g) determining the extent and severity of rangeland degradation, (h) distributing available technology to pastoral areas, (i) developing seed and gene banks, and (j) developing snow-melt water collecting techniques.
18.104.22.168 Forage Development through Integrated Management Planning
Pastoral development will take place in the context of the following priority actions: (a) establishing forage and hay crops, (b) developing appropriate technologies for fodder conservation, (c) using fallow and marginal land for forage cultivation, (d) establishing hay meadows, (e) improving profitability of livestock rearing and crops, (f) supporting seed production of forages, (g) integrating food-forage crop systems, (h) promoting silage technology, (i) conducting improved feeding demonstrations, (j) testing winter forage species, (k) conducting training on forage conservation, (l) establishing forage production user groups, (m) emphasising year-round forage production, (n) introducing forages with low water and mineral requirements, (o) creating agencies to distribute forage seeds to pastoralists, (p) promoting stall-feeding, (q) conducting research to identify forages for high altitude zones, (r) introducing improved varieties of livestock, and (s) strengthening indigenous management systems and trans-boundary co-operation with China.
22.214.171.124 Participatory Plant Breeding
Participatory plant breeding ensures that local landraces are fully integrated into breeding strategies. Participatory plant breeding has been proved to be one of the most effective innovative approaches for increasing the diversity of rice varieties in Nepal. A high priority will be given to adopt participatory plant breeding approaches for other important crops in Nepal.
126.96.36.199 Participatory Variety Selection
With participatory variety selection, farming communities can identify their preferred crop varieties/landraces suitable for specific environments. Thus, participatory variety selection will be promoted to best address the needs of communities while strengthening on-farm conservation of indigenous crop genetic resources.
188.8.131.52 Gene Bank
An inventory of valuable plant genetic resources will be maintained within communities, and the information shared between areas with similar growing conditions to facilitate germplasm exchange. Valuable germplasm will be conserved in gene banks to allow easy access by small farmers. Gene banks will provide communities with direct access to germplasm, which will be conserved through use.
184.108.40.206 Management of Wetlands
Strategies to promote the sustainable safeguarding of wetland habitats will cover the following activities: (a) development and implementation of a unified national wetland policy and legislation, (b) research on wetland resources to make scientific data available – field-based, participatory research would be more beneficial at the outset, (c) identification of critical wetland habitats and declaring them protected areas, (d) updating and improvement of the existing wetlands directory and database, (e) identification of an institution responsible for co-ordinating the wise use and conservation of wetlands, and to work on resolving land-use conflicts, (f) adoption of a bioregional approach to wetland habitat and resource management, (g) encouragement of participation by user groups and community-based organisations in a collaborative management of the resources, (h) conducting demonstration projects to promote wise use of wetland habitats and resources, and (i) raising awareness in wetland conservation.
220.127.116.11 National Mountain Policy
A unified mountain law may not be desirable or even possible in Nepal, since community forestry regulations devolve rights, responsibilities, and benefits to local user groups. However, a national mountain policy will be developed to lay the foundation for mountain biodiversity management principles, which can later be elaborated into legal rules. Mountain livestock genetic resources, an important source of cold tolerance and productivity adaptation, will be documented.
18.104.22.168 Integrated Management
Indigenous mountain peoples posses invaluable knowledge regarding the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Legislation will be developed to effectively address the biogeographical, economic and cultural realities of mountain domains in order to promote the well being of people dependent on mountain resources and to foster and ensure community-based strategies for mountain biodiversity conservation.