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Assessment of Role of Community Forests (CFs) in CO2 Sequestration, Biodiversity and Land Use Change

Assessment of Role of Community Forests (CFs) in CO2 Sequestration, Biodiversity and Land Use Change
Chinta Mani Gautam, Teiji Watanabe, Sunardi
Universitas Padjadjaran, Final Report for APN Project ARCP2009-10NSY-Gautam Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research 
Bahasa Inggris
Universitas Padjadjaran, Final Report for APN Project ARCP2009-10NSY-Gautam Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research 

Community Forestry Program (CFP), a successful program for protecting and rehabilitating the forests has received highest priority of all the programmes of Nepal’s forestry sector since 1978. According to CFP, national forests were handed over to the Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) for protection, management and utilization as per Forest Act, 1993. Thus, Community Forests (CFs) are managed by CFUGs according to the operational plan that is approved by the District Forest Office (DFO). By June 2008, 1.22 million hectares (about 20.5 % of the Nepal’s forest area) of forest has been handed over to more than 14,000 CFUGs involving 1.65 million households (40% of Nepal’s total households) (CFB, 2008). The guidelines of community forest operational plan has emphasized on social inclusion and gender for equal distribution of forest resources among the users community rather than sustainable way of forest use. Thus, CFs is getting wider attention not only because they constitute a major component of livelihood in the rural areas but also due to emerging policy process such as biodiversity and climate change. Importance of sustainable CFs management is not only confined within local and national level, but also a matter of great concern at regional and global levels. The growth and degradation of surface vegetation produces changes in the global atmospheric concentration of CO and changes in the land surface. This reflects a variation in surface energy budgets affecting local, regional and global climate (Marland et al., 2003). The CO2 emission and climate change are global issues and also related to CO2 sequestration capacity of CFs. Besides, forest management is directly related to socio-economic development and has several consequences in the regeneration process, community structure and plant diversity. Nevertheless, the practices of using few selected species for plantation, firewood, and conservation of dominant species in such managed forests have several consequences in the regeneration process, plant diversity and community structure of forests (Gautam and Watanabe, 2005). Furthermore, above consequences reflect on land use practices in nearby areas of the CFs since the agriculture system is well integrated with forests in Nepal. Moreover, the existing documents related to CF have not adequately addressed the issues of carbon trading and land use management that are directly associated with the CF.

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