The government has released an ambitious plan of planting 50 million trees in the fiscal year 2019-20 included in a nationwide campaign dubbed the “Year of Plantation”.
Shakti Bahadur Basnet, minister for forest and environment, introduced the plan on the event of International Day of Forests on Thursday.
“Declaring the forthcoming fiscal year as the ‘Year of Plantation’ is a reflection of the government’s commitment of the maintenance of the existing forest coverage,” claimed Basnet.
Nepal’s current forest coverage stands at 44.74 percent (roughly 6.6 million hectares) of its total area. Included in the plantation drive, saplings is going to be planted in and outside forest areas.
In accordance with the plan, fast-growing trees will likely be planted, with the government offering the saplings along with other resources for the purpose.
“If a farmer can maintain his/her livelihood from farming and animal husbandry, the stress on forest resources are going to reduce. For this purpose, agroforestry will be a suitable solution that is able to fulfil the needs of agriculture and forest,” stated Prahlad Thapa, country representative of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
In 1990, the country’s forest coverage was recorded at 45.5 percent, which shrank to 39.6 percent by 2000. Improved and well-timed preservation calculates helped to the country regain its forest coverage to the current state.
Bishwa Nath Oli, secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Environment,said that the country really needs to find a right balance between utilisation and conservation of forest resources.
“There is not any question about forests’ contribution to the country’s prosperity as numerous Sustainable Development Goals and aims are directly connected with forests. In earlier times but, our education and learning system has been largely focussed directly towards its conservation only. At this moment, the approach should also be towards utilisation of these resources even while adapting scientific and sustainable forest management,” Oli stated.
Not like the international tourism scenario that demonstrates only 30 percent of visitors are involved in nature-based tourism, approximately 60 percent of tourists visiting Nepal visit protected forest areas of the country.
Stakeholders mentioned the great importance of balance between development and conservation to tap into the possible role forests can play in the country’s overall growth.
“A portion of the public is sceptical about using forest-based products trusting that doing so will certainly destroy nature, while other people are worried regarding these beneficial products being underutilised. Without making use of these resources, our wealth goal is definitely a far-fetched dream,” Basnet said.