Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape: Drivers of Deforestation and Forest Degradation
This technical report reviews the deforestation and forest degradation of the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) in Nepal, as well as how climate change will affect the biodiversity and livelihoods of the CHAL forests. It explains human-induced causes of deforestation and forest degradation from varying social, economic, and ecological contexts, and is unique in that there are few studies that look into the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in a larger geographical space. The study compiled available data and information, stakeholder consultations, spatial analyses of remove sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) data, and limited field visits to evaluate the CHAL area.
Overall, the land use of the CHAL forests was mostly unchanged with slightly less grasslands and slightly more agricultural areas, but other changes were apparent. For example, some areas lost forest area to infrastructure development, resettlement, urban expansion, and agriculture expansion. Due to lack of regulation in rural areas, forest loss has occurred in the midhills. On a positive note, the report shows a general improvement in canopy cover during the past three decades.
The report findings suggest that overall the unsustainable harvesting of wood and non-wood forest products and encroachment of forestlands are the major drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the CHAL Siwaliks.
Excerpt from the report:
- Combating illegal logging and other illegal activities requires substantial enhancement of law enforcement through:
- provision of adequate financial and human resources to district and field level offices;
- designing and implementing effective monitoring and evaluation systems at different levels;
- introducing transparent reward and punishment systems for government staff and local user groups;
- identifying and implementing safeguards against political interference;
- enhancing technical capacities of forestry staff and user groups, and
- enhancing coordination and cooperation amongst government law enforcement agencies (e.g. police, armed police, and army).