Fig.2/3. Encroachment of farming sites into steep slopes and high elevations create major problems in deforestation, forest fires, and erosion. The lack of snowpack in high elevations in early 1999 will lead to severe water supply problems in the lowlands during the dry season.
Fig.4. Lack of fodder sources for animal husbandry forces the smallholder to utilize green leaves: Lopping removes a large part of the crown cover of this forest stand (Terminalia tormentosa), leads to microclimate changes and increases the risk of forest fires. In many places, however, little to none surface fuels are left due to intensive utilization. These overutilized forests become less flammable but are subjected to high erosion rates.
Fig.5/6. The Terai forests which are dominated by fire-resistant Sal (Shorea robusta) are regularly (annually) swept by fire.
Fig.7. Open stand of tall Sal (Shorea robusta) trees in the Southern Terai of Nepal. This kind of species-poor, Sal-dominated forest stand is the result of fire influence over many years.
Fig.8. Despite the fact that Sal trees are well adapted to annual fires, the forest soils after fire are depleted from protecting litter layer and are subjected to high surface runoff and soil erosion.
Fig.9. Besides Sal trees, many herb species are adapted to recurrent fires.
Literature on fire in Nepal:
Schmidt-Vogt, D. 1990. Fire in high-altitude forests of the Nepal Himalaya. In: Fire in ecosystem dynamics. Mediterranean and northern perspectives (J.G. Goldammer and M.J.Jenkins, eds.), 191-199. SPB Academic Publishing, The Hague, 199 p.
Goldammer, J.G. 1993. Feuer in Waldökosystemen der Tropen und Subtropen. Birkhäuser-Verlag, Basel-Boston, 251 p.