Nepal’s 90% forests lose regenerating power due to wildfire

Nepal’s 90% forests lose regenerating power due to wildfire

17 December 2007

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Kathmandu, Nepal — Participants at the national roundtable meeting for the development of national strategy for wildland fire management Sunday concluded that forest in Nepal were being destroyed because rural people used fire for clearing forests making room for agriculture and pasture land.

After the one-day long discussion participants stressed on proper forestry policy for better conservation of Nepalese Forest. Moreover 40,000 hectares of forest area are set fire annually,” Dr Keshav Kanel, director general of the Forest Department, said.

Presenting a paper on ‘Forest fires in Nepal’, he informed that over 90 per cent of forest lose their regenerating capacity because of fire. Moreover, we are facing the problem of soil erosion, landslide, deforestation and flood,” he said.

Kanel said that due to the lack of resources and equipment, the Department was not able to control wildland fire.

He also said that nationwide fire management committee was needed for controlling wildfire and collecting information about loss of forest and human lives due to forest fire.

Pro Dr Johann G. Goldammer of Global Fire Monitoring Center (GFMC) said that despite the well management of forest conservation Nepal has been facing the problem of wildfire. The communities have a central role to reduce wildland fire and the ministry, NGOs and INGOs should work collaboratively,” Goldammer said.

He said most of the forests in South Asia and Nepal are set to fire either intentionally or for getting little profit. Public awareness, training and sufficient equipment should be provided to local people to avert setting fire to the forests.”

Shyam Sundar Sharma, coordinator of Regional South Asian Wildland Fire Network, said Nepal had not made any national level strategy for controlling wildland fire. After the Kathmandu Declaration- 2007 we are raising the agenda of wildland fire. This roundtable will complete a roadmap for wildland fire management,” he added.

The roundtable had pointed the necessity of separate governmental body with the participation of community forest users group, establish inter country network. The meeting had further asked to make special policy on the national and international level for the preservation of forest, wild animal and human sufferings.

Tirtha Raj Sharma, secretary at the Ministry of Forest, Norbert Meyer of German embassy also stressed on the collective mission to reduce wildland fire.

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