Nepal — The forest activists have pointed out that the occurrence of forest fires have been increasing as a consequence of global warming and extended dry spells and the government needs to take immediate steps to check it.
At a multi-stakeholders round table for the Development of a policy and building capabilities in local, national and transboundary forest fire management for Nepal, they asked the government to take timely measures to protect forest land and conserve biodiversity.
Wildland fire expert Prof. Dr. Johann G Goldammer, coordinator of the UNISDR-Global Wildland Fire Network (GWFN), said that the wildland fires have become a serious problem for Nepal in the changed context.
Nepal also needs a concrete strategy for bilateral/ multilateral cooperation and at national, regional and global level too Goldammer who arrived in Nepal to participate at the multi-stakeholder meeting said.
Stating that over 4 million hectares of forestland had been denuded annually due to lack of sufficient manpower at the Ministry and local level, Dr. Uday Raj Sharma, secretary at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, stated that landslide, flooding and deforestation were rampant.
He said over 90 percent of regeneration capacity was lost after forest fire. Sharma underscored the need for capacity building at various sectors and emphasized the collective efforts to deal with the forest fire in the country.
Controlled burning is useful tool for habitat management and biodiversity conservation but capacity of park and people needs to be strengthened, he added.
Similarly, Dr. Annapurana Nand Das, Chief of the Planning and Human Resource Division at the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, said that every year uncontrolled forest fires had invited serious degradation of forest, changes of ecosystem property and deterioration of social and economic condition in some land-use system and natural vegetation types.
But human and financial resources are the major hurdles for the forest fire management das added.
Sundar Prasad Sharma, UNISDR-South Asia Wildland Fire Network, emphasized the need to enhance international cooperation and need of outreach programmes and capacity development of the professionals and communities at the local level.