A Biocultural Approach to Understand How Community Forest Management Enhances Indigenous Peoples' Lives in the Context of the Mid-hills of Nepal

Date and Time: 
Friday, 17 May, 2013 - 19:20 to 19:40
RIJAL, Rajan - Department of Biological Sciences and Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, University of North Texas, Denton, TX
Rana B. CHHETRI - Department of Biological and Environmental Science, Kathmandu University, Nepal
Ricardo ROZZI - Department of Philosophy and Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Program, University of North Texas, Denton TX, Omora Ethnobotanical Park, Universidad de Magallanes, Puerto Williams, Chile


In 1978, the Nepalese government pioneered the introduction of a people-focused forest management approach, known as Community Forests. Charcoal is the major source of energy for the Blacksmith communities and its production depends on forest management. Our biocultural approach focuses on the interrelationships between the habits and habitats of the regional communities. A survey was conducted in the Karnel Community Forest to investigate how much charcoal Blacksmiths need to sustain their metal-crafting occupation, which represents their central habit. This habit, however, depends on conservation of forest habitat. In this study we evaluate how tree health affects production of charcoal. We compared the yield derived from healthy and unhealthy (also known as “3D,” Diseased, Decayed, and Dried) trees. Interestingly, we found no significant difference between charcoal production rates of 3D and healthy trees. This result encourages local community members to harvest 3D trees, a habit that benefits both the forest and the human communities.