A team of researchers from ForestAction Nepal have recently completed a five month long intensive field study in 113 Community forests in Central Nepal. The study was conducted as part of biodiversity impact evaluation of USAID funded Hariyo Ban II program. The study will contribute towards the broader analysis of the theory of change that assumes there is a link between livelihood interventions and improved biodiversity outcomes. The study was jointly administered by CAMRIS International, ForestAction Nepal and University of Sheffield, UK as part of USAID Nepal Monitoring Evaluation and Learning (MEL) project.
The study covered six districts – Syangja, Kaski, Tanahu, Gorkha, Lamjung and Chitwan, in Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) in Central Nepal. The study spanned tropical to subalpine climatic zones between 200 to 3500 meter above sea level and covered gregarious Sal forest in the southern plain to the monodominant Rhododendron stands in the northern high mountains. Over 3300 forest plots, each of 314 m2 were sampled.
The data will serve as baseline data for impact evaluation of Hariyo Ban II program. The data will also be equally useful for analyzing temporal and spatial change in forest cover, tree diversity and composition, forest disturbance, biomass outtake, forest growth and carbon sequestration. All the plots are georeferenced, therefore can be revisited later to assess any changes in future.
USAID MEL project and the study team expects that results from this study will inform future biodiversity and livelihood support and economic growth programming, thus ensuring it more effectively contributes to the goals of the USAID Nepal Mission. The findings will also contribute to the broader knowledge base on the connection between sustainable economic growth and biodiversity conservation.