Today we went out from Kathmandu to the village of Lalitpur, in one of the hill areas that surround the Kathmandu Valley. Here we were assisted by Sarad Ghimire, a recent University graduate. This is his home village, a place where he grew up with the trees. Sixteen years ago the government gave the people of Lalitpur 96ha of land to manage. Initially there was scrub and pine trees, now there is a diverse regenerating forest with increasing numbers of birds and other animal species. With Sarad as translator I interviewed Mr Mani Ram Ghimire who is Chairman of the community forest management committee. There are 60 households involved in managing this common land and all are realising the many benefits of the regenerating forest, including a cooler local climate, fresher air, cleaner water, and importantly a more readily available firewood supply. The latter is carefully managed. The success of this programme is now serving as a model for other communities. It was certainly very refreshing to see such a positive initiative happening on the edge of Kathmandu, where there are multiple problems with issues such as air and water pollution, rapid population growth, urban spread, loss of tree cover. With ecological restoration now well underway the community of Lalitpur is now exploring potential economic developments that are in harmony with their local environment.
Dr. Gavin KennyEarthwise Consulting
+64 21 149 3659
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