As a student of forestry, I had to conduct research for my practical assignment which led me to Bardia for the field work study. This journey helped me gain an important insight into the conservation of our valuable natural resources.
Nepal has always been known for its pleasing scenic beauty and rich ecological biodiversity. The spectacular view of Bardia was no surprise. However, it was painful to see the forest around the park being gradually destroyed. People were found to use the forest resources haphazardly due to an open access and limited availability of the forest staff. The locals were seen extracting a huge amount of forest resources, like fodder and fuel wood to meet their daily requirement. The regeneration of the forest was heavily disturbed due to open and excessive livestock grazing. Several parts of the forest were heavily encroached for human settlement. Furthermore, there was a dispute between community members and park staff for local use and access of the forest. Though the forest has been considered as a buffer zone, it has hardly appeared to be effective. Furthermore, the management plans prepared with the involvement of community members seem to go nowhere due to the lack of proper implementation.
Maintaining the pool of these resources is really important for ecological well being of the forest.
Creating awareness among the locals for the proper use of resources and afforestation would help reduce forest resource dependency. The laws regarding forest preservation should be effectively implemented. Alternate income generating activities such as promotion of eco-tourism activities in the buffer zone would help reduce the number of illegal extractions from the forest.
I believe execution of these activities should be done globally for the effective preservation of forests that has been affected by the vested interests of humans. It’s our sole responsibility to conserve our valuable assets to ensure a sustainable and long term use of natural resources.
Shrijana is an undergraduate of forestry at Kathmandu Forestry College in Koteshwor.