March 20-21, Thimphu: The Social Forestry & Extension Division under the Department of Forests and Park Services, MoAF is organising a two day Conference on Community Forestry with the theme “Towards better understanding of Community Forestry through good governance practices and explore livelihood opportunities in the face of Climate Change”.
The objective of the Conference is to provide a platform for sharing of information and exchanging experiences related to community forestry to:
- Improve understanding of the comprehensive and dynamic nature of community forestry in the country
- Share experiences on community forestry management including socio-economic and environmental benefits, and challenges
- Explore the potential of community forestry to generate benefits beyond payment of ecosystem services, ecotourism, Climate Change, REDD+, etc.
In Bhutan, the community forestry (CF) programme was initiated in the early 1990s with the implementation of decentralisation policy being given to Dzongkhags. The first CF Dozam under Drameste, Mongar Dzongkhag was handed over to the community in 1997. Initially, the program could not progress well as desired despite many area development Projects supporting the programme. However, the CF program picked up since 2007 mainly due to the enabling legal frameworks as per FNCR 2006, and the number of CF approved and handed over had reached an astounding figure of 682 CFs covering an area of 75,705 hectares (about 2.8% of the total forest area) and managed by 28,453 households as members (34.1% of total rural household) as of date.
During the opening address, Hon’ble Agriculture Minister, welcomed the Dzongkhag Tshogdu Thrizin who are crucial part of common resource management especially CF and Non-wood Forest Product programmes within their respective jurisdiction.
Hon’ble Lyonpo’s address covered a wide range of information on when the CF programme started and the current status, strategies, potentials and constraints. He also informed the gathering that establishing one CF costs about Nu 1,20,000 and so far 13 Dzongkhags have generated an income of about Nu. 30 million. Income from the remaining 7 Dzongkhags is under compilation. The gathering was also informed that despite benefits, there were problems associated with CF management.
He also stressed that since the number of CF is quite high, it is now very important to concentrate on improving their management in the 12th Plan and also to create CFs in these geogs which do not have any CF.
Present in the Conference are Dzongkhag Tshogdu Thrizins, Chairpersons of CFMG/NWFP Group, President of CF Networking Groups, CFOs and forestry officers of Territorial Divisions/Parks and some representatives from Donor agencies.
Submitted by Social Forestry & Extension Division, DoFPS
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