SERVIR-Himalaya Small Grant Programme

Enabling people of Chitwan district to manage forest fire

The Institute of Forest in Nepal (IOF), one of the eight grantees under the SERVIR-Himalaya programme, will develop an appropriate community-based forest fire management strategy for the Kayer khola watershed of Chitwan district in Nepal. 

The project will document community-based knowledge, practices and institutions relevant to fire management. The field survey will also collect information on biophysical aspects such as topography and vegetation as well as density and distribution of fuel materials. Climatic data will be obtained from meteorological stations.   

The data collected will be integrated into Geographic Information System (GIS) of the environment to generate spatially explicit fire hazard sensitive maps of the watershed. The project will involve the community members and equip them with early precautionary measures to suppress forest fire in their vicinity. The research will provide a model of community-based fire management strategies to complement the government’s efforts to develop early warning systems and empower the local community to combat forest fire.  

Forest fire is considered one of the major threats to forests, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation in Nepal. Records maintained by the Institute of Forest show that forest fire incidences in Nepal have increased in recent years, resulting in more damage and biodiversity loss. Incidences of forest fire are more common during the hot and dry summer season. Chitwan district, which lies in the southern belt of the country, experiences more forest fire incidences compared to the rest of the country. The research is coordinated and led by a team of expert faculty members of the Institute of Forest who are actively involved in geo-spatial analysis, cultural-ethnographic studies and watershed management. The outcomes of this project will be useful in developing awareness-raising materials for community members and educational materials on forest fire management strategies for university students.