The United Nations General Assembly
has declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests (IYF)
to raise awareness on conservation, management and sustainable development of all types of forests worldwide. About one-third of the total area of our planet is covered by forests, which provide goods and services sustaining livelihoods for 1.6 billion people and boosting a trade of US$ 327 billion annually. Forests also have important cultural, recreational, and spiritual values for billions of people. Globally, 50% of terrestrial species are found in forests, which thus play an immense role in biodiversity conservation, as well as providing ecosystem services to the global community.
Besides economic and social benefits, forests play an important role in mitigation and adaptation to climate change. The reduced emission from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD) plus approach is gaining increased attention. It offers a win-win situation benefiting climate, communities, people, and biodiversity conservation.
Nepal, a mountainous country, has more than 25 percent of its land under forest. The forest plays a vital role in maintaining ecological balance, supporting livelihoods, and fostering the economy of the country. The subtropical, deciduous, and coniferous forests, together with alpine pastures, are a repository of a rich diversity of flora and fauna at genetic, species, and ecosystem levels in Nepal. The country excels at community forestry, which has contributed to restoring forest resources and people’s livelihoods, and especially the formation of capital in rural communities; to policy and governance reform; and to the process of community empowerment and social change. Forests and trees are a crucial part of life in Nepal for maintaining biodiversity, providing ecosystem services for basic human needs, and contributing to culture and recreation.
To mark the International Year of Forests
, this year’s International Biological Diversity Day
(22nd May) has also focused on forest biodiversity. Marking this day gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of the connections between forests, biodiversity, people, and the economy. To celebrate the Day, ICIMOD is organising a talk programme in the ICIMOD Lecture Series
by two distinguished experts with invaluable experience in forestry and biodiversity conservation. The programme will take place on the topic ‘Sustainable management of forests for conserving biodiversity, developing the local economy, and adapting to climate change
’. The distinguished experts are Dr Krishna Chandra Poudel
, Chief, REDD-Forestry and Climate Change Cell, Nepal/Head of the Environment Division, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation; and Dr Ram Prasad Chaudhary
, Professor, Central Department of Botany, Tribhuwan University, Kathmandu.