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Rapid Silviculture Appraisal to Characterise Stand and Determine Silviculture Priorities of Community Forests in Nepal

Cedamon, Edwin, Nuberg, Ian, Paudel, Govinda, Basyal, Madan, Shrestha, Krishna, Paudel, Naya
Small-scale forestry 2017 v.16 no.2 pp. 195-218
community forestry, cost effectiveness, forest management, forest products, forests, governance, silviculture, stems, trees, Nepal
Community forestry in Nepal is an example of a successful participatory forest management program. Developments in community forestry in four decades have focused on the social and governance aspects with little focus on the technical management of forests. This paper presents a silviculture description of community forests and provides silviculture recommendations using a rapid silviculture appraisal (RSA) approach. The RSA, which is a participatory technique involving local communities in assessing forests and silviculture options, is a simple and cost-effective process to gather information and engage forest users in the preparation of operational plans that are relevant to their needs. The RSA conducted on selected community forests in Nepal’s Mid-hills region shows that forests are largely comprised of dominant crowns of one or two species. The majority of studied community forests have tree densities below 500 stems per hectare as a consequence of traditional forest management practices but the quality and quantity of the trees for producing forest products are low. Silviculture options preferred by forest users generally are those which are legally acceptable, doable with existing capacities of forest users and generate multiple forest products. For sustainable production of multiple forest products, the traditional forest management practices have to be integrated with silviculture-based forest management system.