DFE, with funding from the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation, is working with two local partners, Wildlife Conservation Nepal (WCN) and Chaudhary Biosysnepal Nepal (CBNL), and a Danish counterpart, Biosynergy, to build social, economic, and environmental resilience among marginalized forest dependent communities so that they have the skills to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change. This is achieved through creating market linkages for various Non Timber Forest Products (NTFP) and high value perennial plants, agroforestry, afforestation, and increased energy efficiency through improved cooking stoves. This innovative project works with both civil society and a local and Danish commercial business, CBNL and Biosynergy respectively, to produce viable local business solutions that will contribute to livelihood enhancement, while at the same time improving and preserving the natural resource base of the area. 

The project works with five Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) in four districts of Nepal: Rasuwa and Makwanpur, located in the upland areas and Nawalparasi and Chitwan, which are in the Terai plains of Nepal. The works starts with establishing nurseries in the four districts with a focus on forestry species capable of delivering high value products that exhibit fast growth and have a short rotation, similar to traditional agricultural crops, thus being a swift source of income. In total, 25 hectares of agroforestry with medicinal plants as the understory layer and 100 hectares of high yielding timber plantations are planned, along with a eco-system restoration effort of 1400 hectares of degraded natural forest, achieved through a reduced logging regime and replanting. These activities will increase tree cover and build ecosystem resilience, adapting to climate change through sound natural resource management and mitigating the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration. The introduction of improved cooking stoves (ICS) is a logical complementary activity, which will reduce the pressure for wood fuel from the forests, while at the same time promoting a cleaner environment in households.The ecosystem improvement activities are directly connected to economic resilience in communities since the NTFP and agroforestry products will improve income of the forest users. Women cooperatives will be founded that will learn how to process, market, and sell the different forest products. CBNL and Biosynergy will work on the innovative business-aspect of the project in the two areas of 1) value-added processing activities of the forest products and 2) the creation of market linkages to sell these products in order to generate income. The other aspect of livelihood improvement is focused on managing carbon that is sequestered through tree planting and forest management. The communities will establish a low cost carbon trading business and learn how to manage carbon and engage in carbon trading on the voluntary carbon market. 

The combination of environmental and economic resilience will contribute to the communities' social resilience by strengthening their response capacities and giving them tools on how to manage their resources sustainably. The project supports self-organization and fosters learning and education by using practical hands-on awareness raising and concrete activities, such as establishment of nurseries, adaptation of cooking stoves that require less wood cutting, and marketing of new forest products, in order for the communities to be able to adapt to climate change and achieve maximum environmental benefit. The local partners will conduct awareness and education outreach to community members and disseminate results, lessons-learned, and facilitate cooperation and knowledge exchange among the groups. Several trainings and capacity development activities in the areas of climate change adaptation and mitigation, participatory carbon management and monitoring, organic certification, marketing strategies and business plan development, are planned. The project will test the use of smartphone based inventory applications for carbon monitoring, with the idea of reducing costs and increasing community involvement in the process.

By means of community based natural resource management, the capacity of locally marginalized forest user groups to adjust to climate change will be achieved, while at the same time building their social and economic resilience through the development of viable, alternative livelihood sources from improved forest cultivation, harvesting, processing, and marketing of products.

You can read more about Nefco here.


Visit our partners' websites, WCNCBNL, and Biosynergy. For more information about the projects or Danish Forestry Extension, you can contact Flemming Sehested, fls@df-extension.dk.