Non-Timber Forest Products and their Role in Ecosystem and Community Resilience
The Ecosystem based Adaptation (EbA) project is geared towards combating the impacts of climate change. Operating in 17 Village Districts Committees of Kaski, Parbat and Syangja District that include 9 core VDCs of the Panchase Protection Forest (PPF) and 8 adjoining VDCs, the EbA programme selected the area due to its vulnerability to climate change impacts. The major climate change hazards as landslides and soil erosion are predicted in the Panchase region with erratic rainfall pattern as resulted by changing climatic condition. Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) as Amriso (Broom Grass) and Timur are being planted in the region area. NTFPs plantations have proven to be the most effective methods of retaining the soil, thereby controlling the erosion and the landslides. They can be planted and managed in the abandoned agriculture fields—where previously, maize used to be sown—as well as in the Chure hills to reduce soil erosion. It is relatively easier for the farmers to plant and manage the species. Traditionally, people in Panchase have been collecting different forest products for fuel wood, food, construction materials, medicine and traditional rites. After the plantation of NTFPs as Amriso and Timur, the locals have also been enabled Summary to generate commercial returns by harvesting and selling them. The Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) shows the cultivation of NTFPs to be highly profitable. The contribution of NTFPs to the income generation was highest in the case of poor families (9.89%), followed by middle income families (3.34%) and the least for the higher income families (1.34%). The household survey conducted for the present study revealed that 100% of the population is directly or indirectly dependent on NTFPs. House-hold response indicates diversity in both the types and uses of products collected. On top of the economic benefit, the EbA intervention also focuses on the use of NTFPs to retain the soil, so as to control the future climate induced hazards as soil erosion, landslide and flashflood. The present study which was carried out to determine the role of NTFPs towards poverty alleviation and sustainable forest management in local communities, surrounding Panchase Protection Forest, indicates a substantial benefit of Amriso and Timur for local community as viable option in terms of economic benefit at household level as well as their significant contribution to the ecosystem.