Baghmara Community Forest, Nepal
The Baghmara Forest is a replanted and regenerated forest area forming a buffer zone adjacent to the Royal Chitwan National Park in Nepal. It was established in1989 following gradual degradation of the park itself over the preceding two decades. It is managed by the Baghmara Forest User Group, one of many such groups established under the 1993 Forest Act inNepal. As of the 1990s , the forest provided habitats for 15 rhinoceros as well as hare , jackal , deer , monkey , mongoose , otter , crocodile , turtle , various snakes and lizards and almost 200 birdspecies . It does not yet support tiger, one of the principal attractions at the Royal Chitwan National Park, and although it did so in historical times and may yet do so again (Rijal, 1997).
Thevillagers use the forest both for forest products and for ecotourism. As of the mid 1990s, it provided over 50% of local requirements for fuelwood and thatching materials and in future is expected tomeet these needs entirely. The Baghmara Forest was opened for tourism in 1995, and tourist revenue to the local community in 1996 totalled US$ 21600 (Rijal, 1997).
The Forest Users Group has constructedwildlife viewing towers, which also incorporate tourist accommodation, and local residents have built guest houses and established guided tours, including canoe tours .As the forest continues toregrow and wildlife to return, tourism opportunities will continue to increase.
Revenues to date have been used to hire forest guards, train local guides, contribute to three local schools and buildembankments to reduce flooding. The Forest User Group has also established a monitoring committee, which has the authority to restrict the number of visitors in the forest. In addition to direct economicbenefits from forest products and tourism , the community forest provides a buffer from wildlife in Chitwan National Park , which might otherwise damage crops and attack livestock. Clearly, however,...
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