The role of community forestry in catastrophic recovery: A case of reconstruction in post-earthquake in Gorkha district, Nepal

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Faculty of Forestry, Agriculture and Forestry University, Hetauda, Nepal

2 Institute of Forestry, Pokhara Campus, Tribhuvan University, Pokhara, Nepal



Nepal was hit by a mega earthquake and subsequent aftershocks in 2015, which severely affected the rural lives. The contribution of community forests to recover from the aftermath of earthquake is least studied. On this purview, this study aims to examine the roles of community forestry to recover from earthquake's impact, through an analysis of the use of forest products for the daily use, reconstruction of houses and infrastructures. Based on 185 households, and 11 key informant interview contribution of forest was assessed. Initially, forest products use pattern decreased immediately right after the earthquake in 2015 and it subsequently increased in the year 2016 and 2017. In 2015, earthquake year, the timber consumption was very less but the fuelwood and fodder demand were fulfilled through private lands and others. Timber and fuelwood harvest from community forest in 2017 was higher than before 2015. However, the temporary reformulation form government for allowing to harvest up to 90% of annual increment of the community forests helps to meet the demands and remains under the sustainable limit. Despite having different forest resources, community forests are the first choice to fulfill daily needs. Thus, comparatively community forestry has the ability to contribute more to post-disaster restoration and recovery period than the other forest resources.


Acharya, KP 2002, Twenty-four years of community forestry in Nepal. International Forestry Review,, 4: 149–156
Acharya, KP 2006, Linking trees on farms with biodiversity conservation in subsistence farming systems in nepal. Biodiversity and Conservation, 15: 631-646,
Adhikari, B 2005, Environment and development economics: poverty, property rights and collective action: understanding the distributive aspects of poverty, property rights and collective action. Environment and Development Economics, 1: 7-31,
Aryal, A, Wilkinson, S & Chang Richards, A 2019, Community Participation to Build Back Better: Evidence from the 2015 Nepal Earthquakes. In Resettlement challenges for displaced populations and refugees (Issue Gencer 2013, pp. 17-28). Springer International Publishing.
Banjade, MR 2012, Discourse and Discursive Practices Over Timber in Nepal. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 10: 58-73.
Baral, S & Vacik, H 2018, What governs tree harvesting in community forestry-regulatory instruments or forest bureaucrats’ discretion. Forests, 9,
Baral, S, Meilby, H, Khanal Chettri, BB, Basnyat, B, Rayamajhi, S & Awale, S 2018, Politics of getting the numbers right: Community Forest inventory of Nepal. Forest Policy and Economics, 91: 19-26.
Baral, S, Meilby, H & Khanal Chhetri, BB 2019, The Contested Role of Management Plans in Improving Forest Conditions in Nepal’s Community Forests. International Forestry Review, 21: 37-50.
Bhandari, PKC, Bhusal, P, Paudel, G, Upadhyaya, CP & Khanal Chhetri, BB 2019, Importance of community forestry funds for rural development in Nepal. Resources, 8: 9-17,
Bista, RB 2018, Determinants of Flood Disaster Households’ Vulnerability in Nepal. Economic Journal of Development Issues, 25: 47-59,
CBS 2011, National Population and Housing Census 2011. In: Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal. Government of Nepal.
Chettri, N, Sharma, E, Deb, DC & Sundriyal, RC 2002, Impact of firewood extraction on tree structure, regeneration and woody biomass productivity in a trekking corridor of the Sikkim Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development, 22: 150-158. [0150: IOFEOT]2.0.CO;2.
Khanal Chhetri, BB, Larsen, HO & Smith Hall, C 2015, Environmental resources reduce income inequality and the prevalence, depth and severity of poverty in rural Nepal. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 17:  513-530.
Khanal Chhetri, BB, Lund, JF & Nielsen, OJ 2012, The public finance potential of community forestry in Nepal. Ecological Economics, 73: 113-121,
Cradock Henry, NA, Fountain, J & Buelow, F 2018, Transformations for resilient rural futures: The case of Kaikōura, Aotearoa-New Zealand. Sustainability (Switzerland), 10,
Cutter, SL, Boruff, BJ, & Shirley, WL 2003, Social vulnerability to environmental hazards. Social Science Quarterly, 84: 242–261.
DFO 2017, Annual Progress Report 2016/17.
DFRS  2015, State of Nepal’s Forests. In: Government of Nepal, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Department of Forest Research and Survey Forest (Issue December).
Dhungana, SP & Bhattarai, RC 2008, Exploring economic and market dimensions of forestry sector in Nepal. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 7: 58-69.
DoF 2004, Community Forestry Inventory Guideline. Government of Nepal.
Epstein, K, DiCarlo, J, Marsh, R, Adhikari, B, Paudel, D, Ray, I & Måren, IE  2018, Recovery and adaptation after the 2015 Nepal earthquakes: A smallholder household perspective. Ecology and Society, 23,
FAO 2005, Livestock sector brief. In: Food and Agriculture Organisation.
Gautam, AP, Shivakoti, GP & Webb, EL  2004, Forest Cover Change, Physiography, Local Economy, and Institutions in A Mountain Watershed in Nepal. Environmental Management, 33:  48-61.
Giri, BR, Yi, X, Baral, P & Bikram Bogati, R 2018, Significant Contribution of Community Forests to Users’ Household Income in Far-West Mid-Hill of Nepal. International Journal of Sciences, 4: 36-55.
Hada, CL, Oglethorpe, J, Van Breda, A & Hettiarachchi, M 2016, Resilience Against Environmental Changes. Importance of Green Recovery and Reconstruction In Post-Earthquake Situations.
Kandel, P, Chapagain, PS, Sharma, LN & Vetaas, OR 2016, Consumption patterns of fuelwood in rural households of dolakha district, nepal: reflections from community forest user groups. Small-Scale Forestry, 15: 481-495.
Meilby, H, Smith Hall, C, Byg, A, Larsen, HO, Nielsen, ØJ, Puri, L & Rayamajhi, S 2014, Are Forest Incomes Sustainable? Firewood and Timber Extraction and Productivity in Community Managed Forests in Nepal. World Development,
MoFSC 2015, Community Forest Product Collection and Sale Directive.
MoFSC 2017, Forest Investment Program: Investment Plan for Nepal.
MoHA 2018, Nepal Disaster Report 2017. The Road to Sendai.
Nepal, M, Nepal, A & Grimsrud, K 2011, Unbelievable but improved cookstoves are not helpful in reducing firewood demand in Nepal. Environment and Development Economics, 16: 1-23, https :// S1355770X 10 000409.
NPC 2015a, Nepal Earthquake 2015 - Post Disaster Needs Assessment: Executive Summary. Government of Nepal,
NPC 2015b, Nepal Earthquake 2015 - Post Disaster Needs Assessment: Vol. A: Key Findings. Government of Nepal.
NPC 2015c, Nepal Earthquake 2015 - Post Disaster Needs Assessment: Vol. B: Key Findings. Government of Nepal.
Paudel, G, Bishwokarma, D & Paudel, NS  2015, Government Decision on Relaxing Chure Timber Supply to Address Post-Earthquake Reconstruction Demand: A Sensible Decision or Just a Gesture. 15: 1-4.
Paudel, NS, Paudel, G, Karki, R & Khatri, DB 2014, Revenue and employment opportunities from timber management in Nepal’s community forests. [Policy Brief], September, 1-4. 10.1016/j.marpol.2008.04.002.governments
Pokharel, RK 2008, Do Community Forestry Funds Target the Poor? A Study from Nepal. SANDEE, Policy Brief.
Pokharel, RK, Neupane, PR., Tiwari, KR. & Köhl, M 2015, Assessing the sustainability in community based forestry: A case from Nepal. Forest Policy and Economics, 58: 75-84.
Richards, M, Maharjan, M & Kanel, K 2003, Economics, poverty and transparency: measuring equity in forest user groups. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 3: 91-106.
Shrestha, HL, Chapagain, N, Dhital, KR & Adhikari, S 2015, Geospatial analysis of forest resources availability for the reconstruction after earthquake 2015. In R. Chhatkuli & U. S. Panday (Eds.), Strengthening Education for Land Professionals and Opportunities for SDI Development. International Federation of Surveyors, FIG.
Springate Baginski, O & Dev, O 2003, Community forest management in the middle hills of Nepal: the changing context. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 3: 5-20.
Tachibana, T, Adhikari, A, Rayamajhi, S & Sakurai, T 2019, Green makes a bold comeback! inventory results of 101 natural forests in the middle hills of nepal over two decades. Journal of Forest and Livelihood, 18.
Tachibana, T, Goto, R, Sakurai, T, Rayamajhi, S, Adhikari, A & Dow, WH 2019, Do remittances alleviate negative impacts of disaster on mental health? A case of the 2015 Nepal earthquake. Social Science and Medicine, 238(July), 112460.
The Rising Nepal 2019, Country’s dependency on wood increasing, timber import exceeds Rs 6 billion. The Rising Nepal:
UNDP 2019, Inequalities in Human Development in the 21st Century. Human Development Report 2019.
USGS 2015, M 7.8, 36 km E of Khudi, Nepal. earthquakes/eventpage/ us20002926/dyfi/ intensity
Veblen, TT & Ashton, DH 1978, Catastrophic influences on the vegetation of the Valdivian Andes, Chile. Vegetation, 36: 149–167.
Wei, B, Su, G, Li, Y & Ma, Y 2019, Livelihood Strategies of Rural Households in Ning’er Earthquake-Stricken Areas, Yunnan Province, China. Sustainability, 11: 1–18.
WWF 2016, Building Back Safer and Greener: A Guide to Sound Environmental Practices for Disaster Recovery in Nepal. WWF, Nepal.