Issues in the Sustainable Management of Protected Areas of Nepal
, A case Study
from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
302 Maxwell School, Syracuse University, Syracuse,
NY 13210, USA
The aim of this study was to examine the critical issues of in the Sustainable
Management of Protected Areas of Nepal. Further I have evaluated the sustainable
management of human impact and dependence in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
(KTWR), Nepal, to explore the key issues for sustainable development and to
recommend appropriate strategy and programs.
Available secondary data were used to evaluate the is
sues in the Sustainable Management
of Protected Areas of Nepal. Similar techniques were applied to examine
the impacts of
human activities on the wildlife has been used in this research. Additional information
was obtained from Department of National Parks
and Wildlife Conservation,
Babarmahal, Kathmandu, UNDP and APEC, Nepal. Human activities were described
and analysed. Available data was used for this purpose. The impact of these activities on
the natural environment, mainly on vegetation, was described
Government of Nepal and various national and international throughout efforts, the
research results highlight the significant problems and challenges for sustainable
management of protected areas in Nepal. Further results shows that there is significa
human and domestic animal impacts on the protected areas of Nepal. The level of human
dependence on the natural resources is very high and people do not have alternatives to
solve the problems without external support.
In most of the protected areas s
ystem management strategies that are critical for resolving
the pressing problems relate to the poor economic condition of surrounding areas, the
empowerment of women, the population's extreme poverty, poor breeds of cattle, crop
damage by wildlife,
ood alternatives, lack of forest in the buffer zone, non
forest products, eco
tourism and the wetlands.
Nepali history tells that Natural resources have been mostly using by the people in
political power. Nepal’s land distribution
is in their hand. Nepali people are still relying
on natural resources, which is leading towards the land cover change and land
desertification. Nepal is based on subsistence farming and they have to expand their
farmland to the environmentally fragile an
d not productive for agriculture. Other
environmental problems are also increasing due to the urbanization and industrialization.
People are dependent with the natural resources, which has adverse impacts on flora and
fauna. However, Nepal has shown its pr
iority for the sustainable management of natural
resources after the democracy in 1990.
1.2. Nepal’s Sustainable Development problem
Extreme Poverty, alarming rate of population growth, lack of developmental
infrastructure (transportation, communication
) illiteracy, landlocked, high terrain are key
problems of sustainable development in Nepal.
There is very high dependency and pressure on natural resources mainly on forest and
wetlands. People are fully dependent on forest product for firewood, building
fodder and grass. There is no designated grazing land in particular; therefore, people take
their cattle to the forest for grazing. Subsistence farming is the basis of life, so people are
fully dependent on arable land.
Other problems of su
stainable management / development of Nepal are listed in the
Difference between government policy paper and actual work, there is no strong
commitment from the government to sustainable development;
Decisions always have been made wi
thout consultation of policy guidelines and
experts. Country’s experts cannot force to change the government decision;
decision is always driven by political benefit and motives.
Decision always comes from capital making and lack of commitment to
ing the decentralized governance system; by principal decentralization
provision is there
There is no stakeholder participation in any level of development. Implementation
is imposed like trickle down process
Rural and local level problems are not correctl
Most of the programs are in theory and have practical base. When they implement
such program they often fail to get expected result.
No proper System of evaluation and monitoring, lack of sequence in policy and
program and implementation
od coordination between developmental agencies, NGOs and Government
agencies in different sectors and at different levels;
Corruption no transparency and accountability from higher to lower level of key
stakeholders for sustainable development
To manage this ecosystem in a sustainable way, it is necessary to have up
information concerning the ecosystem. Socio
economic data is needed as well as
biophysical data, because the human impacts related to the poverty of the population ar
significant. Before this research, statistics concerning the ecosystem and spatial aspects
had not been collated. Managers need to integrate both spatial and temporal information
concerning the ecosystem and how specific activities might have consequence
s for the
ecosystem in the future. HMG
Nepal and various NGOs and development agencies have
completed substantial descriptive and analytical research on the reserve. However, the
research outputs are neither complete nor holistic and are not applicable fo
r all the policy
management decisions that need to be made for the reserve.
There is insufficient research on the habitat of wild animals in eastern Nepal as well as on
Local people are living in the nearby areas of wildlife
habitat and the human population
is increasing by 3.5% annually (Bhandari, 1995). Their activities: agriculture, fuel wood
collection, grass collection for domestic animals, and thatch material collection for house
construction, cause major degradation of
habitat and are influencing the distribution of
It has been observed that wild animals including wild buffaloes are dependent on the
lower soft and higher elephant grass. There is extreme pressure by domestic buffaloes on
the park and they a
re creating unnecessary competition for the other wild animals in the
reserve (Bhandari, 1994, 1995).
Due to an increase in human activities resulting in degradation of forest and grassland,
the habitat for wildlife is reducing in size. Logging for timber
and fuel wood collection
by the local villagers results in the reduction of habitat for biodiversity. There is also a
lack of monitoring of these activities and to what extent they endanger the natural
The use of heavy vehicles for the constru
ction of spurs (check dams) may have
considerable impact on the wildlife habitat but has not been studied.
Other problems in the (general) area are:
An increase of human population in the forest area
Increased numbers of domestic an
imals in nearby villages
Available secondary data
were used t
o evaluate the Issues in the Sustainable Management
of Protected Areas of Nepal. Similar techniques were applied to examine
the impacts of
human activities on the
wildlife has been used in this research. Additional information
was obtained from Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation,
Babarmahal, Kathmandu, UNDP and APEC, Nepal.
Human activities were described
and analysed. Available data was used fo
r this purpose. The impact of these activities on
the natural environment, mainly on vegetation, was described.
2. Result and discussion:
Nepal Priority for Sustainable Development:
Nepal has given priority to sustainable development. Due to the ex
treme poverty the
sustainable management issues are presently overshadowed by political crisis, insecurity
and various other problems. However national plans, laws and policy documents state
Nepal’s commitment to sustainable development. The HMGN/NPC/MOPE
Sustainable Development Agenda for Nepal, proclaims:
The goal of sustainable development in Nepal is to expedite a process that reduces
poverty and provides to its citizens and successive generations not just the basic means of
livelihood, but als
o the broadest of opportunities in the social, economic, political,
cultural, and ecological aspects of their lives. This begins with the pursuit of increased
per capita income afforded by a stable population size that generates a viable and
y sound domestic resource base to create and nurture institutions of the
state, markets, and civil society, whose services can be accessed equitably by all Nepalis.
Basic development processes are to be overseen by accountable units of government with
esentation of women and men of all ethnicity and socio
economic status, whose
management of resources, including the environment, is to be governed by an imperative
that the ability of future Nepali generations to sustain or improve upon their quality of
ife and livelihoods is kept intact. A corollary inherent in viewing sustainable
development in Nepal in these broad terms is a national resolve to pursue happy, healthy,
and secure lives as citizens who lead a life of honor and dignity in a tolerant, just
In relation to land issues and natural resource management, the priorities and goals are
clear and they represent the government’s commitments. According to the
HMGN/NPC/MOPE 2003, Sustainable Development Agenda for Nepal, priorit
y has to
be given to resource base ecosystem management: “Land use is planned and managed at
the local and national level such that resource bases and ecosystems are improved, with
complementarity’s between high
lands, that forest biomass grows,
agricultural and forest lands are protected from urban sprawl, and that biodiversity is
conserved at the landscape level by recognizing threats from habitat fragmentation and
loss of forest cover, a system of protected areas (including national parks
conservation areas) is maintained and further developed to safeguard the nation’s rich
biodiversity. Local communities near protected areas are involved in both the
management and economic benefit sharing of the area”2.
icy document of Nepal has set the first priority with the
consideration of its geo
economic and political situation. More than 40%
of people are below the poverty line; therefore first priority is given to increasing the
Population growth rate is 2.25%, birth rate 33.4 births/1000 population,
death rate 9.6/1000 population and life expectancy is 59.7 years (CBS 2001). In keeping
with these facts, the second priority for sustainability is Health, Population and
. On the basis of the variety of natural resources and the biophysical assets of
the country Forests, Ecosystems and Biodiversity takes third priority. Education,
Institutions and Infrastructure, and Peace and Security are other agenda priorities of the
vernment of Nepal.
In this research I highlight the Forests, Ecosystems and Biodiversity issue. Fast
degradation of forestland is a post 1950’s phenomenon. During the 1950’s,
nationalization of forests took place, leading to the removal of the ownership a
His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu Nepal 2002
Citation: HMGN/NPC/MOPE 2003, Sustainable
Development Agenda for Nepal, Page 1
ibid, page 24
management of the resource base away from villagers without changing the demand for
forest products. Since then the forest cover has been declining. In 1964 forest cover was
45% and in 1994 it was only 37% (CBS 1994, p32
33). Due to the variation of dif
terrain and altitude from 100 m from sea level to the mountains up to 8848 m, Nepal is
unique with regard to biodiversity and different ecosystems. Protected mammals of Nepal
include the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow Leopard, Spotted Leopard, the Asian O
Rhinoceros, the Asian Elephant, the Gangetic Dolphin, the Grey Wolf, the Assamese
Monkey, the Wild Water Buffalo, Wild Yak, the Red Panda and the Pangolin, to mention
a few. All together 181 species of mammals are found in the country. The country
rich in bird life, with 844 species. Nepal has 118 types of forest ecosystems and it is
inhabited by 9.3% of the world’s bird species and 4.5% of the world’s mammal species.
Over 100 species of reptiles live in the country, including the Gherial Cr
Together with 635 species of butterflies and 185 species of fish, this is truly a country
where nature is at its peak in diversity. The species of trees and plants are also high,
amounting to about 5000, while 342 species of plants and 160 species
of animals are
considered to be endemic to Nepal. Also the agricultural diversity of Nepal is high, with a
high variation among crop species like rice, rice bean, buckwheat, soybean, foxtail millet,
and many fruit and vegetable species.
Forests provide f
irewood and animal fodder
(among many other products), and animals provide milk and meat, as well as fertilizer for
Nepal’s commitment to the sustainable development process
Nepal’s history shows that there was knowledge about the importa
nce of nature and its
contribution. Nepal rulers used the Hindu and Buddhist mythology to rule the country
and followed the Hindu and Buddhist religions, traditions and culture. According to these
mythologies, all living beings have equal importance in the
eye of God. Humans are the
supreme creation of God and they should honor and protect the creation of God.
Nepal is in this sense a very special country, with both Buddhism and Hinduism
contributing to respect and reverence of nature. In addition several
communities in Nepal have their own traditional beliefs of some witch stress the human
dependence on nature. This is probably among the important factors behind the
impressing conservation efforts in the country, in only a few decades. In Buddhi
attitudes towards animals and plant life are given in the Five Precepts (panca sila). The
first precept involves abstention from injury to life. In the Karaniyametta Sutta, there are
instructions in the cultivation of loving
kindness toward all crea
tures including visible as
well as invisible. Buddhism also regards plants and trees highly, especially long lived
trees. One legend tells how much compassion Buddha felt for two hungry tiger cubs, so
much in fact, that he gave of his own flesh to feed the
m. Both Hinduism and Buddhism
teach that humans are part of nature not above it. Human beings have no right to kill
other creatures and exploit other natural resources except. Hinduism as well as
Buddhism with their reverence for sacred mountains, sacred r
ivers, forests and animals
has always been close to nature. The Geeta are rich in explaining the aspects of
environment and conservation. According to Hinduism; "All religions are part of the
Nepal Biodiversity Strategy, p. 2
HMG/NPC/MOPE. 2003. Sustainable Development Agenda for Nepal, p36.
processes of discovering the unity of God, Humanity and Nature".
According to Hindu
Mythology there are 330000000 Gods and Goddesses and each of them has relations with
wild flora and fauna. Likewise there is a long list of god and goddess. Apart from these
the sources of water land have different identity as god. Ind
igenous / ethnic community
has also their many gods for conservation of nature.
Gods and Goddesses and their association with plants and animals:
Goddess Bagabati (goddess of power)
Red flowering tree
Lord Shiva (God of law)
(God of protection)
Saraswati (Wisdom and knowledge)
Swan and peacock
(Goddess of wealth)
pair of Elephant
(the combination of power
Wealth and wisdom)
(God of death)
Wild water buffalo
This reverence for nature may have helped Nepal towards the sustainable management of
natural resources in the past.
Current scenario a
nd Nepal’s commitments on sustainability
In its current commitment to sustainable development, Nepal has participated in
international conferences since 1968, the First International Conference for Rational Use
and Conservation of the Biosphere, Paris, Fra
nce. Nepal supported the
Conference on the Human Environment
(Stockholm, Sweden; known as Stockholm
1972), whose mission was “to provide leadership and encourage partnership
in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing,
and enabling nations and peoples
to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations” (Sharma
2002). Nepal also acknowledged the report of the
World Commission on Environment
(Brundtland Commission) and prepare
d its national plan incorporating
the recommended issues of the commission report (1983). Since then, Nepal participated
in most of the international conferences from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Earth Summit 1992
to World Summit on Sustainable Development,
hannesburg, South Africa, 2002.
On the basis of documentation, plans and commitments to the international conventions
and treaties, Nepal has shown its great interest in the sustainable management of natural
resources. However, there is a gap between the t
heory and real practice.
Facts on the nature of Nepal: This article is a brief introduction to so
me of the main environmental issues
of Nepal, covering everything from poaching and biodiversity, to climate change and the impact on nature
of the war. (06/04/2003)
Bhandari, M 2
003, How Hindu mythology helps to protect our Environment, unpublished article.
Policy Documents and Plans Addressing Sustainable Development Issues in Nepal
Eighth Five Year Plan
1997. Poverty alleviation, with emphasis on environmental
protection. Recognized NGOs as a driving force for development f
or the first time. NPC
NEPAP I: Nepal Environmental Policy and Action Plan NEPAP II:
Strategies and Policies for Industry, Forestry and Water Resources. Initiated in 1993,
developed in 1996, implemented in 1998. Broad priorities to address
challenges in key natural resource and development sectors. Introduced principles of
Agenda 21. Identified detailed action plans for key sectors, as well as cross
priorities. Prepared by IUCN Nepal for the EPC. Prepared by IUCN Nepal
Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP)
1995. Aimed to increase agricultural productivity
and reduce poverty through extended land ownership and agro
based industries. Prepared
by PROSOC & John Miller, Inc. USA for NPC/ADB
Ninth Five Year Plan
2002 a 20
year perspective, Sole objective is poverty
reduction, through broad based growth; social sector spending; and programs for
disadvantaged groups. Emphasis on agriculture, forestry and multi
including environment. NPC
Conservation Strategy (NCS)
1998. To conserve natural and cultural heritage
and meet basic needs, with emphasis on conserving biological diversity and maintaining
essential ecosystems. Prepared by IUCN for NPC
Master Plan for the Forestry Sector (MPFS)
nitiated in 1999, with a 25
perspective Sustainable use and management of forests with emphasis on protecting
ecosystems, economic growth and meeting basic needs. Prepared by NPC, ADB, Finnida
and Jaakko Pyroy for MOFSC3
formulated Poverty reduction. Reiterates the broad
priorities of the Ninth Plan, with emphasis on strengthening implementation capacity.
Nepal Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), 2003,
Timeframe extends to 2012. Aims to
address the objectives of the Biod
iversity Convention in Nepal (for example
Conservation, sustainable use and equitable benefit sharing). Proposes the development
of national policies on mountain, rangeland and wetland biodiversity, and integration in
key natural resource sectors. Prepared
by Resources Nepal and other teams for the
Identified Sustainable indicators for environment management
The following chart shows the key issues for sustainable management of Nepal’s
Waste water generation,
collection, and treatment
in urban areas
Mean flow utilizable
surface and ground
Arable land per
Rate of extinction
consumption of ozone
flood, and other
Sustainable environment management indicator
using smart draw trail editi
on 6.20, Jul, 17, 2003.
Protected areas and sustainable management
The United State of America (USA) was the first to work for park management. In the
19th century USA’s park management model was used worldwide (Brandon & Wells
1992; Ghimire 1994).
Establishment of parks expanded dramatically after 1950, according to Brandon & Wells
1992; McNeely, Harrison & Dingwall 1994 reported that there were approximately
25,000 protected areas in the world in 1994. Protected area coverage was estimated as 5.2
of the Earth's land area in 1997 (Ghimire 1997). Many developing countries declared
more than 10% of their land as protected areas, for example Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand,
Chile, Zimbabwe and Togo (Ghimire 1994). Protected areas help save biodiversity and
dlife from being destroyed (Brandon & Wells 1992; Skonhoft 1998). However in the
developing world due to poverty and population growth, protection laws have caused
people conflicts (Heinen 1993a; Lehmkuhk 1988).
The Western model of parks in many ca
ses did not allow people to continue their
traditional uses of natural resources. Higher level managers seldom understood the on
ground issues. Wild animals often destroyed the impoverished farmer’s crops but there
was no proper compensation to the farmer
conflicts with between people and park
management occurred (Bhandari 1994). People living close to the protected areas in the
developing countries are extremely poor (Brandon & Wells 1992). They a lost their crops
and some times their lives, but received
nothing in return (Fiallo & Jacobson 1995; Ghai
1994; Heinen 1996; Rao
. 2002; Sekhar 1998; Straede & Helles 2000). “A hungry
peasant is an angry peasant” (Shrestha & Conway 1996).
Studies shows that a restriction
on use or harvesting of natural res
ources from the traditional lands of poor people is the
main cause of park
people conflict. With “the exhaustion and restriction of natural
resources, people will tend to extract as much as possible from protected areas in order to
satisfy their immediate
needs, without considering the benefits to be gained from long
term environmental security” (Heinen & Low 1992; Shrestha & Conway 1996). “As a
result, a vicious cycle happens: the level of impoverishment in rural villages increases
and further environmenta
l deterioration occurs” (Ghimire 1994; Shrestha & Conway
Due to the population pressure and poverty in developing countries, conservation
strategies need to address local people’s needs (Bookbinder
1998; DeBoer &
Baquete 1998; Ghai 1994; Infi
eld & Namara; Ite 1996; Low & Heinen 1993; Neumann
Declaration of protected areas and sustainable management:
Nepal has a relatively short history of establishment of national parks and wildlife
reserves. Nepal faced various political situation
s under the monarchy system. Under the
Rana monarchy from 1846 to 1950 Nepal was not opened to any foreigners except the
British. However, some areas in the country had been set aside as hunting reserves by the
Rana Regime (1846
1950) the concept of cons
ervation first came into existence during
the 1950s and the first wildlife law was promulgated in Nepal in 1957. Since then almost
year development plans have stressed the need for conserving wildlife. The
Aquatic Animals Protection Act (1959) was
passed in 1961, in which the importance of
wetlands and aquatic animals was emphasized. The act prohibits the use of poison and
explosive materials in water bodies and the destruction of dam, bridge or water system
with the intent to catch or kill aquatic
organisms. A small rhino sanctuary was established
in Chitwan in 1964 to protect the population of one
horned rhinos (
with the help of a group consisting of soldiers and trained people, and known as
(Rhino patrol). Subseq
uently, in 1969, six Royal hunting reserves in the terai and
one in the mountain area were gazetted under the Wildlife Protection Act 2015 (1969),
but effective management could not be achieved because of the absence of adequate
regulations, organization a
nd staff (HMG, 1988a).
In 1970, His late Majesty the King Mahendra approved in principle the establishment of
the Royal Chitwan National Park and Langtang National Park. In 1973, a National Park
and Wildlife Conservation (NWPC) Act came into force and a l
term project was
begun with the help of the FAO & UNDP. The 1973 Act provided broad legislation for
the establishment of National Parks and Reserves to protect areas and species. Since
1973, the act has undergone through its fourth amendment (HMG, 1995
Four types of protected areas has been described under section 2 of the NPWC Act of
1973, namely National Park, Wildlife Reserve, Hunting Reserve and Conservation Area.
These types correspond to the world conservation Union's (IUCN) international syste
of protected areas categories II, IV and VI respectively. In Nepal at present 16 protected
areas exist viz., 8 national parks, 4 wildlife reserves, 3 conservation areas and 1 hunting
reserve covering about 16 percent of total land area of the country.
The World Heritage committee of UNESCO included Royal Chitwan National Park and
Sagarmatha National Park in the World Heritage Natural sites list as important habitat for
endangered species of universal value and outstanding example of geological formation
respectively. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve is included in the list of Wetlands of
International Importance, Nepal's only Ramsar site.
As of 1997, there were 13,321 different parks or equivalent reserves internationally
recognized by the World Conserv
ation Monitoring Centre (WCMC), which covered a
land area of about 6,145,310 square kilometers (IUCN, 1997). National park is a
protected area managed mainly for ecosystem protection and recreation.
Status of protected areas of Nepal
Annapurna Conservation Area
Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
Kanchanjunga Conservation area
Khaptad National Par
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
(Ramsar site 1987)
Lantang Nation Park
Lantang Buffer Zone
Makalu Barun Nation Park
Makalu Barun Buffer Zone
Manaslu Conservation Area
Parsa Wildlife Reserve
Rara National Park
Royal Chitwan National Park (WHS*
Royal Chitwan Buffer Zone
Royal Bardia Nation Park
Royal Bardia Buffer Zone
Royal Suklaphata Wildlife Reserve
Sagarmatha National Park (WHS* 1979)
Sagarmatha Buffer Zone
Shey Phoksundo National Park
Shey Phoksundo Buffer Zone
Shivapuri National Park
Total Area (sq. k.m)
Land Covered by Protected are
*WHS: World Heritage Site Source: DNPWC 2002a
Ecological zones and protected areas of Nepal
Source: Department of National Parks and Wildli
fe Conservation 2000.
the ecological zones and protected areas of Nepal.
The lowland Zone covers a narrow strip of Tarai land along the southern edge of the
country. Midland is hill range, steep sided valleys. Nepal has three Main River syste
Koshi, Karnali and Gandaki.
Sustainable Management problem: Park and people conflict
Conflict issues are mainly related to people livelihood and are difficult to overcome.
Protected Area management is always difficult. The problem is limited resou
population growth. Most of the protected areas were established on the public land but it
also covered some of the private land. Even in the public land people used to use that
land for their various purposes such as for grazing, fire wood, fodder
and for timber or
hunting, fishing. Once it converted to the protected area, people have no more right to use
those resources. This led to the park people conflict. There is unanswered question, if any
particular area was not covered under the protection
what would happen? When I asked
these questions to the local people related to park, they accept that we might have lost all
wildlife and flora and other fauna.
Park people conflict is not particular in Nepal; it can be seen in most of the developing
ntries. In developed world, nature of conflict is different; however, still there is
conflict (Bhandari 1998).
Active conservation of habitats has increased wildlife population within protected areas,
which start causing damage outside the park. The relat
ion between park
imbalanced when the park animals damage outside and disturb the adjacent settlement.
Damage of agricultural crop, human harassment, injuries and death, and livestock
depredation are the common causes of this imbalanced relationsh
ip (Sharma, 1996;
Jnawali, 1989; Heinen, 1993; Studsord and Wegge, 1995; Shrestha, 1994 and Kasu,
The local people, who once were enjoying free access to areas henceforth covered by
parks and were able to meet their needs from inside resources, now
no longer, have legal
access. Local people have seen the park as an attempt by the government to curtail their
access to their traditional rights of resources use. However, the park has became a very
good source for villagers to fulfill their resources ne
eds through venturing into illegal
poaching, logging and hunting, all of which are directly conflicting with the park's
objectives (Mishra, 1982; Milton and Binney, 1980).
With the establishment of the wildlife reserve, people have been denied the rights
the resources inside the reserve and they have no rights to claim compensation for the
damage to their crops by wildlife. Similarly, except in specialized area within buffer
zones, the responsibility for managing resources has been taken from people
who live in
the vicinity and has instead been transferred to a Government agency, which is based in
the distant capital. The costs of giving up access to the use of the resources fall on the
rural people living in the vicinity of the reserve.
In the cont
est of KTWR, large livestock holders continue to practice livestock grazing
within the reserve, not only because of a lack of alternatives, but also due to a strong will
to practice their tradition of livestock rearing and to exercise their traditional rig
ht to use
the resources of Koshi Tappu. In the absence of alternatives however, such activities
continue to increase despite the risks of being caught. This poses a threat not only to the
existence of the wildlife reserve but also to the wetlands of the re
It is very difficult to villagers to understand why wildlife may damage their crops, while
they must not kill any wild animal in return. They are not convinced of the rationale of
protecting forests and wildlife, which they have been utilizing for t
Buffer Zone concept for sustainable management:
Buffer zone has been defined as the area adjacent to a protected area on which land use is
partially restricted to give an added layer of protection to the protected area while
valued benefits to neighboring rural communities (Mackinnon et al. 1986).
Thus, it is an area of controlled and sustainable land use, which separates the protected
area from direct human pressure (Ordsol 1987; Nepal and Weber, 1993).
World National Parks
Conference at Bali in 1982 focused on the relationship between
protected areas and human needs and stressed the relevance of integrating protected areas
with other major development issues (Mishra, 1991). The message is that the protected
areas should resp
ond to the needs of local people (Sayer, 1991). The involvement of local
people in the management of the protected areas for mutual benefits is widely accepted
today (Oldfield, 1988). This ultimately leads to harmony and sustainability between the
heritage and the well being of the people living on the periphery of the park
(Anon, 1993). These days, buffer zone concept has been widely accepted in protected
area management in order to reduce conflicts between protected area authorities and the
people (Berkmuller et. al., 1990).
As the park and people conflict emerged and the government realized that conservation
of wildlife inside the protected areas is not productive in lack of local people's
participation and also the issues that were repeat
edly raised who should benefit from
conservation efforts the local people or the wildlife. Through the 4th amendment in the
NPWC Act of 1973 in 1992, HMG has allowed to create buffer zone surrounding
national park and reserves in order to provide the use o
f forest products to local people.
The Act defines buffer zone as
"The peripheral area of the National park or reserve
under section 3A for providing facilities to local inhabitants to utilize forest products
The concept of buffer zones is rece
ntly developed in Nepal. The DNPWC proposed a
buffer zone concept for the protected areas of Nepal in 1984. However, for the
declaration of a buffer zone, the factors such as; geographical situation of the reserve,
area affected from the reserve, status of
settlements and appropriateness from the point of
management, have to be considered.
To involve local community for Sustainable management of National Parks and Wildlife
Reserve, Conservation area, Buffer Zone Management plan is being implemented. There
re various parks and people issues need to address. If we look the global context of
sustainable management of protected area, main issues is always park people conflicts.
Nepal has been implementing park people project with the help of UNDP since 1998.
Case Study of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Management issues
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (KTWR) is basically a flood plain of Sapta Koshi river
system with an area of 175 sq. km and altitudinal range of 75
81 meters lies upstream of
Koshi barrage ac
ross the Sunsari and Saptari districts of Koshi zone in eastern Nepal.
This area was gazetted in 1976 under Section 10 of the National Parks and Wildlife
Conservation Act, 1973, to preserve the habitat of the remaining population of wild water
), which is the 26 mammal species identified as the protected
Realizing the importance of the site, it was designated as a wetland of international
importance and added to the Ramsar list on December 17, 1987. This reserve w
registered under the IV category of the Commission on National Parks and Protected
Areas of IUCN
the World Conservation Union.
The NPWC Act, 1973, prohibits a number of activities including livestock grazing,
cultivation, fishing, hunting and entry in
to the reserve without permission from the
reserve authority. Royal Nepal Army and the Reserve staff have taken responsibilities of
In order to address the conflicts between the park authority and the communities, the
Department of Nation
al Parks and Wildlife Conservation has been implementing Park
People Program since 1995 with UNDP assistance by adopting community based
biodiversity conservation approach.
The main objective of the Program is to improve the socio
economic condition of the
people living adjoining to the Reserve by promoting alternative energy and livelihood
contributing to the conservation of biodiversity.
Realizing the need of a long
term management plan, the DNPWC initiated a participatory
planning exercise and developed
a Management Strategy Framework in early 1998.
Management Strategy Framework (based on ZOPP methodology) has identified pertinent
concerns that the degradation of terrestrial habitat, degradation of aquatic habitat,
inadequate local community participation
for conservation, and insufficient protective
measures are the direct substantial causes for impeding the effective management of the
reserve (DNPWC/PPP 1998). Essential program and policy document is not prepared yet.
The base issues and strategy and pro
gram for the sustainable management of Koshi
Tappu Wildlife Reserve, Buffer Zone is recommended on the next chapter of this
Koshi Tappu is basically important due to its uniqueness and wetland. Following
paragraphs will highlight the wet
land related issues.
Koshi Tappu Buffer Zone and Wetlands
The wetlands of the reserve and its BZ consists of rivers, streams, floodplains, oxbow
lakes, river marshes, swamp forest, rice fields and seasonally flooded grasslands.
important values of the
wetlands of the area, it was designated as a wetland of
international importance and added to the Ramsar list on 17 December 1987 (IUCN
1990b). Koshi Tappu area is the only Ramsar site in Nepal. It comprises total area of
149,000 ha. (IUCN 1998). Various
inventory surveys have been carried out from various
institutions such as IUCN, APEC, Woodland Mountain Institute, Ramsar convention
bureau (APEC 1994). KTWR and its BZ's most wetlands are created due to the Large
Dam Constructed in the Koshi River. It ha
s upstream and down stream two way impacts
to the both countries India and Nepal (Bhandari M. 2000).
I examined the issues for sustainable management of protected areas of Nepal on the base
of secondary sources. I found eleven major issues o
f sustainable management of
protected areas in Nepal need to address. Poverty, and population growth is first issue
which need to address for any development intervention. To manage protected areas of
Nepal in sustainable way people participation ((plannin
g stage to implementation stage)
is essential and policy and strategy need to develop. Government of Nepal is still
following western model of Protected Areas (PA) management. Local people are ignored
in the management issues. Local people are associated w
ith forestry, wildlife and even
with the land and river systems which is under the protected area. To address this issue
policy and strategy and action plan need to prepare for the conservation of local
indigenous knowledge and culture. Nepal development a
nd conservation plan has not
given priority for the monitoring and evaluation. Programs have been implementing in
many PAs but there are no convincing records of outcomes.
Nepal has varieties of climatic and ecological zones due the variations on elevatio
Nepal needs a complete bio
diversity profile and database of flora and fauna, and a
separate database of each Pas. For the sustainable management of protected areas in the
country each needs a management plan. Nepal has declared 18% of total land for th
protected area category; however, there is no links between one area to another. Special
large wildlife such as elephant, tiger, rhinoceros, bleu bull, wild water buffaloes and other
species large area is needed for their movement. In terms of wildlife m
programs needs to be address regional level. Wildlife does not understand political and
National geographical boundaries. Therefore varieties of corridors need to be developed
and manage, with the consultation of Indian counter parts and s
pecial focus program is
needed for the conservation of endangered species (Elephant, Wild Water Buffaloes,
Tiger, Rhinoceros etc). Poaching is still common in Nepal specially boarder areas
including Indian and Chinese. Special watchdog system needs to deve
lop with the full
participation of local people. To address the Tran boundary issues both Indian and
Chinese counter parts need to contact and consider.
Nepal has its own reputation about the wild flora and fauna. Each protected areas have
their own uniq
ueness and importance. Tourism is one of the major sources of foreign
exchange. There is lack of information about protected areas of Nepal and uniqueness.
More publication, research is needed to explore the country’s socio
ing is necessary with rest of world for the information flow. Within
country information centers need to be developed. In the protected area, there should be
an information unit.
Finally, development of research centers and resources centers in the most f
(World Heritage sites, Ramsar sites and culturally importance sites) is also necessary to
highlight the country’s uniqueness in terms of biodiversity and cultural heritage.
These aforesaid points fully apply to the major study site of this stud
y “Koshi Tappu
Wildlife Reserve”. It is located in the eastern terai (175 sq. km.), was established and
gazetted in 1976, primarily for the protection of the last remnant population of wild water
buffalo (Bubalus bubalis arnee) and their habitat. Gharial c
rocodile (Gavialis gangeticus),
Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), Swamp partridge (Francolinus gularis) and
Bengal florican (Eupodotis benghalensis) are endangered species that inhibit the reserve.
KTWR is the only Ramsar site in Nepal.
In the case
of sustainable management of Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve, I examined the
dependency of local people on the park using both primary and secondary data. I used
non parametric statistical test to see the impact. The statistical test shows the strong
of human and domestic animals in the Koshi Tappu Wildlife reserve. I have also
presented maps to show the most impact and people dependency in the park.
I also tried to find out the basic reasons of dependency on the basis of available data and
own experiences in the area. Following are the causes of impact and
dependency in the park. For the sustainable management of the park concerned
stakeholders need to incorporate mentioned issues. To manage Koshi Tappu sustainable
way I have recommended po
licy / strategy and activities and program in the
1. Poor economic condition of surrounding of Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (Main cause
of Dependency on the reserve). The reason is there are no alternatives available to uplift
economic situation of people. There are no programs for community Capital
Generation and Mobilization.
2. Women Empowerment: Women are neglected. There is Cultural rigidity: Insufficient
gender focused conservation and community development program, Illi
literacy rate is low and Insufficient women empowerment and involvement in decision
3. Very poor people (far below of poverty line): Efforts are less directed towards Special
Target Group (STG) Poverty: traditional farming,
4. Animal husbandry: Large number of unproductive animals (poor breed), Inadequate
grazing land and grass and fodder, Inadequate veterinary facility Inadequate market for
dairy product, No alternate for power on agricultural (plowing, car
t pulling), Social and
cultural value with local cattle (cows).
5. Crop Damage by wildlife (park people conflict): Crop damages by wild water
buffaloes, wild boar, and other wildlife, Human injuries or deaths caused by wild
buffaloes and wild boar, and F
encing stolen (lack of moral).
6. Fuel wood: The KTWR BZ has no sufficient forest, Local has no alternative sources of
fuel wood, they are directly or indirectly depend on reserve, and nearby government
forest and drift
wood from Koshi River and Trijuga R
7. Alternatives for energy: Technology for alternative energy development is not
8. Forest: Lack of forest in Buffer Zone, Insufficient management intervention for
improvement of the forest
timber forest product (N
TFT) (thatch material (Khar) and grass: NTFT (Khar
Khadai) not regularized, Instigate reserve people conflicts and Involvement of business
tourism is not adequately emphasized and Tourism related
information is not sufficient,
No sufficient publications are available on the Wild
buffaloes and birds of Koshi Tappu wetland, And Lack of tourism infrastructure and
11. Wetlands: Degradation of aquatic habitat viz. ponds, lakes canals by the invasion of
weeds specially wat
er hyacinth, Local people poison the wetlands for fishing and Over
exploitation of fish and snails by local people has reduced the food availability to the
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