Community forestry in Nepal has shown that people can be the solution, not the problem, for protecting forests. The same is true for wildlife. Communities need to be recognised as the backbone of wildlife conservation. Investments in community capacity and policies to support them should be a priority.
Nepal has the opportunity to become a world leader, not only in community forestry, but also in community wildlife management. And this would mean more fantastic photos and sightings of endangered wildlife in eastern Nepal.
Nepal can integrate wildlife conservation into community forestry by building:
* Community capacity for wildlife conservation, including trainings in wildlife conservation for women, marginalised, and youth. Ideally, individuals could gain special training in areas that particularly interest them, like birds, mammals, plants, etc.
* Capacity of forest guards and user groups to gather data on wildlife as part of regular activities, including camera trapping, with community forestry users’ groups buying their own cameras if they have enough income or through subsidies.
* Networks of community forests linked across corridors, with community forestry user groups that communicate and share information about the wildlife in their forests.
Teri D. Allendorf, PhD is a conservation biologist affiliated with the Dept of Forest and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in the US, and is the Board President of Community Conservation, Inc.