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Enterprise-Based Biodiversity Conservation in Nepal

In 1995, EnterpriseWorks/VITA and its local affiliate the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources (ANSAB) launched a pioneering effort to conserve globally significant biodiversity in the mountainous regions of western Nepal by promoting profitable, conservation-based management of the area's forest and pasture resources.  In 1999, the USAID Global Conservation Program (GCP) provided funding to expand the initiative to include a variety of natural products in five additional districts: Kalikot, Jumla, Dolpa, Mugu, and Bajhang.

The expanded project aimed to bring 36,000 hectares of globally significant biodiversity under improved management in five years and strengthen and improve policy implementation in community forestry nation-wide. The project worked to develop sustainable economic activities for communities dependent on natural resources within the Community Forest User Group (CFUG) national policy context. Through this community forestry mechanism, ANSAB assisted communities in organizing themselves into Community Forest User Groups, gaining control over forest and meadow resources, and devising sustainable resource management strategies. The project’s objectives were:

  • Expand and institutionalize participatory natural resource management and conservation practices within the framework of community forestry in Nepal
  • Enhance knowledge and skills of Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) and local harvesters in sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity.
  • Promote commercial use of natural products in an ecologically sustainable and socially equitable manner.
  • Generate scientific information required for the sustainable management of the biological resources.

Community Forest User Groups (CFUGs) realized the incentive to mitigate threats to biodiversity because it is critical to the success of their enterprises.  By 2005, the project economically benefited 335,328 people and generated over US $4.8 million in direct economic benefits for these community members and 43,630 hectares were brought under improved management.

To read more about USAID's Global Conservation Program and EnterpriseWorks/VITA's role as a partner click here.