Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Charcoal from Underutilized Forest Species for Increased Income and Plant Diversity
Suman Ghimire, Kishor Prasad Bhatta, Durga Prasad Joshi

Last modified: 2017-09-12


The knowledge of the impact of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) removal on forest plant diversity is hardly known, and the possibilities of income generation from them at grass-root community is rarely documented. We performed 1 % sampling with nested circular plots of 500 m2 in IAS removed and non-removed area, each of 30 hectares in Udayapur Community Forest User Group (CFUG), Chitwan, Nepal to observe whether IAS removal contributed to an increase in plant diversity. In addition, we interviewed and interacted all ten entrepreneur households involved in charcoal production and marketing in the same CFUG, and reviewed their records to understand if the charcoal production contributed to their income and employment. The average annual precipitation and temperature of the study area is 2100 mm and 34 degrees Celsius respectively with Shorea robusta as main tree species and Eupatorium odoratum as dominant IAS. We observed a higher plant diversity index in IAS removed areas (2.43) than in control site (1.95). Furthermore, the number of tree seedlings and saplings in the IAS harvested blocks were significantly higher (p < 0.005) compared to the unharvested one. The sale of charcoal contributed for an average increased income of 30.95 % of the involved households. Despite above factors, some operational policy hurdles related to charcoal transport and taxation were existed at field level. Our results suggest that plant diversity could be increased through the removal of IAS, and considerable economic benefits could be achieved if charcoal is produced and utilized.

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