Geographic coverage The programme covers 18 districts: Sunsari, Saptari, Siraha, Dhanusa, Mahotari, Sarlahi, Rautahat, Bara and Parsa of Eastern and Central region and Bajhang, Bajura, Achham, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Jumla, Dolpa, Mugu and Humla of Far and Mid-Western region (10 VDCs of each of the hill/mountain districts and 15 VDCs of each of the Terai districts)
Project duration January 2014 to December 2017
Budget NPR 7,90,59,855
Funding partner/s  BMZ and WHH, Germany
Implementing agencies A consortium led by Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) along with the World Food Programme (WFP) and Oxford Policy Management (OPM)  
Target groups 2,500 Households (Sherpas, Limbus, Rais, Tamangs, and Dalits)
Project Leader Mr. Gam Bahadur Gurung

 

Introduction

The Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale (TMJ) conservation area is located in the eastern hills of Nepal and covers an area of more than 585 km in three districts - Tehrathum, Sankhuwasabha and Taplejung. The Government of Nepal declared it as “National Rhododendron Environmental Conservation Area”, which is the floral hotspot of 28 species of rhododendron. The area is also rich in biodiversity having various economically important non-timber forest products and medicinal and aromatic plants (NTFPs/MAPs). The area is the home to the globally endangered snow leopard, leopard cat, clouded leopard, musk deer, pangolin, Asiatic black bear and important avifauna. The TMJ area has a high potential of ecotourism promotion, as it is rich in biodiversity, cultural heritage and connected to the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT). In recent years, there are increasing threats to biodiversity in the TMJ area, with an adverse effect on rural livelihoods because of the increasing population pressure.  

Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN) has been implementing the “Strengthening Community-Based Biodiversity Management Project” in partnership with Deutsche Welthungerhilfe (WHH). The project is funded by WHH and Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Germany. The project works on three main thematic components – biodiversity conservation, ecotourism and green enterprise promotion. The smallholder farmers and forest users are supported with different need based project interventions through biodiversity cooperatives, farmer groups, community forest user groups, ecotourism committees, mother groups and school green clubs.

Objectives

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the objectives of the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) through conservation and sustainable use of ecosystem services. 

The specific objective of the project is to reduce threats to biodiversity and strengthen sustainable financing mechanisms in the priority sites of the TMJ area for the benefit of the local communities.

Expected results

The project has the following expected results:

  • The biodiversity is conserved in the priority sites of the TMJ area through the community-based management of integrated forest and farming systems. 
  • Sustainable financing mechanisms for community-based biodiversity conservation is established and made functional in TMJ areas.
  • Good practices and models of innovative, sustainable financing are developed and successfully promoted at national and international level.

Key achievements 

  • 615 farm households from 31 farmer groups established home garden and produced 22.15 tons fresh vegetables.
  • 61 Sustainable Integrated Forest and Farming Systems (SIFFS) model farms developed by leader farmers. 
  • 5 biodiversity conservation and anti-poaching awareness workshops conducted and 60 hoarding boards on anti-poaching installed for awareness raising.
  • Biodiversity assessment of 8-community forest conducted and operational plan of 6 CFUGs renewed.  
  • A study conducted and report produced on sustainable harvesting of NTFP/MAPs. 
  • 237 improved cooking stoves installed.
  • 3 NTFP/MAP nurseries in Change, Nundhaki and Phakumba VDCs established.
  • School garden developed by 7 green club schools, water supply scheme improved by 6 green club schools, toilet facilities improved by 3 green club schools.
  • 4 slots of entrepreneurship development and business planning training conducted for 105 ecopreneurs.
  • Skill development training conducted for 79 entrepreneurs on Allo processing, bee-keeping, bamboo furniture making, fish farming, kiwi cultivation, commercial vegetable farming, MAP cultivation and home- stay/hotel management. 
  • Seed money with Rs. 12, 25,000.00 provided to six cooperatives for green enterprise promotion.
  • 17.66 km of eco-trail from Dobhan to Guphapokhari renovated with 4 resting places constructed along the eco-trail. 
  • The ecotourism development guideline for the TMJ area developed.
  • Radio broadcasting program (Jaibik Bibidhata tatha Paryawaran Sanraskhan Sandesh) conducted through Radio Taplejung on a fortnightly basis.  
  • Training manual on home gardening (500 copies) published in Nepali for the dissemination of good practices and learning.

Impact on GESI and Environment

The project has given priority for women and disadvantaged groups to participate in the project activities as beneficiaries. Out of 5,430 participant community members, involvement of men and women was 49% and 51%, respectively. Participation of Dalits, Janajatis and Brahman/Chhetris was 7%, 74% and 19%, respectively. 

The project is focused to conserve the biodiversity and promote ecosystem services through sustainable, integrated forest and farming systems. It has also supported the community for the promotion of green enterprises and disaster risk reduction activities.

Lessons learnt

  • Formation and close coordination with Village Project Advisory Committee (VPAC) were instrumental for effective activity implementation at the grass-roots level through community groups. 
  • A field-based practical training on home gardening through leader farmers (local resource persons) was found more effective than giving training to farmer groups by outsider agricultural technicians.
  • Exposure visit of entrepreneurs outside the district was useful for the start-up of enterprises by gaining experience and confidence.