Nepal: If you are only allowed to cut dead trees, then well… why not help ’em along?

Removing barks has become the most commonly practiced method among landless squatters and timber smugglers to kill forest trees in Ranibas and adjoining areas in the district. Most big Sal trees along the 30-kilometre long forest stretch, which extends from Ranibas to Tandi, are now stripped of barks around their stems. According to forest technicians, if the barks are totally removed around the stem the nutrients cannot go to the roots and the trees ultimately die. The tree dies within a month as its roots dry up.

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District Forest Officer Yadav Dhital said that hundreds of Sal trees
were skinned off in the area, admitting District Forest Office (DFO)
has failed to control the ever-increasing deforestation in the area.

Sources said that timber smugglers remove the barks from trees with
the connivance of locals. “People know clearly who are behind these
acts, but they remain tight-lipped,” Dhital said. Former chairman of
Ranibas VDC, Ramhari Pokharel, said that villagers cannot control the
ongoing deforestation by themselves.

He said that some locals have encroached the forest by claiming to be landless squatters and the smugglers are increasing their activities due to the DFO’s apathy. “CPN (Maoist) promised us to provide land ownership certificates. I’m  sure we will get them soon,” said a person who has recently erected a shanty encroaching the forest area.

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