Community Forest a Conflict of Interest

Bhutan the last Shangri-La on earth is not only guarded by two gigantic nation India and China but also enclosed by rigid natural elements like mountains and dormant trees all around. The people of the land is enthralled with the evergreen beauty of nation and have been the livelong pest enjoying all the luxuries of environment. The country has more than 5603 species of angiosperm according to flora of Bhutan. Moreover, with the discovery of recent bird species like Clamator jacorbinus, Pelargopsis capensis, Anthene noctua, Prunella fulvescens and Heterophasia punchella has richen the bird species to 699 (UNICE, 2015). The country has 72.5% of land under forest cover and its constitution has made it clear that 60% of land should be under forest cover for all times to come. And, it is by this reason that the country is known to outside world as the tenth biological hotspot of the world.
To fulfill the mandates and vision of the country, the leaders of country has implemented many policies to keep its evergreen beauty. The government has recognized critical watershed area and programs of watershed management are carried out with the help of water shed management division. The protection of wildlife like poaching and control of stand diseases are carried out with the help of forest protection and utilization division and wildlife conservation division. The forests are sustainably managed with different scientific measures by forest resource management division through identifying and operating management plans in different FMUs. Likewise social forestry extension division and National Recreation and ecotourism division are in their full function to achieve their targets.
For the better management of county’s rich biodiversity and too improve socio-economic outlook of people, many scientific methods are carried out of which one is the establishment and operation of community forest. Community forest according my comprehension is the scientific measure operated in and involvement of community to sustainably mange the forest by shouldering equal responsibility by people. The operation thus shall reap the socio-economic benefit to the people through utilization of forest produce like timber, firewood and Non wood Forest Products.  Therefore, it is mandatory for all community to inspect and mange the forest which otherwise is tiresome job for forester.
Though the concept of community forest has originated way back in 1980s in Bhutan but came to wide acceptance and function only in 2003 with the formulation of planning, establishment and utilization of community forest guidelines (Biodiversity action Plan, 2009). Until 2001 there was only one community forest established at Dozam gewog in Monger Drametse (Biodiversity action plan, 2009). But, now the concept has benefited almost all the twenty dzongkhag of the country. It has made people easily accessible to enjoy the forest produce according to the guidelines developed. The management plan which is aimed for 10 years has great opportunity for people to utilize and sell their forest produce to earn profit. The fact is it has benefited many people in eastern region like Trashigang and Monger through its better management. However, the social service has also became conflict of interest in some parts of country.
Jazhikha community forest in Shengana gewog covers 100.02 acre and is located near the settlement. The people of gewog depend on the forest for many purposes like extraction of firewood, poles and other forest produce. The management plan was started in 2012 and has benefited much to the locality. To make better money the members of CF has decided though not intentional to sell 10 truckloads of non productive woods by middle man to Pasakha wood factory. To make the situation worse the operator has harvested unmarked trees which have now become conflict of interest among the members. The misunderstanding has thus made us to move to Shenga to resolve the problem of the community.

For a trainee like me, it is one of the important meetings as I accompany with DFO, GEFO and extension officer of other gewogs. The meeting though long has educated and made good experience to be extra careful and committed in my future profession. We are welcomed to the meeting at 10: 45am and lasted till 2:45pm in the evening. The discussion was long enough to bring good resolution at the end.

DFO and GFEO on the way to Shengana

Meeting with CF members

People making raising their points

Sr. Foresters on the way to home

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