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Climate change effects on community forests: Finding through sser’s lens and local knowledge
journal contributionposted on 12.09.2018, 00:00 by M Alamgir, J Pretzsch, Stephen TurtonStephen Turton
About 35 % of the population of Nepal (1.45 M households) has been engaged in community forestry, depending on the activity for their livelihoods and community development. Climate change is threatening community forestry, for which impacts are likely to be greater than many other sectors, but little scientific information is available. Hence, local knowledge—as drawn on in this paper—is expected to beneficial for conservation planning and climate change adaptation strategies. The analysis is based on a focus group discussion and a survey of 31 members of Thotne Khola Community Forest User Group in Kaski, Nepal. Locally identified climate change effects on community forests and related causes include: coppiced Schima wallichii and Castanopsis indica is dying due to higher summer temperatures, increased pest infestations due to higher summer temperatures and delayed rainfall; more wilted trees due to higher summer temperatures; and more droughts and extended summers. A highly effected tree is Myrica esculenta, the fruit of which are ripening 10–15 days earlier due to higher temperatures in early winter, and have become less palatable and have accumulated more water due to more rainfall in early Chaitra (mid-March to mid-April). Climate change effects identified using local knowledge are aligned with related scientific observations available in published literature. It is concluded that drawing on local knowledge should be accepted as a legitimate approach for climate change adaptation strategies and forestry-related policy in the developing world, where science-based information availability is often lacking. © 2014, Steve Harrison, John Herbohn.