Krishna Karkee

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The objectives of this study were to assess the status and trend of deforestation in the Shiwalik region of the central Nepal, and to explore the most significant effects of community forestry on tree diversity and livelihood of the local community. Two sites, heavily deforested in the past and one being presently owned by the government, the other managed by the local community for about 15 years, were compared with respect to tree and tree seedlings diversity and livelihood capitals. To analyze the diversity indices Hills diversity numbers, Shannon's index and Importance value percentage were measured, whereas livelihood parameters were compared using the livelihood capitals model. The participatory approach was adopted to collect socio-economic data of the study sites. Community forestry helped increase the number of tree species as well as individuals. However, the study failed to state that the protection of forest from deforestation for a short period of time changed the diversity indices. Nevertheless, by protection the trend of an increased number of tree species coming as seedlings was obvious. Hence, the hypothesis that deforestation changes the tree diversity was proved. The study revealed that community forestry increased tree and wild animals, decreased soil erosion and checked the flooding in gullies and flow of debris. In the Government owned forest, soil erosion was rampant and had led to the decrease in agriculture productivity of the study area. The study also supported the fact that the protection of forest from deforestation by local people positively increased the majority of livelihood parameters. Thus, the hypothesis that the protection of forest from deforestation will have positive effects on livelihood of local people was accepted.'