Sumana Serchan, MF

2012 TRI Fellow in Nepal

Distribution of Ritha (Sapindus mukorossi), a Non-Timber Forest Product in community and private forestlands in Baitadi district, western Nepal


In rural areas of Nepal, people are involved in NTFP collection to sustain their livelihood and to provide income. However, extant research on the assessment and inventory of commercial species, their distribution pattern and conservation measures are limited and the existing literature on NTFPs in Nepal is dominated by research conducted to understand socioeconomic and market perspectives. As many NTFPs in Nepal are threatened from activities such as over harvesting and unsustainable management, baseline study on existing resources along with their ecological characteristics is one of the priorities of ANSAB (Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources), the organization I worked with during my research. Besides providing technical supports and facilitating ecological research of major non-timber forest products of Nepal, ANSAB also provides financial support to rural communities to start cottage industries such as paper production facilities.

            The purpose of this research is to conduct an inventory of Lokta (Daphne spp.) in community forests in Dolakha district, Nepal, to observe the methods of harvesting Lokta and to conduct a socioeconomic analysis to calculate the value of advantage of Lokta to rural communities of Dolakha district. Two community forests in Dolakha district of Nepal where Lokta is found in abundance were chosen for the study where height and diameter measurements of Lokta were recorded along with physiological characteristics of the forests and secondary information from the District Forest Office regarding the history and working plan of the community forests were collected. Informal conversations with the harvesters along with different stakeholders involved in paper production from Lokta and local forest rangers were recorded.