In Gasa, community forests mean business

The sum of Nu 21, 240 may not sound big these days. But for the members of Genrab Cithuen Community Forest (CF) in Khame gewog, Gasa dzongkhag, it is a fortune, after they earned the amount from the sale of non-wood forest products, the highest generated from any community forest group.

The CF with an area of 54.89 hectares was established in 2009 as efforts of the park to decentralize the management of natural resources in the non-restrictive zone to the local residents. Effective management and participatory protection of natural resources to generate income; that was the plan and it is a huge success now.

“Management of only timber resources within the CF should not be the focus of the CF management in the country,” Karma Dukpa, the Director General of the Department of Forests and Park Services said.

“We expect to see the products at markets in Thimphu and we will be proud to buy them,” he said.

The CF members already diversifying their product range to include cane, bamboo and green tea. “Timber has longer gestation period hence, we are concentrating on non-wood products,” said Sangay Dorji, Forestry Officer of Gasa.

The CF is being managed by 22 households comprising of nine men and 13 women.

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