The Tashi Yangyel Community Forest Management Group of Genekha gewog in Thimphu fined one of its members Nu 40,000 on May 16 for violating the by-laws of the Community Forests Management Plan (CFMP).
The defaulter, Rinchen Khandu from Wangbama village, had signed an agreement with the community forest management group that he will extract only the dead, diseased, dying and wind-fallen trees from the community forest area with valid marked impressions.
However, he felled three trees illegally amounting to about 263.29 cubic feet (cft). He had cut down bluepine trees measuring seven feet and three feet each and a spruce tree measuring three feet and nine inches in girth.
The trees Rinchen Khandu felled were not marked, said Namgay, one of the community forest management group members of Wangbama.
The defaulter was asked to sell the extracted timber and compensate the community with Nu 300,000.
He paid the money in two installments in January and May this year. The defaulter was not allowed to sell the extracted timber out of Thimphu. His contract to extract timber from the community forest will expire on May 30th this year after which it will not be renewed.
CFMP states: “Felling of timber without following the rules shall be treated as an offense and shall be liable for penalties,” as per existing Forests and Nature Conservation Rules, 2006.
One of the members of the group said it was decided that the timber extraction work will be given to its members only to benefit them.
The forest extension agent in the gewog said the decision was made to improve the health of the forest and benefit the group at the same time. He said some trees can be extracted and sold to benefit the community than to let them rot in the forest.
He added that proper extraction of timber will help increase the community forest (CF) fund, reduce poverty among the group members and improve the forest.
The 116.45-acre Tashi Yangyel Community Forest was initiated and approved by the Department of Forests and Park Services 2009. It benefits 47 household of Wangbama village.
The establishment of community forest aims at harvesting and utilizing the forest resources on sustainable basis.