Baghmara Community Forest; Chitwan National Park
NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
29 Mar 2001
- Baghmara Community Forest
- 27.58667 84.475
Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo
Log of DAT #: 11
Date: April 23, 2001
ng = not good
ok = okay
g = good
vg = very good
A lot of People Speaking
MS we're at the Bakmara Community Forest site.
Going off to catch up with some people. A lot of banging.
Interview of Young Man (YM)¿ naturalist and bird watcher.
2:15 My name is Ramesh Chaudhary
2:28 YM: It¿s a buffer zone¿
2:42 YM: To see birds and crocodiles and some other animals that come here to drink water¿mostly rhinos, crocodiles, well actually, yeah, and to feed.
4:17 JN: You grew up here?
4:24 YM: Taro is the Indian peoples here. Been here 6-700 years.
4:47 YM: So that¿s one of the reasons that Taro people could live here before eradication of malarial diseases.
5:12 JN: What is nature of community effort Has been owned by government but has been handed over to community, so community can decided - but there are limitations.
5:38 YM:Yeah, but there is a limitation, so if you want to go beyond that limitation than you have to take permission from the government.
6:00 JN: What is the community forestry thing about?
6:41 YM: Main objective of having the community forest is to take pressure off the park ¿ and that¿s true I have noticed, I¿ve spent all my life here and I grew up here. So I can see the difference, before the whole pressure used to go into the park but now most people are engaged you know harvesting the forest products from the community forest, for example, you can see the three women are collecting the grass to feed their cattle. So if there is no grass here than they would have to go into the park.
JN: What are some of the other things that they used to do in the park that they do here now?
--YM: To collect other fresh products firewood, plants that you eat, like vegetables.
7:38 JN: How does system work with park revenues?
7:39 YM: Well, there is buffer zone council, so the revenue that govt. gives to the local people goes to that buffer zone council and equally distributed to all ____ who live in the buffer zone.
7:58 YM: No it¿s not 50%. It¿s 30%-50%¿
8:11 YM: It directly goes to the different account.
8:20 YM: And now people can see the utilization of the revenues, bc people don¿t get cash in their hands but money is spent on the building of schools, the bridges and to pave the roads¿and they get compensation for human injury or casualty. They also get compensation when animals come and damage their property. Another way to help the people, to maximize their interest in conservation
JN: Whom do you take out to bird watch?
9:15 YM: I work as a naturalist, so not all the people are into the birds, but those who are really keen and are really asking them what they want to see. Because I know the birds and I know the habitat where they live so first of all I ask them their interest and the bird they want to see and they come from everywhere, they¿re mostly from Europe, like England. And the Sweden and Norway and Germany and Holland and a few people from Asia.
You have your own NGO?
10:00 YM: It¿s called Bird Education Society dedicated to conservation of birds in their habitat and to the public awareness.
10:17 YM: Every Saturday we organize a bird watching trip free of cost and anyone who is interested in birds they may participate with us and go out to see birds but before taking them out we give them a brief introduction to the birds and the way they can identify the birds and give binoculars free of cost and then we take them into the field and we identify the birds in the field and then¿
JN asks who he takes out.
--YM: Local people also foreigners.
10:58 YM: And quite often especially on a Friday we go to the school and do the slide presentation. We have targeted mostly the children and they are the one who last longer.
JN: What are you teaching them?
11:44 PB: How have people¿s feelings changed about the park as opposed to before?
11:49 YM: People¿s feelings have changed a lot, before people had a different attitude I still remember when people used to hunt a lot and go into the park to collect their firewood and they had a lot of complaints like the animals come here to damage their property and things like that. They had no benefit from the park at all except annual grass harvesting. Now they can see themselves and tourism has given a good chance of employment a lot of people are engaged in tourism activities, so they don¿t have time to go into the park to collect and damage things and also now they have realized that the forest and animals are so important they are benefiting from them directly or indirectly.
12:55 PB: Has the standard of living actually improved now?
YM: Yeah, not only those people who live by the park but also a bit away from the park because the price of land has increased and because they can sell their agricultural products¿
13:20 JN: And they have a vested interest¿and they would be less inclined to help out a poacher¿
13:42 YM: Yeah, that¿s right people see the money they want to do something¿
13:51 PB: Is there an appreciation for the animals? (like how there was traditionally)
14:18 YM: Yeah, I think so but it¿s still the taro people¿(can¿t understand what he says)
People coming (tourists) Heading for boats
15:40 plane overhead?
18:49 AMBI: Sound of chains in boats (vg) speaking in back. Distant footsteps. 22:00 Water. Tourists come 24:41¿¿Are we all going to get in one boat?¿ talking in back 26:32 Yelling for someone. More speaking in Nepalese and Brit. English 27:21 ¿Don¿t get down, Dave get up¿ ¿Cheers, mate¿¿Laughing ¿you might need to carry the canoe with us in it, man!¿ Hahaha¿28:00¿take off¿
Interview of Older Man (official) w/ interpreter (INT)
32:20 INT: He says his name is Vishnu Prasad _____. He¿s the chairperson of the community forestry.
32:40 JN: Describe how the plot works?
35:45 INT: In the beginning there was just the Chitwan forest and then the forest was being degraded because of the population just increasing. And uh, the national park and the people not being able to use the national park resources they were just like using however and just degrading all the resources here so he says in the Nepali year 2042 which is in about 15 years ago that uh they went along to the ____ and asked them to support them for some forest management, resource management so that they could utilize the forest resources themselves so the King ____ with the support of the WWF they helped to protect the forest with fencing they helped them to train for forest management. They started with 32 hectares right in the beginning, they fenced the area to protect from free grazing of livestock and they planted tress like ___ and ___ which are local names of trees here¿and later on they were able to fence more areas, protect more areas and um they¿re own uses the people of the area, they have to raise a lot of awareness bc they had not done this sort of thing. And he gives sort of an example, it was like an expectant mother who went through a lot of difficulties to deliver her child, but once the child was delivered, she was really able to appreciate her child. So that was how the community forestry was sort of created we had a lot of difficulty with ignorance, people not being motivated but now that they have set it up the protected area, the forest which was degraded and could have become like barren areas, the wildlife has come back and people are really motivated for conservation.
38:11 JN: You saw tigers?
38:16 INT: There are 400 hectares of community forest now the rest of it is forest that has been naturally regenerated.
38:35 INT: There are 10-12 rhinos in the community forest
38:50 INT: they also have ___ spotted deer and samba and all the different types of birds are now in the comm. Forest.
39:27 INT: One or two tigers are reg. seen here and the tigers don¿t always stay in same place but they are reg. seen here and they day before two leopards came here and people sited them coming and drinking from stream and leaving.
40:54 INT: The tiger¿s prey species are the deer and the sambar which are now found in the comm. Forest there and that side is also a comm. Forest so the tigers can be seen here. Also the tourists are coming, so that is benefiting.
JN: Where do tourists come from?
--INT: Holland, America, England, Russia, Japan
43:19 INT: The tourists come and they stay in hotel and lodges¿and they have got support for bio-gas for alternative energy the fuel from the dung of livestock and even human feces. They also have got support for women to start employment, so like women for tailoring sewing that is all through the community forestry program.
JN: Has he lived here all his life?
44:36 INT: Lived here 45 years, he¿s from the hills.
44:57 INT: He says he¿s from among the first people from the hills to come here, before that there were no people staying here.
45:17 JN: What was the attitude about the park. Originally park secluded¿was there hostility? How does he feel about it?
47:26 INT: In 1973 when the National park was established the local people were suddenly stopped from going inside to utilize the forest resources, before that they could go in they would get their fuel and fodder from there after that they stopped. So the area that they had access to before they had to go in as illegally¿and then they would be caught and locked up and fined and so they were harassed by all this and of course they resented it and once the community forestry began they were able to get their own resources from there from there own forest so now they don¿t need to go to the National Park at all so he says that the community forestry is actually supporting the National Park system and they don¿t need to go to the park at all.
JN asks about Terai Arch program Ho w does he feel about that?
50:02 INT: He says he has heard about it and the conservation of the forests in the areas close to the National Parks is a good thing because protection of forests can only ___ through community forests and through the communities. The National forest otherwise ¿are being degraded are not being managed properly so when the communities are able to manage their own forest, they are able to really conserve them well and also conserve the wildlife species there and the wildlife species are a creation of god and they have a right to live¿
50:52 JN: But the wildlife species occasionally trample your property¿how do you convince someone that they want more of that?
51:38 INT: He says that if the forests are in very good condition, the wildlife will be able to get their requirements inside. People who are living near forest areas will always have a little problem with the wildlife, bc the wildlife will come out take some of their harvest that is always the case, but it will not be too big bc if forest is in good condition they will stay inside. His majesty¿s govt. was not able to give compensation for loss of property so that would have been a good thing if his majesty was able to give compensation for any loss due to wildlife.
52:50 JN: Can he point to the place where he last saw a tiger and what was it doing?
53:21 INT: He says he saw a tiger there and the tiger sometimes he can see reg. in a few days but then sometimes he doesn¿t see for months.
JN: What does he think of the tiger?
54:53 INT: He says he was also a hunter and they all wanted to cut down the trees and the forests and now the people are really understanding¿to help National Park system.
55:38 INT: there are seven parks inside the national park that should be removed and that will help for the management of national park and there are cases of poaching and that should be controlled.
JN: Are hotels locally operated?
56:44 INT: They are of local people and outsiders¿but if govt. wants to manage the park properly and acc to obj of nat. conservation those hotels should not be there?
58:55 INT: The National Park is something Nepalese should be proud of, is their heritage.
PB: Does he believe he¿s setting an example that the rest of the world should follow?
59:47 INT: We are not educated people we are illiterate people so we don¿t know if it¿s a good example but if it is a good example we would like people to learn from it.
Ambi of place birds and people talking in background
Music in back, chopping sounds.
1:15:20 Motorbike passing.
1:17:00 another passing vehicle
1:17:18 passing bike
1:18:24 Heading back up¿ lots of Bird FX Bell FX, bike FX, children