8. Forests

The forests of Suri are in visibly better condition now than some 20 years ago. This chapter describes the control over forests that was practised in the past by certain households, the system of community forestry that has been introduced, and the differences that this has made – both to the forest and to the people using them.

The rhyming couplet “Hariyo ban, Nepalko dhan” – literally, “green forest, Nepal’s wealth” has long been a popular slogan amongst people working in forestry in Nepal. Unlike some slogans, it contains much truth – healthy (green) forests are very much a part of people’s livelihoods in rural Nepal. It is the forests that are the source of much of the fuel by which people cook and warm themselves on cold winter days, of the material used for house construction, and of the fodder eaten by livestock….. Perhaps most importantly of all, in the absence of chemical fertilizer, it is also forests that serve to boost agricultural productivity