Linking eco villages and community water management in Langtang Region
Nepal is lacking financial resources for wildlife conservation and addressing the needs of marginal communities residing in the edges of forests. As a result, wildlife depredates crops and decimate livestock. In return, the highland communities often hunt wild to safeguard their valuable assets. The proposed initiative ensures the co-existence of humans and wildlife by reducing the human-wildlife conflict. Under the broad vision of wildlife conservation through community participation, the IKI Small Grants project aims to construct water holes for wildlife and livestock, construct predator-proof enclosures, plant wildlife-deterrent, high-value crops along forest edges, and promote ecotourism in the village.
Gatlang, Goljung and Chilime villages of Aama Chhodingmo Rural Municipality, Rasuwa district, Bagmati Province in Nepal build the project area. Less than 300 tourists visit the area each year, which is home to an estimated 1,200 households. Most of the residents belong to the Tamang ethnic community, who have little financial capital and are highly dependent on the forest.
The region is strongly affected by climate change: the main impacts are shorter and irregular snowfalls, which lead to rapid runoff of water without sufficient groundwater recharge. As a result, water becomes scarce at higher elevations and ground vegetation dries out quickly. Herbivores seek out nearby settlements in search of water and food and raid the crops. Carnivores like wild dogs, snow leopards, wolves, or clouded leopards also seek out the settlements and feed the wildlife, causing an economic loss for residents.
The IKI Small Grants project targets the almost 1,200 households (direct and indirect beneficiaries) of Gatlang, Goljung, and Chilime villages. Their livelihoods largely depend on livestock, agriculture, general labour services, and hotel business.
APPROACH AND ACTIVITIES
The project aims to decrease conflicts between humans and wildlife, benefit local communities, and conserve wildlife and biodiversity with people’s participation in the alpine pasturelands of the Langtang region.
For this, the Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF) makes a field survey and a Geographic Information System-based mapping to find locations to construct waterholes and a snow pyramid. Under the supervision of wildlife experts, geologists, engineers, local communities, and park officials, six waterholes are constructed. The project ensures the participation of local communities so that they benefit with additional cash income from the work. The snow pyramid is an innovative technology used for irrigation in the dry season. As this is not common in Nepal, the organisation implements only one snow pyramid on a trial basis.
In addition, RHF builds ten predator-proof corrals in areas where human-wildlife conflicts are common. To find out in which villages such corrals should be constructed, the organisation maps wildlife-related loss in villages and conducts household surveys to estimate the income and loss.
The IKI Small Grants project further includes the selection of medicinal wildlife deterrent plants which are then grown in areas where human-wildlife conflicts occur. The medicinal plants are grown on the edges of settlements and 40 local communities are trained in cultivating and raising these medicinal plants.
To enhance the adaptive capacity of the communities, the project promotes ecotourism in the village. For this, RHF maps and collects stories about tourist attractions and features around the village. At least eight women and youth participate in trainings on the tourism business and hospitality industry to create a sustainable circular economy. Small and medium entrepreneurs and local government officials are involved to create stronger online profiles of their localities.
IKI Small Grants supports RHF in their organisational capacity development through trainings in R-software and MaxEnt modelling.
ABOUT THE ORGANISATION
The Resources Himalaya Foundation (RHF) was established as a research think tank on natural resource conservation. The NGO has over 35 years of experience in innovative research and capacity building in biodiversity, environment and livelihood in Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim through nearly 250 research projects. Its mission is to conserve biodiversity in the Himalayas, promote sustainable use of natural resources including soil, water, forest, range land, and improve livelihoods, particularly of the poor, disadvantaged, and marginal sections of society.