Nepal covers an area of 147,181 square kilometres, covering various physiographic and altitudinal levels including the Terai plains and the Himalayan Mountains. Nepal has a population of 23.15 million with an annual 2.24% annual growth rate, and it is estimated that 86% of the population lives in rural areas (FAO, n.d). Nepal is the poorest country in South Asia in terms of key human development and economic indicators (Upreti, KC, Mallett, & Babajanian, 2012), and according to the Asian Development Bank (2012) 25% of the population live below the national poverty line.
Forest and shrub land covers about 5.83 million hectares, equivalent to 39.6% of the total land area in Nepal. Deforestation rates are estimated at 1.7% per annum based on forest assessment studies conducted in 1978/79 to 1994. Total stem volume in Nepal is 388 million cubic meters, making the mean stem volume at 178 cubic metre/hectare (FAO, n.d). Carbon stock in living biomass has decreased from 602 million tonnes in 1990 and 405 million tonnes by 2010 (FAO, 2011). There are 133 million tonnes of carbon per hectare and the annual change rate halved from -8,000 between 1990 – 2000 to -4,000 between 2000 – 2010 (FAO, 2011).
The agricultural and forestry sector contributes significantly to the national economy in Nepal. Compared to other Asian countries, the forestry sector contributes around 1% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and in Nepal it is estimated that the forestry sector contributes up to 3.5% of the national GDP in the year 2000 (FAO, n.d). On the other hand, according to the National Planning Commission (2002) the agriculture and forestry sectors accounted for 39.3% of the GDP of the country, (of which forestry contributed to 15%) (MOFSC, 2010).
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK. 2012. Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific. FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANISATION. 2011. The State of the World’s Forests.
FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL ORGANISATION. No Date. Asia Forestry Outlook 2020: Country Report Nepal.
MINISTRY OF FORESTS AND SOIL CONSERVATION. 2010. Nepal’s REDD Readiness Proposal 2010 – 2013. Government of Nepal.
UPRETI, B R. ET AL. 2012. Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in Nepal. Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium.