In the outermost hills of the Himalayas in Nepal, WWF recently concluded a project that worked closely with local communities to reduce land degradation, forest loss, and climate change vulnerability. Empowered by the Global Environment Facility—a partnership that brings together more than 183 countries, international institutions, civil society organizations, and the private sector to address global environmental issues—WWF worked directly with the government of Nepal to design and implement the project.
The Churia range is a fragile ecosystem critical to recharging ground water, supporting agricultural production, reducing erosion, and stabilizing steep slopes during the monsoon season. These services are the life support system for local and downstream communities, and a pillar for environmental and economic well-being. There are, however, persistent pressures on forests and natural resources in the Churia stemming from unsustainable land use practices, leading to forest loss and land degradation.
The project helped local communities preserve forests in critical areas through community forestry and management plans; improve agricultural practices through irrigation and mixed cropping; and better manage livestock to reduce overgrazing. WWF also worked with four government ministries to improve land use planning and policies, and facilitate collaboration between community members and government staff on land management. The land use policies identified sensitive forest areas key for restoration and conservation. The project contributed to reducing land degradation in the Churia, helping communities, forests, and wildlife to thrive in this region of Nepal.