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Forest of Nepal



25.4% of Nepal's land area, or about 36,360 km2 (14,039 sq mi) is covered with forest according to FAO figures from 2005. FAO estimates that around 9.6% of Nepal's forest cover consists of primary forest which is relatively intact. About 12.1% Nepal's forest is classified as protected while about 21.4% is conserved according to FAO. About 5.1% Nepal's forests are classified as production forest. Between 2000 and 2005, Nepal lost about 2,640 km2 (1,019 sq mi) of forest. Nepal's 2000–2005 total deforestation rate was about 1.4% per year meaning it lost an average of 530 km2 (205 sq mi) of forest annually. Nepal's total deforestation rate from 1990 to 2000 was 920 km2 (355 sq mi) or 2.1% per year. The 2000–2005 true deforestation rate in Nepal, defined as the loss of primary forest, is −0.4% or 70 km2 (27 sq mi) per year. Forest is not changing in the plan land of Nepal, forest fragmenting on the "Roof of the World".[20]

According to ICIMOD figures from 2010, forest is the dominant form of land cover in Nepal covering 57,538 km2 with a contribution of 39.09% to the total geographical area of the country.[21] Most of this forest cover is broadleaved closed and open forest, which covers 21,200 km2 or 14.4% of the geographical area. Needleleaved open forest is the least common of the forest areas covering 8,267 km2 (5.62%). At national level 64.8% area is covered by core forests of > 500 ha size and 23.8% forests belong to patch and edge category forests. The patch forest constituted 748 km2 at national level, out of which 494 km2 of patch forests are present in hill regions. Middle mountains, Siwaliks and Terai regions have more than 70% of the forest area under core forest category > 500 ha size. The edge forests constituted around 30% of forest area of High Mountain and Hill regions.[21] Forest Resource Assessment (FRA) which was conducted between 2010 and 2014 by the Ministry of Forest and Soil conservation with the financial and technical help of the Government of Finland shows that 40.36% of the land of Nepal is forested. 4.40% of the land has shrubs and bushes.

Deforestation is driven by multiple processes.[22] Virtually throughout the nation, over-harvest of firewood remains problematic. Despite the availability of liquefied petroleum gas in towns and cities, firewood is sold more at energy-competitive prices because cutting and selling it is a fallback when better employment opportunities aren't forthcoming. Firewood still supplies 80% of Nepal's energy for heating and cooking. Harvesting construction timber and lopping branches for fodder for cattle and other farm animals are also deforestation/degradation drivers in all geographic zones.

Illegal logging is a problem in the Siwaliks, with sawlogs smuggled into India.[23] Clearing for resettlement and agriculture expansion also causes deforestation as does urban expansion, building infrastructure such as schools, hospitals, electric transmission lines, water tanks, police and army barracks, temples and picnic areas.

In the Middle Hills road construction, reservoirs, transmission lines and extractive manufacturing such as cement factories cause deforestation. In the mountains building hotels, monasteries and trekking trails cause deforestation while timber-smuggling into the Tibet Autonomous Region and over-grazing cause degradation.

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