A Birthday Forest in Nepal

The local community is paid by the birthday forest group to look after the forest.

INDONESIA

Jumat, 31 Okt 2014 17:13 WIB

Author

Sunil Neupane

A Birthday Forest in Nepal

Nepal, forest, birthday, environment, Sunil Neupane

How you celebrate your birthday? By organizing a party and cutting a cake?

In Nepal – some people are planting a tree instead.

Sunita Poudel makes tea at home in her village 11 kilometers outside the capital Kathmandu.

“Forests are everything for us. We are dependent on wood and grass. Some of my neighbors cook with small sticks from the forest they are very poor and can’t afford gas stoves. I have some cows and goats, so I also need grass from the forest every day.” 

But due to mismanagement the forest around their village in Lubhu is in a poor condition.

Shreeram Poudel is a local farmer and part of the community forest user group.

“The area of forest was like a head without hair. There were very few trees that could be easily counted.”

Anuj Mahat’s day job is running his own banking training company in Kathmandu—but his passion is saving the countries forests.

With help of four friends he came up with the idea of a Birthday forest--- where people give a gift of a tree.

“We make a separate url in your name. Even though you are in Nepal or even you are though in Indonesia or any country, you can see your planted trees form the online way. Every year we give the status update of that plant that how it is growing. So it makes you the attachment that you are growing or you are celebrating your birthday with the growth of that plant. And we take care with the guarantee of three years. Till the date of three years if your plant dies, we give the guarantee of three years that is replantation.”

To date they have planted more than one thousand trees—mostly: Camphor, Alder and Bottle Brush along with some native trees.

Ajaya Budhathoki celebrated the anniversary of their college by buying 15 trees.

“I came to know about Birthday Forest from Facebook. I found the page of Birthday forest so interesting and convincing. So we collected money from each student and contacted with the Birthday Forest through Facebook. We felt so lucky and felt proud as well because we are also taking part in the protection of environment.”

Each tree costs around 25 USD.

The birthday forest group works closely with the local community in four rural areas close to Kathmandu.

The local community is paid by the birthday forest group to look after the forest.

Farmer Shreeram Poudel says it has been great for his community.

“They came to us and wanted to plant some trees in our community forest. We loved the idea. It really should be the responsibilities of government to protect forest and to promote the plantation campaign. I think government should support these young people who have come up with this idea.”

The Nepalese government says they are putting more money into rehabilitating forests.

Yagyanath Dahal is the deputy spokesperson at the Ministry of forests. 

“The Government has started a campaign that is decade of forest from this year. So, we are promoting plantation and allocating more budget towards looking after forests. In this decade we will plant more trees with the support from local people, Ngos or voluntary group and can increase the area covered by forests and maintain our environment.” 

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