The Carbon Sequestration Potential of Community-based Forest Management in Nepal

By Thakur Bhattarai, Margaret Skutsch, David J. Midmore and Eak Bahadur Rana.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A climate policy initiative called ‘Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and enhancement of forest carbon stock in developing countries (REDD+) is under consideration by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This policy is aimed at national level reduction of forest emissions in developing countries, as measured against an agreed upon national reference emission level. Net emission reductions would be credited and sold to an international fund or carbon market. It was conceived originally as a mechanism to encourage countries with high rates of deforestation, such as Brazil and Indonesia, to curb large scale deforestation due to agricultural expansion and timber extraction. But its potential has also been seen in terms of rewarding indigenous people and local communities for improved management of their forests such that biomass levels remain stable or increase. Since REDD+ is performance-based, the incentive for carbon services provided by such communities will be directly dependent on the annual carbon increment. This paper examines the carbon sequestration potential of community-based forest management in four community forests in Nepal. The four community forests (CFs) selected are from different watersheds in three physiographic regions. Forest carbon pools were measured in two successive years using the standard ground based inventory techniques. The measurements indicate that these CFs (with a total area of 630 ha) had a stock of approximately 478,000 tonnes CO₂e at the end of 2009, and through the CF practices, are able to sequester an additional 4700 tCO₂e every year. Furthermore, it assesses different management practices that could affect the carbon sequestration.

Keywords: Deforestation, Forest Degradation, Biomass Pools, Carbon Sequestration, Community Forestry, Well-being

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.233-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 7.161MB).

Dr Thakur Bhattarai

PhD Scholar, Centre for Plant and Water Science, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, 4702, Queensland, Australia

Thakur P. Bhattarai is a Ph.D Scholar at Centre for Plant and Water Science, Central Queensland University, Australia. His research area is about the implication of forest carbon payments for the forest management on the well-being of forest-dependent communities in the developing countries. Prior to joining PhD, he completed MSc in NRM at Cranfield University in the UK in 2005; MA Sociology and Bachelors Degree in Forestry at Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2003 and 1999 respectively. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in community forestry, natural resource management, evaluation of environmental services and community development. He has received numerous national and international awards and published dozens of papers.

Assoc. Prof. Margaret Skutsch

Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Governance, University of Twente, Netherlands

Dr. Margaret Skutsch is an Investigadora Titular B at the Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Campus Morelia. She is also associated with the University of Twente, the Netherlands. Her current research focuses on political, social and technical aspects of international REDD+ policy and particularly on opportunities for community engagement in REDD+. Her work can be accessed on and

Prof. David J. Midmore

Director, Centre for Plant and Water Science, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

Professor David Midmore holds an appointment as Foundation Professor of Plant Sciences and Director of the Centre for Plant and Water Science at Central Queensland University in Australia. There he researches agronomy and physiology as they relate to crop resource use efficiency, land use management with emphasis on erosion, runoff and deep drainage and provisioning of ecosystems services, and innovations in irrigation amongst others. His past research has been conducted on five continents and currently he shares his time between Australia and the School of Biological Sciences, at the University of Reading in the UK where he is a Visiting Professor.

Eak Bahadur Rana

Coordinator, REDD+ Pilot Project, The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal

Mr. Eak B. Rana, a Nepali citizen, has been working in International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) since 2008. He holds MSc in sustainable resource management from Technical University of Munich, Germany. He coordinates REDD+ project in Nepal and is responsible to consolidate experiences, lessons and dissemination knowledge on REDD+ and climate change adaptation initiatives in Nepal and in Hindukush Himalayan regions. He has ranges of experiences in the field of governance on forest resource management. His key area of interests is ecological and economic valuation of ecosystem services and assessing its contribution in local livelihood improvement.


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