Nepal, 1981 - Women carrying heavy loads of fuelwood for cooking. They have walked for several hours in search of branches and twigs from denuded forests in the Himalayan foothills.
One of the world's most dramatic erosion and deforestation situations is in Nepal where forests, up to heights of 2OOOm., have totally disappeared. For many years, rice cultivation has been practiced on irrigated terraces
on steep terrain -- some over 40 degrees -- to an elevation of 1 500m. But now the soil-holding trees in these regions are disappearing quickly for fuelwood and animal fodder resulting in huge landslides in the Himalayan
foothills during monsoons with the inevitable loss of lives, homes and crops. The Nepalese government and UNDP/FAO are carrying out two urgent projects aimed at fighting the problem. One is to integrate watershed management and to control torrents, the other is to bring the population together in community forestry development. The UN involvement reinforces the Forest Ministry's activities which include the education and participation of local communities (panchayats) in planting and protecting their own forests, providing them with seedlings, planting quickly-maturing fodder and fuel trees, and the building of erosion-control structures.