30 Jan 2012
Medicinal plants help reduce human-wildlife conflict
The community forest that lies in the Khata corridor, a biological corridor connecting the Bardiya National Park and Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary in India is the most visited community-managed forest in the district because of its rich bio-diversity.
The UNDP Western Terai Landscape Complex Project (WTLCP) has been promoting Mentha and Camomilecultivation near the protected and buffer-zone areas for the last five years. These aromatic plants are high value cash crops that grow very well in this region. This is also the best non-lethal way to keep unruly rhinos away from farms and avoid crop destruction and the resultant human-wildlife conflict. As rhinos hate the smell of these plants, it is more than enough to keep the animals from entering human settlements and farmlands.
WTLCP explored the potential market and helped the farmers of the Shiv Community Forest to grow the plants. WTLCP supported to provide quality seeds, technical knowledge, herb processing plants and marketing of the products. A total of 995 farmers cultivated these medicinal and aromatic plants in over 100 hectares of land and extracted nearly 2800 kgs of essential oil in the year 2011. The farmers sold the essential oil extracted out of Menthaand Camomilefor Rs. 1,200 per kg and Rs 23,000 per kg respectively.
Also, Nepal’s initiative of Menthaand Camomilecultivation to improve livelihood and to reduce human and wildlife conflict was nominated as one of the top 12 community based conservation projects in BBC World Challenge-2011 contest. Nepal, which has around 29 percent forest area, including wildlife parks, reserves and community forests, has been facing difficulties in handling the human-wildlife conflict. Every year, wildlife that venture out of forests cause havoc across the country damaging property and killing people.