Gift of the Himalayas - high value plants and NTFPs
In Nepal, the Sacred Himalayan Landscape harbors numbers important flora such as oaks (Castanopsis and Quercus), Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) and Himalayan Larch (Larix griffithiana), and globally threatened fauna such as snow leopard (Uncia uncia), red panda (Ailurus fulgens) and musk deer (Moschus chrysogaster) and highly important non-timber forest products (NTFPs) and medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs).
Broadly, NTFP may be classified as edible and non-edible plant and animal products.
The former include edible plants and animals, honey, oils, fish, spices and so on.
Non-edible products include grasses, bamboo, ornamental plants, insect products, oils for cosmetic use, and medicinal products among others.
From the economic viewpoint, NTFP are equally important as wood-based products.
About 150 types of NTFP are significant in international trade. They are also increasingly being acknowledged for their role in sustainable development and conservation of biological diversity.
Up to 80% of the population in developing countries depend on NTFP for subsistence, both economically and for nutrition. It is an important asset especially for people living in Nepal's Sacred Himalayan Landscape contributing significantly in their livelihood. In recent year, the use of many NTFP has gone from subsistence collection to large-scale commercial extraction resulting into over-harvesting and degradation of diversity, quality and availability of many valuable species.
Therefore, there is the need to address the sustainable harvesting issues of NTFPs/MAPs in mountains of Nepal for future generation.
Though conservation agencies are addressing the issue of sustainable production of NTFP, there are a number of challenges to be met, some of which include the disappearing forest cover, inequitable market access of marginalized populations and the monopoly of high - value NTFP by logging and poaching mafia.
This report is a WWF Nepal's initiative to conserve these high value NTFPs of mountains by providing concise information of prioritized species in mountain program areas of the Sacred Himalayan Landscape.