Response of environmental variables and carbon enhancement in community forests, Nepal
Hari Prasad Pandey, Ganesh Paudel, Shila Pokhrel, Narayan Pokhrel
Forests are mainly govern by physio-climatic characteristics globally. Nepal possesses a diverse physio-climatic conditions primarily in Middle-hills physiographic zone due to diverse micro-climatic and topographic variation. The site-specific interrelationship between biomass (thereby carbon) with environmental variables are crucial for better understanding on objective-based forest management, which is insufficient for the country. Therefore, the study analyzed the relationships between biomass density, soil organic carbon (SOC) and total carbon density with environmental variables (type of community forests (CFs), elevation, slope, aspect, presence of wildlife, regeneration status (seedling and saplings count), and species richness) in two Middle-hills community forests of Western Nepal. Generalized linear model with log-linked function was used to analyze data Result showed CFs, elevation, slope, aspect and indication of wildlife has significant effect on carbon density of forests. Carbon density found decreased with increased elevation, stepper the slope, lesser the carbon density and north facing landscape harbor the highest carbon density. However, woody species richness and regeneration status has no significant impact on carbon density. Similarly, SOC has impacted significantly by forest type, elevation and aspect but not by species richness, regeneration, and slope and wildlife presence for the study area. In addition, forests have been enhancing biomass stock at least 40% of annual growth of forest despite users harvest annual allowable cut as prescribed by their operational plan. Study concludes that carbon enhancement in community-managed forests are significant without jeopardizing the conventional material use and biodiversity. Also, environmental factors impacted differentially for biomass and carbon conservation, therefore, a due consideration is needed at management level for objectified forest management.