Villagers question delay in CFM

The community forest management was proposed four years ago in 2011

Resources: Four years after the community proposed the community forest management (CFM) in Goleng, Zhemgang, villagers are still waiting for the forest to be handed over to them.

Concerned with the logging activities around their water source, the villagers proposed a 60-acre forest for CFM to the dzongkhag in 2011.  “We proposed the CFM after opening of the road to Goleng, which shot up the logging activities,” Goleng tshogpa, Ugyen Penjor said.

The community has even proposed a chairman, Tashi Dorji. Tashi Dorji said the community has lost all the matured and productive timber to logging and transmission tower construction.

“Without restriction, boulder collection and logging is still carried out by the people of Tali from the proposed CFM areas,” he said.

The concern however is the loss of watershed area. Both Khamey and Khatey villages in Goleng have their water sources in Chameytang and Bumdagoth where logging activities thrived. Ugyen Penjor said there are no alternate water sources and human activities at the watershed would lead to depletion of water for the community.

Today over 62 households in Khamey and Khatey rely on water sources in Chameytang below Tali and Bumdagoth respectively both for irrigation and drinking. Goleng has over 400 acres of wetland in Wangdhar, Zenchen and Tashilambi, Kharshipong and Yungsoom.

These entire 400 acres of land rely on the water that has its source in Chameytang.

Although the logging activities stopped after the villagers complained, the community wants the CFM established. Kuenzang Thinley, a villager from Goleng said despite completing the survey and CFM management plan in 2012, the forests resources hasn’t been handed over to the community.

“If we have a CFM we can conserve the forest resources and more importantly, protect the water sources,” Kuenzang Thinley said.

Dzongkhag forestry officer (DFO), Sithar Wangdi said Goleng CFM with around six others couldn’t be handed over to the communities after the government suspended CFM nationwide in 2012 because of flawed management plan. The ban, which was lifted in 2013, was again imposed in the same year. It was again lifted only towards the end of 2014.

The dzongkhag is planning to review around six to seven CFMs in Zhemgang. Goleng CFM will however be revisited soon.

“Goleng CFM is one of the two prioritized in the annual performance agreement, which the dzongkhag has targeted to be achieved by April 2016,” Sithar Wangdi said.

Tempa Wangdi, Tingtibi

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