Sustainable management of community forest in Dahetou village, Tengchong county, Yunnan
Local coordinator: Yunnan Institute of Environmental Science, Kunming
Over the past three years, BGCI has been implementing a conservation project in Dahetou village, Tengchong county, in west Yunnan to raise awareness among the local community and authorities of the ecological significance and economic potential of Dahetou village’s forest plant diversity in the immediate vicinity of Gaoligong Mountain National Nature Reserve. Indiscriminate exploitation of forest resources in- and outside the reserve, has caused habitat degradation and loss of native species. The natural populations of Magnolia cathcartii and M. doltsopa, two species highly sought after for construction timber, have significantly decreased in recent years. As part of the project, a provisional management plan for the village-owned forest has been drawn up to enhance sustainable natural resources management. Regular consultative meetings with representatives from local communities and authorities are assisting in the development of a shared understanding of the use of natural resources in the project area. A number of important medicinal plant species identified during the ethnobotanical survey, including Dendrobium devonianum and Paris polyphylla var. yunnanensis are being grown on a trial basis and their potential for commercialization is being investigated. In particular, local government plans for the development of an ecotourism village in Dahetou may also provide for a new market opportunity.
BGCI are aiming to extend this project by a further three years from 2015, focusing specifically on the value of home gardens to the local community. As part of a new project phase, BGCI would like to assess and enhance the value of home gardens for the provision of highly sought after native medicinal plants and vegetables, both for individual household consumption as well as for income generation. In the first 12 months of the project extension, five households will be chosen, their potential for home gardening will be evaluated and selected medicinal plants will be cultivated on a trial basis. Public outreach materials will be developed to promote the potential of home gardens for livelihood enhancement. In parallel, a series of training courses will be held to strengthen the capacity of local communities in the sustainable collection of wild plant material, and to successfully propagate and cultivate target species.