This paper introduces the “Protected Forest” as a new conservation approach in Nepal. Historically there were two dominant forest management approaches in Nepal: protected areas and community-based forestry. These site-based management approaches were able to contribute to protect- ing endangered wildlife species, enhancing greenery, and improving livelihoods of forest-dependent communities. However, these approaches were not suitable when applied to increasing populations of wide-ranging mobile species because, outside of protected areas, conservation activities are in their infancy. To enhance the mobility of wildlife and conserve biodiversity, the Government of Nepal de- clared particular forest patches as Protected Forests to link the existing protected areas creating their network to manage the flora and fauna, while acknowledging the reliance of local communities on the forest resources. In order to create and maintain a balance between conservation and human needs for forest resources, a zoning-based Protected Forests management plan was devised, assigning specific forest patches for specific purposes. Since local community forest user groups were enjoying full benefits from their community forests, in the initial phase of the implementation of protected forest management, local communities may have to compromise on their consumption of forest products as some sections of the area are assigned for absolute protection. In the short run, they are compensated by support provided for income-generating activities; and, in the long ran, they can enjoy more benefits through ecotourism. Hence, the protected forest approach creates a win-win situation for both wildlife and local communities.
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Vol. 34 • No. 3