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Nepal plans satellite imaging of forests for creating inventory of endemic vegetation

Kathmandu, Nepal, November 2006 – The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), Government of Nepal, is currently working on a proposal concerning satellite imaging of the country’s forests, which will eventually culminate in the latest inventory of the endemic vegetation.

The move follows keen interest demonstrated by Finland in this connection. Finland was the country, which had financed the first ever inventory of vegetation in 1993. The Nordic nation had also helped in drawing up Forestry Master Plan around the same time.

“We are now writing a proposal outlining our needs and priorities. Once the proposal is ready within a fortnight, we could forward it to the Finnish side. That will in fact be taken up by the Ministry of Finance (MoF),” said Jamuna Krishna Tamrakar, a senior official at the MoFSC.

Tamrakar pointed out that drawing up the latest inventory was high on agenda and that the same was not taken up earlier on just because the priorities were shifting at a time when the nation was wracked by political instability and insurgency. Protracted insurgency made the task of making field visits very difficult.

“The Finnish side has helped us a lot in assessing the forest resources. It was the Finns who helped us draw up the first inventory,” Tamrakar said, adding that it was the Finns who first found out for us that the forest cover was 39.6 per cent. “That has shaped our efforts ever since.”

Finnish Charge de Affaires Kari Karanko shed light on the need to have yet another inventory of the forests. “How can any nation expect to plan in a desired manner until and unless the planners have latest data. And satellite imaging is the best option,” Karanko said, adding that Finland would be assisting Nepal in this connection if there is a proposal.

He also said that the importance of the fresh data lies in the fact that “one knows what shape the forests are in and what should the state do.”