Herb collection in rural Bajura bannedGaumul Rural Municipality in Bajura has banned the collection of herbs for three years to prevent the rapid decline of herbs at various community and national forests in the municipality.
Gaumul Rural Municipality in Bajura has banned the collection of herbs for three years to prevent the rapid decline of herbs at various community and national forests in the municipality.
The second assembly of the rural municipality banned collection of all species of herbs except mushroom, citing that haphazard and illegal collection depleted herbs to the point of herb seeds being scarce. Chairman of the rural municipality Hari bahadur Rokaya said, “We felt the need to disallow the wild spree of herb collection as seeds of valuable herbs are being harder to find, raising the specter of herb extinction in the near future.”
Rokaya added that over 20 valuable herbs like Chiraito, Satuwa, and Katuki are available in forests of the rural municipanity.
Junior Forest Officer at the District Forest Office (DFO) Man Kumar Chantyal said, “The appropriate measure is proper management rather than prohibition in collection of herbs.” Herbs are an important source of economic prosperity for locals in Bajura. According to the DFO, about Rs1.2 million is collected annually from herb collection.
Other forests in the district have also witnessed rampant collection of herbs due to lack of management and oversight. Bicchya, located in a remote part of the district adjoining Humla, is considered a storehouse of herbs. Locals said that large quantities of herbs, including a valuable herb Jatamasi, are collected at Bicchya.
Large amounts of herbs were available previously in Bicchya, Dahakot, Manakot, Badimalika and Budhinanada. However, in recent days, many areas besides Bicchya have low amounts of herbs that even herb seeds are scarce. Some herbs are on the verge of disappearing from the district due to scarcity of seeds. Bicchya local Indra Gurung said, “A few years ago, Kutki was widely available as Jatamasi, but now Kutki is rarely available.”
Herbs found in Bicchya are the primary earning source for many herb entrepreneurs from Humla, Mugu, Kalikot and Bajura. Herb entrepreneurs provide compensation to locals for permission to collect herbs. Gumba, Lampata and Baddi forests are regarded as important for collection of herbs in Bicchya.
Locals of Bicchya said that herb entrepreneurs from Humla sometimes also arrive with their own people for collection of herbs. “Geographical remoteness and lack of human resources are chief reasons for lack of supervision in herb collection,” said Junior Forest Officer Chantyal.
According to the DFO, about 65 kinds of herbs are available in the district. The office estimates that about 20 species of herbs, including Jatamasi, Chiraito, Padamchal, mushroom, Allo, Lokta, Kaladana, Kutki, Kakansillo, Sugandhawal, Timur, Rida, Pakhandbhed, Nirmasi, Khoto, Bhojho, Bishjara, Satuwa, Ban Lasun, and Atis, are supplied out of the district.