Going digital eases forest managementThe transition from paper to digital platform has ensured speed of work, transparency and uniformity, officials say.
Data entry and record keeping have become easy for forest officers in Kapilvastu after the forest offices turned to technology a year ago.
The forest offices in Kapilvastu have transitioned from paper to digital platform, with officers like Basanta Thapa, the assistant forest officer of Gorusinghe-based Sub Division Forest Office in Kapilvastu, using tablets with ease to enter data such as names, sizes, GPS locations and other details of trees that are marked to be felled.
The details are then immediately sent to the Division Forest Office in Kapilvastu, the head forest office in the district, says Thapa.
“The forest offices have become technology friendly and this has made our work a lot easier,” said Thapa. “I had to keep a diary to take daily notes on my visits to forests. It took some time to get used to technology, but after one year of daily use, we have made progress.”
A team of forest officials, including technicians, regularly go on field visits to monitor the trees in the forests.
“We enter all necessary details of our visits onto the software named Scientific Forest Management Support System,” said Thapa. “This has increased efficiency in our daily work.”
The entered data is saved in the main server of the Division Forest Office in Kapilvastu district headquarters through an application.
“Officials in the district headquarters verify the details and issue permission to cut down trees after completing the process. We receive a digital copy of the permission and don’t have to wait for lengthy paperwork,” said Thapa. “It saves a lot of time and effort.”
For the past year, sub divisional forest offices in Patana, Pipara, Badhara, Motipur, Gorusinghe and Chetaradenhi of Kapilvastu have been using the software for data keeping.
Like Thapa, officials in these offices use tabs for data collection.
“The new system has reduced our workload,” said Thapa. “The software allows us to keep records of the length and circumference of trees, which is really helpful. It also leaves minimal room for mistakes when it comes to record keeping and keeping track of trees in different community and collaborative forests.”
Sixty-nine community forests and two collaborative forests use the software in Kapilvastu district.
According to the Division Forest Office in Kapilvastu, it invested Rs 600,000 to introduce the software across all forest offices.
“Data keeping has become easier since the introduction of the software. The collected data is also safe and reliable. The use of software has brought immediacy, transparency and uniformity in our work across all levels,” said Ishwori Prasad Paudel, division forest officer in Kapilvastu.
According to Madan Mohan Shandilya, assistant forest officer and also coordinator of the software programme, despite the initial reservations of forest officials, the software has come as a boon.
“In the beginning, it was hard to learn to use the software and the tablet but now everybody has become adept at it,” said Shandilya. “We no longer have to rely on old files to see our records. Work efficiency of our employees has also increased.”