Saturday December 14, 2019

Giving Local Communities Responsibility to Manage Forests Could Help Ease Poverty, Deforestation

Identifying a mechanism — community forestry — that can credibly reduce carbon emissions at the same time as improving wellbeing of the poor is an important step forward in global efforts to combat climate change

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FILE - Trekkers hike through a densely forested area near Ghorepani, Nepal, Oct. 23, 2014. VOA

Giving local communities the responsibility to manage forests — which are shrinking worldwide — could help ease poverty and deforestation, scientists said Monday in what they described as one of the largest studies of its kind.

Researchers examined more than 18,000 community-led forest initiatives in Nepal, using satellite images and census data from the South Asian country, where more than a third of forests are managed by a quarter of the population.

Giving Nepalese communities the chance to look after their own forests led to a 37 percent drop in deforestation and a 4.3 percent decline in poverty levels between 2000 and 2012, they said in a paper published by the journal Nature Sustainability.

“Community forest management has achieved a clear win-win for people and the environment across an entire country,” said lead author Johan Oldekop, an environment lecturer at Britain’s University of Manchester.

poverty solution, deforestation
Cutting down forests can also harm livelihoods and cause tensions, as people compete for fewer resources. Pixabay

Deforestation is the second-leading cause of climate change after fossil fuels, accounting for almost a fifth of planet-warming emissions, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said in a 2018 report.

Trees soak up carbon dioxide from the air as they grow, and release back stored carbon when they burn or rot. Cutting down forests can also harm livelihoods and cause tensions, as people compete for fewer resources.

“Nepal proves that with secure rights to land, local communities can conserve resources and prevent environmental degradation,” Oldekop said in a statement.

Worldwide numbers

Yet indigenous peoples and local communities legally own only about 15 percent of forests worldwide, according to a 2018 analysis by the Rights and Resources Initiative, a global land rights coalition.

poverty solution, ease poverty, deforestation
Identifying a mechanism — community forestry — that can credibly reduce carbon emissions at the same time as improving wellbeing of the poor is an important step forward in global efforts to combat climate change. Pixabay

The world lost 12 million hectares (30 million acres) of tropical tree cover in 2018 — the equivalent of 30 football pitches a minute, said an April report by Global Forest Watch, run by the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

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The researchers who studied Nepal said other countries should try to follow its example by allowing local communities to manage forests as a way to cut emissions, while lifting people out of poverty. The study said Mexico, Madagascar and Tanzania had similar community-led forest initiatives.

“Identifying a mechanism — community forestry — that can credibly reduce carbon emissions at the same time as improving wellbeing of the poor is an important step forward in global efforts to combat climate change and protect the vulnerable,” said co-author Arun Agrawal from the University of Michigan. (VOA)

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‘Seva Truck’ Of Sikh-Americans Provide Free Food To Local Communities

Seva Truck is a fully licensed food truck with a commercially integrated kitchen

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Seva Truck sends out free food
Seva Truck Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing hunger in our communities by serving hot, nutritious meals to anyone in need. (Representational Image). Pixabay

A Sikh-American from Washington D.C. is operating a ‘Seva Truck’, via which he sends out free meals to local communities in need including schools and social work organisations.

Washington D.C.-based Sonny Kakar bought an old FedEx truck, painted it orange and began operating his ‘Seva Truck’, the American Bazaar reported on Friday.

His initiative specially targets kids at risk in underserved communities. In just three years since its inception, the orange truck has not only become the pride of the area but has also expanded to feed over 20,000 people.

Showing his compassionate side, Kakar believed that there was need for such an initiative when he started it, but “we hope that ‘we are out of business’ in the future”.

Seva Truck Free meal food Truck
Through our Free Meal Service campaign, we serve nutritionally-balanced vegetarian meals when and wherever needed.(Representational Image). Pixabay

“We hope there won’t be a need for a Seva Truck because we hope that society reaches a stage where they do not think about serving themselves but serving the broader purpose.”

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In one of the schools where the truck has been regularly dropping off meals since last three years, the attendance has gone up by 30 per cent, Kakar said.

Encouraged by the success Kakar opened another location in Michigan and hopes to spread his initiative across the country. (IANS)