Massive forest loss spurs Nepal to ban logging for two months
Nepal has announced a two month ban on logging throughout the mountainous country, reports the AFP. The ban was issued after officials received reports of alarming deforestation in lowland areas; according to one official over 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) of forest was lost in a few months, nearly double the amount of forest lost on average each year from 2000-2005.
The forests under threat are mostly community-owned, lowland forests in the southern belt of Terai.
"Some logging is allowed in these community forests, but what we're finding is that this allowance is being exceeded," Deepak Bohara told the BBC. "So we have banned all logging until we can formulate a new government policy."
Approximately a quarter of Nepal is covered by forest. From 2000-2005 the Asian nation lost nearly 53,000 hectares of forest annually, about 1.4 percent per year.
Nepal is a part of the UN's REDD (Reduced Emissions through Deforestation and forest Degradation) program that proposes to pay countries to keep their forests intact to reduce carbon emissions. Currently 12-17 percent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from deforestation.