Economic interpretation of lost due to improper stump-height of trees in Nepal
In recent years, import of timber and other wood products from different parts of the world have been increasing in Nepal. The Government of Nepal aims to be a self-sustain in timber production. In this context, the objective of this study was to estimate efficiency of harvesting practices in Nepal in relation to stump-height. We collected the data on the stump-heights and other biometric characteristics of the trees from different felling sites of Kailali, Kanchanpur, Jhapa and Morang districts of Nepal. The volumes of the individual trees as well as the proportions of the volumes of their stumps with different heights were calculated. Correlation and ANOVA were used to find the significance of the associated factors. The average stump-heights using the conventional felling method and the chain saw method were found to be 0.74±0.17m and 0.46±0.21m, respectively with wider range. The correlation between the stump-height and diameter at breast height (dbh) was found significant. Similarly, the harvesting method, skill and experience of the tree-fellers and tree species were also found to be significant with the stump-heights. On an average, 5% of the total timber production equivalent to one million cubic feet (cft) is lost in the Fiscal Year 2074/075 in Nepal while adopting the conventional method of harvesting because of the higher stump-height than the one prescribed by the Government. The estimated loss was NRs. 2 billion (roughly equivalent to US $ 20 million, @NRS 100 = 1 USD) to the national economy, and the Government had to bear loss of about NRs. 500 million (roughly equivalent to 5 million USD) from the royalty of timber. This amount of loss could be reduced to half by using power chain saw. Lack of skilled laborers, poor implementation of law, and weak knowledge of officials were major causes for losses in harvesting practices. Moreover, about 2% wood volume loss can be avoided, without any further investment, by setting minimum standard stump-height at 15 cm and providing training to the field staff and tree harvesters.
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