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Conservation Issues

Non-timber forest products
Nepal has a wealth of non-timber forest products (NTFPs), harvested not only from forests, but also from pastureland and other wild habitats. Rural people depend on many NTFPs for timber for building and bedding, fodder for livestock, and valuable nutritional, medicinal, economic (subsistence and cash crop), religious and cultural resources. Exploitation of wild plants is therefore very high in poor areas, and the unregulated harvesting of NTFPs (especially medicinal plants) is of increasing concern. This is particular problem where rare plants are hoarded for later use or plants are over-harvested as a cash crop and for export. Medicinal and aromatic plants are highly exploited in the mountains, with unscrupulous traders taking advantage of the poverty of the local people. The Department of Forests is trying to combat illegal trade by allowing the sustainable harvest of some species under special permits. Some NTFP from plant species in Nepal are included in CITES appendices, but research is required to assess the conservation status of other NTFP species and whether they should also be recommended for inclusion in the CITES list.