Impact Story: Nepal

From strategy to implementation – Subnational REDD+ Action Plans

NARAYAN POUDEL, a beekeeper from Kalika village in Chitwan district, brushes away lush green banana leaves to expose a small Paulownia tomentosa sapling underneath. “We just planted it, but this timber species grows really fast,” he says. “It can be harvested after eight years and sold at a good price for its wood.”

Poudel was introduced to this agroforestry technique only recently. “I knew that intercropping was possible, but I didn’t have the knowledge to implement it until the UN-REDD Programme came to our village to provide saplings and technical training.”

“I knew that intercropping was possible, but I didn’t have the knowledge to implement it until the UN-REDD Programme came to our village to provide saplings and technical training.”


Over 70 per cent of households in Nepal use fuelwood for cooking, so growing woodlots for fuel on farmland also helps decrease the pressure on forests. What’s more, for Poudel and his neighbours, most of whom are beekeepers, some agroforestry species such as Paulownia also increase honey production and quality.

Nepal has made three decades of successful advances in community forestry, a participatory approach towards forest protection and management that now involves more than a third of the country’s population and covers a third of the forest area. Community forestry is therefore a central feature of Nepal’s National REDD+ Strategy.

For Nepal to implement its National REDD+ Strategy effectively, recognition of the local context is essential, given both the importance of this decentralized approach to forest management, and the vast contrasts between forest ecosystems in the high Himalayas and the low-lying plains, and in the diverse drivers of deforestation and degradation that the strategy will have to address.

The UN-REDD Programme, together with the Government of Nepal’s REDD+ Implementation Centre (RIC) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), supported the development of subnational REDD+ action plans in order to provide this local context. A series of consultations were held over a year to develop the first subnational action plan in Chitwan district, which included identifying local drivers of deforestation, formulating actions to address them, and finally, monitoring the effectiveness of those actions.

One key action identified for Chitwan was the integration of agroforestry models into local cooperatives’ business plans, including the Milijuli Beekeeping Cooperative, of which Poudel is a member. This was identified as a relatively simple and inexpensive intervention that, if extended throughout the district, would contribute to the objectives of the National REDD+ Strategy while also improving food security and diversifying local livelihoods.

The subnational REDD+ action plan directs public and private investment towards this and other prioritized interventions in order to achieve national objectives in the most cost-effective way. Given the successful experience in Chitwan, Nepal’s RIC has replicated this subnational planning approach for REDD+ in other parts of the country including Ilam district, known for its thriving tea industry, and the south-western part of the country, known as the Terai Arc landscape, where community forestry approaches are less well established than in other regions.

REDD+ does not consist of complex and expensive solutions to old problems, nor does it necessarily entail ground-breaking innovation. Ultimately, it is about scaling up approaches that have been demonstrated to work. The subnational REDD+ planning process in Nepal helps both the Government and local communities to relate REDD+ to the real world, encouraging planning and investment in tried, tested and locally relevant forestry and land management

This report is made possible through support from Denmark, Japan, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the European Union.