Nepal hosts three species of Taxus: T. mairei, T. wallichiana, and T. contorta out of 13 species recorded globally. The remaining population of the Taxus spp. in Nepal is threatened due to overharvesting as they have been heavily exploited for their cancer-treating properties. There is a growing demand for the raw leaves of the species in Nepal. As such, many communities including those in our project site, Kavrepalanchok depend on yews for their livelihood. As the trade is booming up, pressure on the remaining population of the Yews is increasing. The impact is intense as there are no standard harvesting guidelines. This is prominent for T. mairei because of its high Taxol content and its scant wild population that is also being wiped out from the forest for trade and nursery purposes.
In this backdrop, this project aims to ensure the long-term viability of the wild population of Maire’s Yew in Nepal with the following objectives: 1) to train youths and local communities to support the long-term sustainable harvest and conservation of Maire’s Yew, and 2) to evaluate the effectiveness of sustainable harvesting guideline and disseminate project results with concerned stakeholders. We believe, having a pool of local young people who value the T. mairei, harvester communities trained in sustainable harvesting techniques and the collective efforts of the different levels of government will certainly help to conserve these trees in the long run.
Project partners: Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS) University of Oxford, Conservation Leadership Programme
Project period: 1 June 2019 to 30 May 2020 (extended to January 2021 due to covid-19).