Promoting conservation of Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary through alternative income generation in Trashi Yangtse implemented by Sonam Nyamrup Tshogpa (SNT), a rural Community-Based Organization (CBO).
Promoting conservation of Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary through alternative income generation in Trashi Yangtse implemented by Sonam Nyamrup Tshogpa (SNT), a rural Community-Based Organization (CBO).
The project sought to address some of the emerging environmental problems of Trashi Yangtse such as over exploitation of the limited arable land, encroachment of forestland and overgrazing due to rapidly increasing human and cattle population.

Land degradation is a major problem in the eastern part of Bhutan. Degradation of land is highly attributed by heavy rainfall, difficult terrain, forest fire, human activities and excessive grazing. There is considerable natural erosion, which is further excerbated by human activities, especially when the soil becomes heavily water logged during monsoon season.

People of Trashi Yangtse has limited source of income. Among the few cash crops grown in the dzongkhag (district) oak mushroom has a great potential of income generation to the local farmers, especially landless farmers. Due to the readily available raw materials such as oak trees coupled iwth ideal climatic condition, there is enough scope for expansion of oak mushroom in Trashi Yangtse. Similarly, walnut being low volume high value crop which grows luxuriantly in the dzongkhag has equal potential for expansion.

Objectives:
The main objectives of the project were to:
1. increase household income of farmers by 30 percent through expansion of oak mushroom amongst interested farmers in Trashi Yangtse.
2. to utilize wasteland in Khamdang area to increase forest cover and provide sustainble supply of oak billets for mushroom cultivation.
3. to create awareness among farmers on the local environmental issues and the need to preserve their natural resources.
4. to reduce pressure on the natural resources of Bomdeling Wildlife Sanctuary through alternative income generation.
5. to strengthen the capacity of Sonam Nyamrup Tshogpa (SNT) to implement community-based projects.

In order to realize the above objectives, following activities had been carried out:
1. Conducted 7 groups of community meetings with 347 numbers of farmers' participation.
2. Oak-Mushroom Cultivation Training was conducted training received by 42 farmers of Bomdeling and Yangtse villages.
3. Interested farmers cultivated oak-mushroom and harvested about 2,500 kilograms and sold them at the rate of Nu 100/kg (US $ 2.5) else where and Nu.80/kg (US $ 2) in the local market.
4. 15% increase in the household income in the first harvest of mushrooms.
5. Oak plantations done in wastelands and there is evidence of forest re-generation in the area of Kamdang and Yangtse area.
6. A nursery of soft-shelled and hardshelled walnut species have been developed producing 8000 walnut saplings. 4000 was sold to farmers through the Dzongkhag RNR in the year 2000. And the balance was planted by the communities commemorating the Social Forestry Day of Bhutan celebrated in every year on 2nd June.

Positive features:
1. A high level of cohesion existed among the members in terms of organizing themselves to carry out cooperative activities and to provide technical assistance to other farmers.
2. Interaction with the Dzongkhag Administration was good. The SNT sought linkage with, and technical assistance from Dzongkhag programme through annual meetings with dzongkhag officials. The SNT Chairperson consulted Dzongkhag Agriculture officer for coordination and government inputs.
3. The project showed high replication values, which infact, has been replicated in Mongar Dzongkhag.
4. SNT established a cooperative fund to financially sustain its activities. This fund, saved in the group's account wiht the Bank of Bhutan, was built up with deposits of 10 per cent of the earnings of the members from sale of their agricultural products.
5. Two years of completion of SGP funding, the SNT still active with the activities, i.e. promotion of mushroom cultivation and walnut plantation-that it took up with SGP funding. It had also taken up additional activities such as promotion of high-value vegetables like asparagus.
6. Benefit distribution was widespread. Walnut seedlings had been distributed (for free) to some 110 interested households in Yangtse and adjoining villages and mushroom cultivation had been introduced in 37 interested households in Bomdeling and adjoining villages. Households that were interviewed reported earnings between Nu. 2000 to 3000 per annum after domestic consumption.
7. There was good cost-sharing and resource mobilization. The mushroom cultivations were carried out with the beneficiaries bearing the cost of rosin, wax and plastic sheets and the SNT members contributing technical expertise and running a wood carving unit with funding from Swiss Development Cooperation Fund (SDC).

Weakness:
1. There was no interaction between the project and other similar activiites that had been taking place in the villages within Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary.
2. No project evaluation was carried out although the project has been completed.
3. Absense of interaction with local forest authorities in view of the fact that the project involved creation of a community oak forest management and plantation area.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Sonam Nyamrup Tshogpa
Country:
Bhutan
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 7,719.00
Co-Financing Cash:
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 1,464.60
Project Number:
BHU/98/02
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Inovative Financial Mechanisms
After the SGP funding, the Sonam Nyamrup Tshogpa (SNT) mobilized US $ 10,000 from SDC funding.
Promoting Public Awareness of Global Environment
Stakeholder Workshop was held at Trashi Yangtse to create awareness about GEF/Small Grants Programme and also to promote public awareness of Globla Environment.
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Partnership

Community Contribution, Proponent Contribution.

SGP Country office contact

Mr. Tenzin Wangchuk
Phone:
009752322424
Email:
Mr. Tshering Phuntsho
Phone:
009752322424 (ext:330)
Email:

Address

UN House, Peling Lam (Street), Kawajangsa, Thimphu, P.O. Box No. 162
Thimphu, Bhutan, 11001