First Suggested Title: Trees Outside Forests for Reconstruction of Permanent Houses following Earthquake in Central Nepal (Still under revision)
The catastrophic massive earthquake of magnitude 7.6 on 25 April 2015, with the epicenter in Gorkha district, Nepal (and a major aftershock 17 days later) caused widespread devastation. More than 500,000 private houses were destroyed and one-third of the country's population suffered. It took the lives of 8790 people and compelled more than 100,000 people to be displaced from their original territory. Following the disaster, timber for the construction of permanent shelter was extracted from various sources. Trees outside forests (TOFs) can be a reliable option for the extraction of timber for construction of these permanent houses, although, these resources are neglected from the reconstruction plan and are occasionally reflected in studies. Thus, this research was carried out in Ramechhap District in central Nepal to collect information about houses that require reconstruction, document TOFs species and their importance in reconstruction of permanent houses following the earthquake, 2015. Household questionnaire survey, key informant interview along with field observation was conducted to collect the required information. Survey showed that 160 households were to be reconstructed in the study area. More than 85% of sample households had their own resources for timber like Schima wallichii, Alnus nepalensis, Ficus species, Litsea monopetala, and bamboos mostly present in terrace raiser and pasture lands. Retaining or plantation of those species in farmland was either for stabilizing sloping agriculture land or fodder collection. A majority of people used Schima wallichii, as major species followed by Shorea robusta and Alnus nepalensis for the reconstruction of their permanent houses where bamboo was used as supplementary. Apart from Shorea robusta and Pinus wallichii (which were collected from community forest), other species were either extracted from their own or from neighbors’ lands. The choice of species for reconstruction of the permanent houses was determined by the availability of species in their farmlands where the number of species available depended on the amount of landholding and presence of livestock. People believed that TOFs play a significant role in the reconstruction process after the disaster, which is essential to consider for disaster preparedness plans and to reduce pressure on community and government-managed forests.
Key words: Earthquake, Permanent houses, Reconstruction, Trees outside forests