Conservation for survival: a conservation strategy for resource self-sufficiency in the Khumbu region of Nepal
Sherpa, Mingma Norbu (Paldorje)
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The purpose of this practicum is to develop a strategy for resource self-sufficiency and nature conservation in the Khumbu region of Nepal. The strategy seeks to ensure the prudent management and conservation of the Park so that not only the flora and fauna but also the indigenous human population may continue to live in harmony with their environment. This study examines the historical perspectives of land use, current management strategies of the Park, a theoretical supply and demand assessment of land and labour resources, and prospective problems and opportunities. The methods used in the study include a literature review, examination of published and unpublished research articles, international journals, internal reports, personal communications with persons knowledgeable in the study area and the author's own observations and experience. This study indicates that the Sherpa's spiritual commitment under a system of social and community control of resource management for sustainable use has been disrupted by internal and external political, social and economic factors. Traditional practices of land resource management are no longer in operation in the villages most affected by tourism. Despite the changes that tourism has brought about, sherpas maintain a strong identification with their culture and religion. National and international aid agencies are offering strong support and technical solutions for the reduction of the fuelwood crisis and environmental degradation. However, a broader perspective is required to solve fuelwood and food shortages; for example, the existing socio-economic realities should be incorporated into project planning. The main problem in achieving sustainable development in the Khumbu region seems to have stemmed from gaps in government legislation and lack of co-ordination between government, aid agencies, and loca1 people. It is recommended that a workable strategy be developed to confront the prevailing problems by increasing productivity of land and labour resources without destroying any aspect of the environment. Àn informed local body should be set up to co-ordinate development and conservation projects and programmes.