Transforming the traditional community pine forest into self sustaining community food forest

this is just and idea beeping me up hardly since last 8 months…

Traditional pine forest are the forest here I meant to those forest which are being created by the people with the help of govt and ngos sometime back in 30-40 years ago. After Nepal lost 60 % of its naturally built forest and faced several conscequenses, this lead to the mass plantation of easily and cheaply available pine forest with the help of govt backed funding.

These days we see pine forest almost every part of Nepal especially being owned by community. These kind of dense forest have been a trouble to many users because of its nature.  The green leaves are not being able to use for villagers cattle, the dry leaves are fallen down not allowing the pasters to grow, the forest also doesent allow other diverse plants to live around even not absorbing and protecting the waters for springs. The villagers are forced to do extra work cleaning the forest for good pasture.

The concept of community forest was developed to help make peoples life easy and people takes care of the forest by preserving, but this forest turn to be opposite…that people took care of forest and had to work extra cleaning the dried pine leaves and loosing the spring water. I guess this problem is not only in Nepal so These days people have developed a ecological designing of the forest called permaculture, a designed forest creating  the eco- system.

"green forest nepals wealth"famous saying in nepali  a true idea on how important is forest in Nepal. A forest should be diverse itself in nature and allows diversity of use supporting many lives through and in it. So my idea is to transform the traditional community pine forest in to carefully design self sustaining food forest and thus Regenerating the diversity of food chains and regenerating the fresh water spings. I believe this kind of forest will also give maximum benefits to society in each and every situation that human faces.

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Welcome @sudiplingthep, nice to meet you. And congratulations for the vision: it is really advanced. Question: what sort of work would need to be done to convert pine forests into diverse forests? Can it be done on a small scale?

Ping our permaculture and forestry experts @Darren and @Nick_Davitashvili.

yes alberto nice to meet you too …thanks for your concern its possible to do it in small scale.bigger trees grows out of a tiny seed. i am looking to cooperate with community forest user and use their small part of pine forest to transform …once people sees that then its easy people will follow the path. coz i know people are not really happy with pine forest.

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Intermediate solutions?

I walked through one of these pine forests in Bhorle, Rasuwa, and you’re right about the dead leaves / needles covering the ground and allowing little other plants, and no grass for animals. I like the “edible landscape” idea a lot … more power to your project!

People in Bhorle also had a (small) nice use for the dead pine leaves: they would use them for sun ray protection of sheet metal shelters, making it a lot cooler inside. See my photos and detailed description.

So I just thought: If there would be a large-scale economic use for pine needles, it could motivate villagers to take them out the forest, making the forest more useful for everyone even though it’s still pine. But what to do with tons and tons of dead pine needles? frown

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Long term consideration

Ah… you also have to be careful not to carry out too many nutrients.

mathias…awasome idea of making good use of dry pine leaves to insulate the temporary house…i even used it to insulate from ground cold during occasional camping. i do even love pine forest it looks great and provides a nice smell…my concern is that it could be way more better to have a diverse forest system for community and i guess nature aswell.  but thanks for sharing the roofing idea…a friend of mine is involved in making the same kind of temporary house and will definately hit him with this cool idea.


There is someone in Uttarakhand who makes them into biochar bricks it seems. Also reduces likelihood of forest fires. Unfortunately there is not a lot of concrete detail available in this link.

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Nice! And then add a biochar stove …

Great idea, why didn’t I think of that use? :S Because @Darren has this project for developing a biochar rocket stove. Darren, would it work with pine needles or need modifications for that (because the needles are very light per volume)?

This or a similar stove would be a great addition to the pine needle charring because it utilizes the heat of the charring process for cooking / space heating. The charcoal can be used for cooking etc. again (of course) or to make terra preta fertile soil (though I don’t know if that works well with pine needles … Darren may know).

Hey @sudiplingthep :slight_smile:
A great idea. We have big areas of pine forest here in England for the same reason - fast growing timber. But slowly things are changing and there are there are now more mixed plantings.

I went on a tour to visit 12 food forests in the UK that were planted along pemaculture principles. Many were young, 2 were over 20 years old and very impressive.

I dont know much about what grows in Nepal but there are these videos which, if you have an internet connection which lets you watch, you may find interesting / inspiring

also this is an interesting article about perennial plants that can be grown for staple foods in different climates

and this academic paper about forest gardens in Sri Lanka (591kb pdf file)

Is see there is a tradition of tree home gardens in Nepal.

Could you build upon those traditions, explain to people the growing excitement in more industrialised nations for agroforestry and forest gardens (its still considered somewhat cutting edge/experimental although there are increasing examples of good working systems) so to gain support for your project?

Also you could join the forest gardens email list and ask for help, I know there are people in Asia on the list who may be able to give advice, link you to people you could work with in Nepal or share seeds for plants that would be useful. send a blank email to -

Just edited to correct the link to the mail list - which was wrong



And ‘Tree Crops’

An interesting old book that inspired many people who have worked in this field is Tree Crops

You can read the most interesting parts here

or get the whole 10 mb pdf (probably a lot will not be relevant to the Nepal climate)



That looks like a real good resource (lots of good pictures) - now I just have to get my in-laws convinced to get rid of the pesky lawn!

Oooohhhh… and the library it came from. :slight_smile:

darren sounds like you have great knowledge on it…thanks heaps. i am looking for perennial plants that fits for altitude here 1200-2500…intrestingly many herbal plants comes in this category. now i am already looking for a land to lease out in cheap (probably not possible cheap) so thinking to jump on to leasing the part of community pine forest…once i am seted up will definately would love to share my work.

Let me repost this from another

thread where we were discussing a related topic: - They seem to be up to speed, it would be interesting to hear if they could imagine supporting the effort in one way or another.

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Nice website (I missed it when you posted to the other thread trythis.)  Looks like it would be useful for this project,  The species information made me think of

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Great topic :smiley:

Didn’t expect this to be such a hit for discussion, but then again, I understand why :slight_smile: Also I remembered my uncle was doing reforestration in neighboring Bhutan for years … pretty much the same hilly landscape. Will ask him what’s wrong with pine forests in these areas, and if he has tips for how to get gradually rid of them.

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mathias…yes plz that would be awesome to know :slight_smile: