Engaging communities in the conservation of wild Maire’s yews in Nepal

Reshu Bashyal

Yews have been heavily exploited in Nepal. Annually, Nepal exports an average of 25 kg of 10-DAB-III about 45,454 kilograms of Taxus leaves. T. mairei’s leaves are raw materials for the production of cancer curing chemical “taxol”.

In lack of sustainable harvesting guideline, harvesters are impacting yews. For instance, felling a whole tree to collect leaves and cutting large branches instead of small twigs. Furthermore, yews are slow growing with poor regeneration capacity and random chopping have left a number of bare trees (witnessed during our fieldwork). We have also noticed local people’s huge dependency upon yews for their livelihood often hampering the wild yews.

Yews are in need of urgent conservation attention especially to disseminate awareness about yews’ harvest techniques and conservation importance. As part of a 2018 CLP-funded project, we are estimating the wild population of yew and have drafted a sustainable harvesting guideline addressing these issues. In this project we want to build the capacity of a range of stakeholders to follow the guideline we prepared and hence to evaluate its effectiveness. The purpose of this project, funded by the Kate Stokes Memorial Trust is to ensure the sustainable harvest of Maire’s Yew. This will be achieved by changing the behaviour of harvesters’ community adopting sustainable harvesting guideline.