Estimating the population of Maire’s yew and engaging communities in conservation in Nepal

Reshu Bashyal

Nepal hosts three Taxus species, Taxus contorta distributed west to central Nepal, Taxus wallichiana in central to east Nepal and Taxus mairei is scattered in Kavrepalanchok, Makwanpur and Sindhuli districts of central Nepal. Taxus are heavily exploited across the country, as its leaves are the raw material for the production of Taxol, used in the treatment of cancer. This project aims to address key questions about the conservation of Taxus mairei in Nepal and the sustainability of the Taxus harvest methods used by local communities, ensuring long term viability of the wild population of Taxus in Nepal. The potential habitat will be identified by the interview based occupancy, and the population of trees by transect method. The project assesses the sustainable harvesting methods of Taxus species and conducts behaviour adoption programme involving local harvesters.  The detailed conservation assessment of Taxus mairei in Nepal is the first for the country. The population status will substantially contribute to the IUCN Red List assessment (and wider targets for a Global Tree Assessment by 2020) and for Nepal’s national yew conservation plan. Additionally, the sustainable harvesting method for Yew species in Nepal will support community harvesters and Department of Forest.

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