Transformation of Invasive Species Mikania micrantha: Mile a minute weed to Cash

Title: Initiating community-based bio briquette production to manage the invasion of mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha) on community-managed buffer zone area of Chitwan National Park, Nepal.

Project timeline: September 2020 to September 2021

Donor: Van Tienhoven Foundation for International Nature Protection, Netherland.

Project leader: Arjun Bhusal

Background

Chitwan National Park is located at Southern Central lowland Terai of Nepal. It provides habitat for the world’s second-largest population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros, Nepal’s largest population of Bengal Tiger, and many other threatened species. But in recent times, a heavy infestation of mile-a-minute weed (Mikania micrantha) is posing a great threat to the survival of these species. In 2013, 90% of grasslands of the park where rhinoceros and other herbivores depend are found to be infested by Mikania, replacing native grass species.  Infestation is even higher in the community-managed buffer zone area. Manual cutting is the only feasible option to manage proliferation. So, in this project, we will build capacity and provide briquette production units to Community Forest User Groups to initiate bio-briquette production, using biomass of Mikania as raw material. Production of fuel briquettes will be the alternative method to manage the proliferation problem and also to reduce dependence on fuelwood and deforestation.