By Indira Aryal Kathmandu, Mar. 4: Every year, World Wildlife Day is marked on March 3 to raise awareness about issues that impact wildlife. This year, the day was observed on Wednesday on the theme of "Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet” highlighting the role of forests, forest species and ecosystem services in sustaining the livelihoods of millions of people around the world. The earth is home to numerous species, and each one of them plays an important role in balancing the environment and protecting and managing forests would help enhance the lives of every species, experts said. Programme director at the Resource Himalaya Foundation and wildlife expert Dr. Dinesh Neupane said that while coverage of the forests has been increasing, there is no wildlife-oriented community forest in Nepal. He said the forestry programme only focuses on timber, firewood and fodder production but is not favourable to wildlife habitat. Prakash Lamsal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Forest and Environment, however, claimed that the leasehold forests and community forests are wildlife-friendly and they are also protecting the species. A total of 23.39 per cent out of our landmass is covered by protected areas and most of that area is enveloped by forests, whose coverage stands at 18 per cent. Outside the protected areas, the reappearance of wildlife has been increasing in community forests, Lamsal said. “At least 2.3 million hectares of land has been covered by community forests. As many forests have been restored to their former glory, wildlife that disappeared long ago have started reappearing. This corroborates the fact that our forests are wildlife-friendly,” he said. However, increase in the number of wild species is not without problems. The problem of human-wildlife conflict has also exacerbated, but the government is working towards containing the problem, Lamsal said.