Calls for conservation of Kanchenjunga area

- BIPLAV BHATTARAI, Ilam
Calls for conservation of Kanchenjunga area

Oct 19, 2014-

The Kanchenjunga trans-boundary landscape is under threat for want of conservation, according to a study carried out by the Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology of the Tribhuvan University (TU).

The area, which is accommodated in the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative of the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional learning centre for the eight Hindu Kush Himalayan countries — Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Myanmar and Pakistan—covers an area of about 25,151 square kilometres  and stretches along eastern Nepal, Sikkim and northern parts of West Bengal in India and western Bhutan. Kanchenjunga trans-boundary landscape covers an area of about 5,190 square kilometres in Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam and Jhapa in Nepal alone.

Concerned stakeholders said that deforestation and wildlife trafficking is going unabated in the area and that there is an immediate need to carry out concerted conservation efforts in the Kanchenjunga landscape.

“Apart from playing a significant role in the ecosystem, the Kanchenjunga landscape has international importance as it is home to rare and endangered wildlife such as snow leopards, red pandas and bears including various plant species. So, concrete steps should be taken by the government for the conservation of the area,” said Ram Prasad Chaudhary, leader of the TU research team.

The study said some of the challenges that lies ahead to carry out conservation efforts in the area are: (a) preventing massive biodiversity losses, (b) strengthening community livelihoods, (c) market promotion for local products, (d) sustainable forest management, (e) minimisation of conflict between human and wildlife and (f) reduction of pollution.

“A strategy has been devised to carry out conservation efforts in the Kanchenjunga landscape and ensure productive development of the area by resolving the challenges and problems it faces,” Yadav Upreti, who was also a part of the research team, said, adding that any governmental or non-governmental organisation can work under the Forest Ministry as per the aforementioned strategy.

Local stakeholders have suggested that the TU research team come up with strategies to mitigate environmental impacts caused by construction of big hydro power projects in the area, control haphazard grazing of animals, and conservation of water sources and wildlife and plant species indigenous to the area.

They also called for the need to come up with income generating activities for the local community by promoting “agriculture tourism” and processing local food. According to the study, the landscape is home to some 100 species of mammals, 350 types of birds, 44 different fish species and 98 types of amphibians and reptiles. Likewise, the area occupies both Kanchenjunga Conservation Area and Maipokhari Wetland Area. 

Published: 20-10-2014 09:03

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