Trees for Himalayan Biodiversity
Available for Adoption upto: 15,000 Trees
Project PurposeTrees for the Himalayas
The plantation project is implemented in and around the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary encompassing forest areas of Hattipailey, Dewling, Changeylakha, Lower Sawa Khola, Sahur Dara and Tanki Pakha, in Pakyong Block of East Sikkim
About the Project
Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary is a wildlife reserve in the East District of the state of Sikkim. Some of the endangered species from North-East India are present in this wildlife sanctuary. The Red Panda, the state animal of Sikkim and one of the most elusive creatures from northern forests lives here. The Asiatic black bear, musk deer, and red fox are also present in this wildlife sanctuary. Some very commonly seen mammals in this sanctuary are the wild boar, yellow-throated marten, Himalayan striped squirrel, and hoary-bellied squirrel of the Callosciurus genus.
However, the natural resources of the sanctuary are exposed to pressures due to human activity and changing climate. Biomass is in distress due to increased demand for resources with rapidly increasing tourism and development infrastructure. Excessive fuel-wood and fodder extraction, an increase in human-wildlife conflicts, increased mass tourism in forested areas, and an outbreak of weeds and invasive species are significant conservation challenges in this natural reserve. This imbalance has created room for climate disasters in this region such as habitat fragmentation, weed infestation, and reduced ecosystem services affecting both humans and wildlife.
With this scenario, the planting of trees for our restoration project ‘Trees for Himalayan Biodiversity’ serves as a significant feasible step in addressing the aforementioned pressing local socio-environmental issues.
Why Trees for this Project?
· In 1995, the Government of Sikkim banned green felling in forests. In 1998, it outlawed grazing in restricted forest areas, plantation regions, and water supply areas. Sikkim's government outlawed the collecting of timber and NTFP in 1999.2 Though the green cover has expanded as a result of these laws, on-the-ground inspection has revealed that a lot of undesired, invasive weeds have also increased in parallel. As a result, this plantation project attempts to replace those invasive species with primary local species.
· As the population continues to grow and encroach upon natural habitats, the interaction between humans and wildlife is becoming more frequent, leading to an increase in conflicts. Research has pointed out that “Crop damage came out to be the main source of conflict across the different studies, rather than direct encounter between man and animals and resultant injury.”3 Many animals, such as Himalayan Black Bears, can be seen along the border, destroying the habitants' crops. Planting trees of specific fruit-bearing species ensures that wildlife's demands are addressed within the constrained space of the forest and helps to stabilise the local agro-economy.
· It has been observed that, “Tourism can cause the same forms of pollution as any other industry: air emissions, noise, solid waste and littering, releases of sewage, oil and chemicals, even architectural/visual pollution. Air pollution from tourist transportation has impacts on the global level, especially from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions related to transportation energy use.”4 More than 300,000 visit Sikkim every year, creating environmental stress to these fragile mountain ecosystems. The planting of trees will help in the reduction of vehicular population, ecological restoration, wildlife habitat conservation, and overall better quality of life for local communities, making them more self-sustained.
The variety of trees planted depends upon agro-climatic conditions and the benefit of those trees in terms of flowers, fruits, fodder, fuel and non-timber forest produce for the local community as well as insects, birds and animals. All trees planted will be local to the planting site.
For Trees for Himalayan Biodiversity project in the Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary, the following tree species are selected:
Species like Ambakey(Quercus leucotrichophora), Kafal (Myrica esculenta), Phamphal (Persa americana), Nebara (Ficus hookeri), Asarey (Viburnum cordifolium), Gagun (Saurauia nepalensis), Bhadrasey (Elaeocarpus sikkimensis), Lopsi (Spondias axillaris), Omphi (Pyrularia edulis), Local Cherry (Prunus cerasoides), Mushurey Katush (Castanopsis hystrix), Naspati (Pyrus pashia), Arucha (Prunus persica), Ghurpish (Leucosceptrum canum) - These fruit trees can be used by the local community for consumption as well as fodder.
Species like Siltimbur (Litsea cubeba), Khanakpa (Evodia meliaefolia), Lakuri (Araucaria bindrabunensis), Saur (Betula alnoides), Falado(Erythrina indica) Kharaney (Symplocos theifolia), Pepli (Symingtonia populnea) have medicinal properties.
Some of the species have ecological value and can be commercially used as well. For example, Jhuguney (Eurya japonica), Local Chandan (Pterocarpus santalinus), Kapasey (Acer campbellii), Arupatey (Prunus napaulensis), Malatha (Macaranga nepalensis), Lake Chilauney (Schima wallichii), Tooni (Toona ciliata), Uttish (Alnus nepalensis), Panisaj (Terminalia myriocarpa). They can also be used for fuelwood that can support the livelihood of these communities and reduce pressure on forest resources.
Making a Difference - The Impact of Your Support
Planting of trees offers numerous benefits that span across multiple aspects.*
Reclaim Degraded Forest Land & Revive Biodiversity
To ensure that our efforts have a positive impact on the environment, we conduct a rigorous assessment of the site and carefully select the trees that align with the location and the community. The planting of trees facilitates the conversion of degraded land into primary forests. It attempts to preserve the area's forest green cover and aids in conservation efforts.
Improve aesthetic appeal
The plantation of flowering species enhances the aesthetic appearance of this region. Plantation of fruiting and flowering species in the forest area is also helpful in securing and enhancing the bird habitat in the area.
Our project generates employment opportunities for the local communities since we are committed to working closely with them. They are involved in preparing the saplings in the nursery, transportation of the saplings, plantation and maintenance.
Employment for Women
Tree plantation activities provide employment for women as many women workers participate in our projects. The workdays in our planting sites thus generated allow these women to contribute towards their household income and work towards empowering the women who benefit from the work.
Fodder for Livestock
Livestock is a major source of sustenance for the local community. The plantation of trees on the fringes of Pangolakha Wildlife Sanctuary can create forest assets for the community in the form of fruits, fodder, fuelwood, and other NTFPs.
Apiculture is an alternative livelihood practiced by the inhabitants residing near the planting site. Bees will pollinate those flowers, resulting in higher honey production. As a result, planting more local floral plants promotes beekeeping, which allows people to increase their revenue as an alternative livelihood option.
Trees do an excellent job absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. A mature tree can absorb about 20 kg of CO2 each year. Trees keep the temperature cool and reduce atmospheric stressors.
*The environmental benefits of the trees reach their full potential as they mature.