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Enhancing tourism and biodiversity sectors

By Tandin Wangchuk

The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary (BWS) is one of the sites identified for the proposed eco-tourism project โ€œMainstreaming Biodiversity into the Tourism Sector.โ€

The Gross National Happiness Commission, Tourism Council of Bhutan and UNDP are in the process of finalizing the project proposal for submission to the Global Environment Facility.

 If approved, it will work to promote community based eco-tourism in BWS, which encompasses three gewogs in three different districts- Bumdeling in Trashi Yangtse, Khoma in Lhuentse and Sherimuhung in Mongar.

The BWS is home to the endangered black-necked cranes. A white-bellied heron, another endangered bird species, has also been spotted in Bumdeling recently.  It boasts of 966 plant, 52 mammal (including Red Panda), 365 bird and 200 butterfly species.

In 1974 the RGOB created the Jigme Dorji Wildlife Sanctuary to protect the alpine and subalpine ecosystem of the eastern Himalayas in Bhutan. This park covered the whole northern part of Bhutan including the present northern half of the present Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary.

The Bumdeling Wildlife Sanctuary is located in the Northeastern part of Bhutan covering an area of 1520.61 km with 420km sq. of buffer zones ecosystem parts of Trashiyangtse, Lhuntse and Mongar Dzongkhag. It shares international border with China (Tibetan province) in the north and India and Arunachal Paradesh in the North East.

It was established in 1995 in order to protect large areas of virtually untouched Eastern Himalayan ecosystem ranging from warm broadleaved forest to Alpine meadows and scree slopes. The sanctuary area ranges from an altitude of 1500 m in the Sheri chhu to over 6400m in the north. The area is mountainous and is dissected by steep sided valleys. The three main rivers in the park are the Kulong chhu in the East, the Khoma chhu in the West and Sheri chhu in the South.

In 1995-1996, Nature Conservation Section of the Department of Forest carried out socio-economic and Participatory Rural Appraisal survey in and around the sanctuary. Finding the need to have a proper management of the sanctuary the Nature Conservation Division has proposed and established Sanctuary head quarter in December 1998 at Chorten Cora in Tashi Yangtse.

Presently the management has five functional units at head quarter, Integrated Conservation Development Program (ICDP), Research Evaluation and Monitoring (REMO), Inventory and Data management Unit (IDAM), Forest Protection and Utilization Unit (FPU) and EEA Environmental Extension and Awareness Unit.

The three field Ranges in three Dzongkhags created and taken over at a gap of two years, Dungzam Park range established in 2000, Khoma Park range established in 2002 and Serzhong Park range established in 2004.

The proposed activities also include promoting butterfly tours within the Ludlowโ€™s Bhutan Glory Trail and enhancement of Dungzam-Pelrigonpa-Dechenphodrang circuit to promote cultural and nature trek both in Trashi Yangtse.

Daphne plantation and promotion of Desho (traditional paper) production are being proposed in the Dungzam-Pelrigonpa-Dechenphodrang circuit.

Meanwhile, as citrus greening continues to plague Bhutan’s oranges, the National Seed Centre is raising pest-free citrus saplings in Trashi Yangtse. The saplings are being raised in Psyllid- proof greenhouses. Psyllid is a disease-infected insect that spreads citrus greening.

NAPA 3 Project- Bhutan supported the installation of two Psyllid- proof greenhouses. Each has a capacity to supply 100,000 saplings every year to farmers in the citrus growing areas.

The NAPA (National Adaptation Porgramme of Action) III project is funded by the Global Environment Facility. UNDP provides technical support.

NAPAs provide a process for the LDCs to identify priority activities that respond to their urgent and immediate needs with regard to adaptation to climate change – those needs for which further delay could increase vulnerability or lead to increased costs at a later stage.

The rationale for NAPAs rests on the limited ability of the LDCs to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change. In the NAPA process, prominence is given to community-level input as an important source of information, recognizing that grassroots communities are the main stakeholders. NAPAs use existing information and no new research is needed.

They are action-oriented, country-driven, are flexible and based on national circumstances. To effectively address urgent and immediate adaptation needs, NAPA documents are presented in a simple format, easily understood both by policy-level decision-makers and the public.

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