Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project | India
Located in northeast India and the Eastern Himalayas, the Indian state of Sikkim is known for its biodiversity, including alpine and subtropical climates, and is home to the world’s third highest peak, Kanchenjunga. Sikkim is India’s least populated and second smallest state, with almost 25 percent of its surface area covered by the Khangchendzonga National Park.
To protect the state’s biological diversity, as well as stimulate the state’s economy and improve the livelihood of communities living in the forest fringe areas, the Government of Sikkim wanted to promote sustainable biodiversity conservation, afforestation, eco-tourism and other sustainable income-generating activities.
Louis Berger was selected to serve as project management consultant for a project funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to help manage biodiversity conservation and forest management in Sikkim. The project’s key achievements include:
- Assisting in preparation of Khangchendzonga National Park’s nomination dossier for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List, leading to the park’s inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016.
- Facilitating collaboration with national nodal agencies for research studies on three flagship species and study of impacts of climate change and grazing bans on the Himalayan ecosystem.
- Assisting in technical review of proposals/design and discussion on establishment of Butterfly Park, Biodiversity Center and Biodiversity Training Institute.
- Providing habitat mapping and conservation prioritization planning for Red Panda and Rhododendron niveum.
- Facilitating a socio-economic survey and village-level microplans for ecotourism; facilitating product development, marketing and capacity building in 11 ecotourism zones developed under the project.
- Facilitating and conducting training programs in administrative and financial management for joint forest management committees and eco-development committees as well as skills development and institutional capacity building for self-help groups in 90 villages.
- Facilitating development of national and international marketing strategies for ecotourism development and marketing.
- Providing training to local villagers on ecotourism, including interpretive guide training, hospitality, development of nature- and culture-based ecotourism products, and management of international and national tour programs.
- Facilitating collaboration with IIT Guwahati for comprehensive baseline study on solid waste management.
- Supporting village-level microplan development and implementation of small structures/assets, plantation and income-generation activities by self-help groups in 90 villages.