Plant Collection Expedition in Eastern Nepal

Aug. 1, 2007

The Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal (ESON) recently organized a 3-week field visit to study the floral diversity in seven Village Development Communities along the Lower Kangchenjunga-Singalila Ridge in the Eastern Himalayas Region.

Eight members from the ESON team led by ESON President Krishna Shrestha were accompanied by two field staff representing local partners - the Deep Jyoti Youth Club in Panchthar, and the Shree High Altitude Herb Growers Group of Ilam.

During the three weeks, the team recorded the status, richness, and diversity of plants of forest and agricultural land in the project sites. This information was then disseminated to the local community, who gained knowledge about the management and significance of such ecological research.

The Lower Kanchenjungha Singalila Ridge, a priority area for Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) investment, is rich in plant species and habitats that play an important role in the local economy and livelihoods of local communities.

Altogether 10 types of forests were recorded, of which Lithocarpus pachyphylla and Quercus lamellosa forests were prominent. About 250 plant species were collected. Six species of Berberis and five species of Michelia and Magnolia were reported and some specimens are in the process of being identified from the June field visit.

The field visit is part of a larger ESON project supported by CEPF as part of our strategic direction to secure key biodiversity areas in the eastern Himalayas. The field study findings will help to identify important plant areas and strategies for their conservation.

Threats such as chronic collection of nontimber forest products; harvest of trees for fuel, fodder, and lumber; and conversion of forests for agriculture contribute to ecosystem degradation and habitat loss throughout the Himalayas.

* This story was adapted from the Eastern Himalayas Bulletin produced by the CEPF Coordination Team in the region.

Download the complete Eastern Himalayas Bulletin, Issue 2 July 2007 (PDF, 1.08 MB)