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International Symposium on Evergreen Oak Forests of Eastern Himalayas held

 

Oak symposiumInternational Symposium on Evergreen Oak Forests of Eastern Himalayas held

 

November 20, 2018 

 

Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok, Sikkim 

 

An International Symposium on Evergreen Oak Forests in Eastern Himalayas was organized by Forests, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim and Deutsche Gesellsechaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), under Climate Change Adaptation North Eastern Region (CCA-NER) Project in Gangtok.

 

The programme was inaugurated by Shri Pawan Chamling, the Chief Minister of Sikkim who was the Chief Guest on the occasion. The programme was attended by Hon’ble Deputy Speaker, Shri Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, Hon’ble Minister for Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management; Mines, Minerals and Geology Department and Science, Technology and Climate Change Department, Shri Tshering Wangdi Lepcha, Hon’ble MLAs, East Zilla Adhyaksha, Shri Shamsher Bokhim, Upadhyaksha South, Shri Bhim Lakhey, Dr H.K. Badola, Advisor to HCM on Biodiversity, DC (East) Shri Kapil Meena, SP (East), Heads of Departments, officers of different departments, Foreign delegates – Project Director, Dr. Peter Gross, GIZ, CCA-NER Project, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Jurgen Huss, Chair of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Germany, delegates from Bhutan Shri Passang Wangchen Norbu, Chief Forestry Officer, Department of Forests and Parks Services, Government of Bhutan and his team, Nepal and Indian delegates from North Eastern Region.

 

Shri M.L. Srivastava, PCCF cum Principal Secretary, Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department welcomed the Chief Guest and participants and gave an overview on oak forests of Sikkim. He apprised the august gathering about the green initiatives being taken up by the present State Government under the visionary leadership of Shri Pawan Chamling, Honourable Chief Minister of Sikkim. He mentioned that Oak forests contribute significantly to the State’s forest cover. Oak forests render vital ecosystem services as well as serve as effective carbon sink. He also highlighted about eleven oak species in Sikkim which are distributed over elevation of 1000m to 3500m altitude in Eastern Himalayas.  Oak forest contributes to floral and faunal diversity. Mr. Srivastava also stressed upon that this symposium would be helpful in developing techniques and methodologies for propagation and conservation of oak forests.

 

Dr. Peter Gross, Project Director, GIZ, CCA-NER Project deliberated on the objectives of the symposium and importance of Oak Forest. He further highlighted that today, the virgin forests are rare and forest do not grow alone in many cases. Human interventions are needed for its functional management and regeneration. Dr. Dr. Jurgen Huss, Chair of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Germany in his keynote speech mentioned about the vast uses of oak wood and ecosystem services provided by the oak forests in Central Europe. Oak forests in many parts of the globe are degrading and need to be conserved. There is need to set goals for future oak management.

 

The Chief Guest in his address elucidated that for the last 24 years Sikkim has shown rapid progress in the field of biodiversity and environmental conservation and sustainable development, specially focusing on how best our forest cover expanded and helped in contributing to a greener regional landscape. Besides Khangchendzonga National Park being recognized as mixed World Heritage Site and inclusion of Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve in the World Network of Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim was recently conferred with the “Future Policy Gold Award” for its state policy on organic farming under Sikkim Organic Mission. The Hon’ble Chief Minister also highlighted that oak forests are very close to Himalayan people for their deep rooted relationship, giving high socio-cultural and environmental benefits.

 

He was delighted that Sikkim is part of such collaborative approach for the biodiversity conservation worldwide, including oak forests, especially in Sikkim Himalayas. The Chief Guest appreciated the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and requested for long term collaboration for conservation and regeneration of oak forest of Sikkim using scientific and innovative techniques. Inaugural session was concluded with vote of thanks by Shri Y.P. Gurung, Chief Conservator of Forest, FEWMD.

 

The inaugural programme was followed by Technical Sessions on two themes namely – Distribution, Ecology and Vulnerability of Oak Forests in the Eastern Himalayas and Regeneration of Oak Forests – Approaches and Experiences. Ms. Yangchenla Bhutia, Ph D. Scholar, ATREE presented her works on Status of Oaks and related species for management and conservation strategies under thematic session I. Similarly, Shri Subhankar Gurung, Ph D. Scholar, Department of Botany, Sikkim University presented works on “Vegetation Analysis of Oak Forest of Fambonglho Wildlife Sanctuary and Assessment of Vulnerability of Oak Species to climate change in Sikkim Himalayas”.

 

Prof. Shri Kant Tripathi, Head, Forestry Department, Mizoram University shared a study on “Litter Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics in Oak Forests of Mizoram and Manipur in North East India. Dr. Somidh Saha (Scientist, KIT, Karlsruhe, Germany) gave presentation on “Assessing restoration potential of fragmented and degraded Fagaceae forests in Meghalaya, NE India. The last presentation on theme I was given by Shri Anudip Gogoi (Research Scholar, Forestry Department, Mizoram University) on “Population structure and regeneration status of four oak species in a sub-alpine forest of Mizoram, NE India”.

 

The second thematic session was on Regeneration of Oak Forests- Approaches and Experiences.

 

Under the second session Shri Passang Wangchen Norbu (Chief Forestry Officer, Department of Forests & Park Services, Govt. of Bhutan) presented his works on “Saving the oaks- conservation and sustainable management of high altitude oak forests”. Dr. Peter Gross presented on “Oak forest regeneration through direct seeding: the Sikkim experience”.

 

It was followed by Dr. N. Bijayalaxmi Devi (Associate Professor, Dept. of Botany, Sikkim University, Gangtok) deliberation on “ The carbon sequestration potential of three evergreen oak species of Sikkim Himalayas” . Mr. Ashok Kumar Negi (DFO, Forest Department, Himachal Pradesh) shared his experiences on “Distribution and ecology of oaks in India.”

 

Shri Ao Supongnukshi( CCF & State Nodal Officer for Climate Change, Deptt. of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Govt. of Nagaland) made presentation on “Management of Oak Forest in Nagaland-Socio Economic and Institutional Aspects”. Shri Vikram Pradhan, Researcher, ATREE, Regional Office, Eastern Himalayas shared his presentation on “Monitoring the seeding of oaks in pilot sites of Sikkim Himalayas”. The participating delegates were felicitated.

 

Technical session was summed up by Shri M.L. Srivastava, PCCF cum Principal Secretary, Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim and the Project Director Dr. Peter Gross, GIZ and the programme concluded with vote of thanks from Shri Karma Legshey D. Additional Project Director-I, FEWMD.

 

The delegates then made a field excursion to Karthok Reserve Forest, Pakyong East Sikkim on 21st November 2018 for observing direct seeding trial plot created earlier.

 

(Source: FEWMD)