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| Last Updated::18/03/2023

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Sikkim-The Green State of India

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Sikkim covering just 0.2% of the country’s geographical area has about 26% of total floral biodiversity of the country. Spread across 7096 sq km in the North-Eastern part of India, this small Himalayan State has 82.31% of its land as recorded forest land including snow-capped mountains, alpine pastures, rivers and lakes. The State is endowed with rich floral and faunal diversity. Species wise, the State harbors over 5500 flowering plants, 557 Orchids, 38 Rhododendrons, 16 Conifers, 28 Bamboos, 480 Ferns and its allies, 9 Tree Ferns, 30 Primulas, 11 Oaks, 1681 Medicinal plants, 144+ mammals, 568 Birds, 48 Fishes, and over 689 Butterflies and 7000 species of Moths. Sikkim also has 28 Mountains and Peaks, more than 80 Glaciers, 534 high altitude lakes/wetlands and over 104 rivers and streams. Sikkim holds the country’s highest state-wise percentage of Protected Area network housing seven wildlife sanctuaries and one national park covering 31% of state’s geographical area.


Mount Khangchendzonga (8,586 meters), the world’s third-highest mountain peak and revered as a guardian deity, is situated on the border between Sikkim and Nepal. Khangchendzonga National Park covering 1784 sq km is India’s first UNESCO designated World Heritage site on mixed criteria (Nature and Culture) conferred during 2016. Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is in UNESCO’s list of World Network of Biosphere Reserve conferred during 2018.


The forest cover in Sikkim is 47% of the state’s geographical area with the forest cover below the tree line being 81%. The tree cover outside recorded forest area has increased by 3 sq km (as per FSI’s SFR 2021) since 2019. Nearly 80% of these forests come under the dense forest category and comprise of old growth natural forests.


The hosts of pro-environment and sustainable policies of the state government are unique and have been also been adopted by other states. These include ban on plastic carry bags, firecrackers, Styrofoam products, burning of waste, burning of tyres, use of polythene carry bags, use of packaged drinking water bottles in government functions and meetings and trade of medicinal plants. Efforts are being made to discourage the use of single use plastic products as well. Sikkim is the first and only fully certified organic state of the country. The state government has initiated several programmes mobilizing public participation for strengthening the connect between nature and people. Such programmes include A Day for Mother Earth on July 7 every year, declaration of heritage trees, Mith trees, Smritivan, Mero Rukh Mero Santati – planting 100 trees for every newborn in Sikkim which all have been well received by the people of Sikkim.


As a testimony to all the efforts, Sikkim State over the years has received several international and national accolades. The Green energy harvested from NHPC’s 510 MW Teesta-V power station was conferred prestigious Blue Planet Prize by a London based International Hydropower Association (IHA), Sikkim was adjudged the Best performing state in Economy and the Most improved Small State in Environment and Law & Order the received the India Today State of the States Awards for (November 2021). East District of Sikkim (score 75.87) was ranked 1st in NITI Aayog’s NER District SDG Index Report 2021-22 from among the top 103 districts of the Northeast during August 2021.