Regional Experience Sharing Consultation on Landscape Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Management in the Eastern Himalayas

The ‘Regional Experience Sharing Consultation on Landscape Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Management in the Eastern Himalayas’ organised by ICIMOD in collaboration with Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, at Tengchong County of Yunnan Province of China was an effort towards initiating the process of transboundary biodiversity management in the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape.

The Brahmaputra Salween Landscape referred here is an exceptionally biodiversity-rich area in the world shared by China, India and Myanmar. Being located at the juncture of Indo Malayan, Palaeoarctic and Sino-Japanese floristic realms, there are high proportion of endemics. About 60 % of the flowering plants of the eastern Himalayas are said to be confined to this region. The Landscape hosts many protected areas such as Namdapha Biosphere Reserve (Arunachal Pradesh, India), Hkakaborazi National Park (Kachin State, Myanmar) and Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve (Yunnan Province, China). These protected areas share contiguous habitat for several species of global importance such as tiger, clouded leopard, snow leopard, common leopard, hollock gibbon, Namdapha-flying squirrel as well as many floral components. Many ethnic communities with their diverse socio-cultural and socio-economic variations are an integral part of this complex. Their interdependency with the natural resources of this complex has been convoluted with poverty, inaccessibility and insufficient developmental opportunities.

The major objective of the consultation was to provide a platform to share experiences of ongoing landscape approaches in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region, and to bring together China, India, and Myanmar to explore opportunities for collective conservation action for the Landscape.

About 25 experts and professionals from five of ICIMOD’s eight regional member countries representing government organisations, scientific institutions, civil society groups, INGOs, ICIMOD, and the UNEP Regional Office for Asia participated in the consultation. The inaugural session emphasised the need for collaborative and integrative efforts based on the landscape approach for biodiversity management in the HKH region. The experience sharing sessions highlighted various models of the landscape approach piloted in the HKH region. China, India, and Myanmar shared national level conservation practices, connectivity approaches, research experiences, and socioeconomic and biodiversity features from Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in China, Namdapha Tiger Reserve (National Park) in India, and Hkakaboraji National Park in Myanmar. Transboundary issues, thematic areas for technical cooperation, and areas for regional capacity building were identified , together with discussion on steps forward.

Field visits were made to: a monitoring field site and a tree nursery at the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve, an ecotourism centre of Tengchong, the Heshun Township National Geology Park of Volcanoes, and the museum of volcanoes and geothermal resources.