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Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative
16 March 2021 to
18 March 2021
Tashi Dorji & Prashanti Sharma
Human–wildlife conflict (HWC) transcends geographic boundaries and is widespread among the three countries in the Kangchenjunga Landscape: Bhutan, India, and Nepal. Wildlife habitats in these countries are under pressure from encroachment, infrastructure development and resource extraction, forcing wild species to intrude into human use areas. In Bhutan, many communities depend on forests and practise subsistence farming and livestock rearing. These communities are particularly vulnerable to HWC, which affects their socioeconomic and psychological wellbeing and food security.
Crop raiding and livestock depredation are the most common forms of HWC in Bhutan, especially affecting the rural poor. Carnivores like tiger, snow leopard, common leopard, black bear, wild dog, and smaller cats depredate various types of domestic livestock and poultry, whereas ungulates like wild boar, sambar, and barking deer raid crop fields and orchards.
Given the severe impacts of HWC on local livelihoods and its conservation implications, there is a need to develop a better understanding of the patterns, seasonality, extent, and intensity of conflict. Bhutan’s Nature Conservation Division (NCD) and Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS) have prioritized mapping of HWC hotspots at the national level. The aim is to identify areas under high risk of HWC, understand the interactions, analyse possible drivers, and prioritize conservation efforts. For this, frontline workers must possess adequate skills to map and understand HWC dynamics and prioritize mitigation measures.
Against this backdrop, ICIMOD through its Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) is organizing an online training for Bhutan’s forestry field staff. The training is expected to enhance understanding of the variability of HWC across space using spatial modelling. The training is expected to build the capacity of frontline staff and relevant partners to develop maps and analyse HWC using these spatial tools.
The objective of the training is to share findings and methodological details from HWC mapping in the Kangchenjunga Landscape and apply similar methods to Bhutan.
The specific objectives of the training include the following:
Around 25–30 HWC focal officials from the Department of Forest and Park Services, research institutions, universities, protected areas, and forest divisions across Bhutan will participate.
Participants will be trained in GIS data preparation, analysis, and interpretation of HWC hotspot maps. Upon completion of the training, participants will have acquired the technical competency to prepare HWC hotspot maps at the national and sub-regional level.