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The Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalayas (HI-LIFE) works towards the improved management of a globally significant, biodiversity-rich landscape that stretches across China, India, and Myanmar.
At a glance
Enhanced regional collaboration for a better flow of culture, trade, and ideas across the landscape, leading to the improved management of natural resources
We aim to connect communities from the far-eastern Himalaya to identify co-benefits, expand and share knowledge, and contribute to effective policy development and management practices. By doing so, we seek to improve livelihoods while conserving shared environments.
HI-LIFE (formerly the Brahmaputra-Salween Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative, or BSLCDI) is a collaborative effort between ICIMOD and the governments of China, India, and Myanmar.
Our partners have developed a framework for cooperation and common understanding on transboundary landscape issues, which will provide a basis for an integrated and participatory approach for conservation, adaptation, and sustainable development within the context of global climate change.
2018–2022 (implementation phase)
Strengthened regional partnerships, maximized livelihoods and conservation co-benefits, expansive scientific knowledge base, and integrated policies
China, India, and Myanmar
HI-LIFE adopts a transboundary landscape approach to achieve the twin objectives of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. Read the flyer to learn about its goals and interventions in the far-eastern Himalaya.
The Far Eastern Himalaya connects three global biodiversity hotspots and is home to eight ecoregions and nine important bird areas. The rivers that originate and pass through the landscape – the Irrawaddy, the Salween, and tributaries of the Brahmaputra – provide ecosystem services to communities that live far beyond its borders. The landscape, with 80% forest cover, is home to many species of rare, endemic and threatened flora and fauna.
Download the poster here
News and features
Highlighting the KSLCDI (India) Newsletter, SANGJU, from our key partner G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment (NIHE), that has a number of stories related to our work on Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), Kangchenjunga Landscape (KL), and far-eastern Himalaya (HI-LIFE).
Take a look at our latest publications along with a brief summary
We have a deep history of work across a broad range of issues enabling sustainable development in the complex environment of the HKH. We have been protecting the pulse for over three decades.
Mountain ecosystems are among the most diverse and vulnerable on earth.
Two million square kilometres of rangeland sprawl across the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the largest and most diverse mountain setting for rangeland in the world.
Events around the HKH
HI-LIFE is a collaborative effort of the governments of China, India, and Myanmar and is facilitated by ICIMOD.
Primates of the Far Eastern Himalaya
A family of Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys on a snowy day
Photo: Jiansheng Peng
Location: Baima Snow Mountain National Nature Reserve, Deqin County, Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan province, China
A Gaoligong hoolock gibbon feeding on the fruit of Rhaphidophora hookeri in Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in 2013. These gibbons are endangered and are a first-level protected species in China. Since they are canopy dwellers it is difficult to catch a close-up of feeding behaviour. Moreover, the gibbons are timid and sensitive. Fortunately, since the gibbon couldn’t resist the fruit in his hand, I had enough time to capture his cute facial expressions. Plants in the Araceae family are said to be toxic and I noticed that the gibbon often opened his mouth and stuck out his tongue. Looking at his yellow tongue, I thought that although the fruit may be delicious his tongue will go numb if he ate too much.
Photo: Lei Dong
Location: Longyang District, Baoshan, Yunnan province, China
The Golden Langur (Trachypithecus geei) is an endangered species of primate endemic to Bhutan and adjoining areas of Assam. The Assam population is severely affected by deforestation and loss of habitat. Bhutan is the last bastion for their survival as a species.
Photo: Phub Dorji
Location: South East Bhutan
A portrait of a golden langur.
Photo: Chirantanu Saikia
While trekking in the Garbhanga Reserve Forest in Assam, I came across a troop of capped langurs (Trachypithecus pileatus) on the forest fringe. This individual stopped right in its track and stared deep into my camera for a few seconds, enabling me to capture the moment. The morning light enhanced the golden colour of its coat.
Photo: Iftiaque Hussain
Location: Garbhanga Reserve Forest, Guwahati, Assam, India
Let them stay in peace in their natural habitat.
Photo: Phub Dorji
Location: Eastern Bhutan
A troop of capped langurs led by the alpha male and consisting of several females and offspring, photographed while trekking in Pancharatna Hill on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Assam’s Goalpara District. Capped langurs are arboreal and rarely come down to the ground, so photographing them is quite challenging. They are found in Bhutan, Myanmar, India and Bangladesh. Their population is declining because of habitat loss.
Photo: Rupjyoti Rabha
Location: Goalpara, Assam, India
The Gaoligong hoolock gibbon is one of China’s first-level protected animals and one of the most endangered wild species. They are estimated to number less than 150 and most gibbon families live in fragmented forests. The gibbon marks its territory by vocalizing (calling) in the early morning. In the spring of 2012, when I was shooting a family of gibbons, I happened to catch up with their calling time. The male was enjoying calling in front of me, with innocent eyes, a bright singing voice, and a lovely mouth shape.
I haven’t seen many photos with a Chinese national first-level protected animal, the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon, and a Chinese national first-level protected plant, Magnolia cathcartii, in the same frame. I took this picture in 2018, while tracking a gibbon family. Through a gap in the forest canopy, I could see the mother gibbon sitting on a tree eating fruit. I hurriedly took a few photos and she left. I didn’t expect that the gibbon and the magnolia were together at that moment! Because the leaves are very similar, I thought that the fruit was also of the magnolia. After consulting with an expert, I found that the gibbon was sitting on a banyan tree and feeding on a fig. But it happened that there was also a flowering magnolia, which was indeed lucky.
An adult male stump-tailed macaque (Macaca arctoides).
Photo: Mridu Paban Phukan
Location: Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam, India
A Yunnan snub-nosed monkey and her child in their natural habitat.
As the final light of the day hid behind the canopy, the first bat of the night unfolded its wings, and the last bird of the day went to its roost, we started our night safari in Lawachara National Park in search of the red-eye. On that mysterious forest trail we found two shiny eyes in a tree, a female Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus bengalensis). One of the least known primates due to its nocturnal behavior, this globally vulnerable species has a serious toxic bite that is often used against predators. Female lorises are known to protect infants by licking the toxin onto their fur.
Photo: Sabit Hasan
Location: Lawachara National Park, Sreemangal, Bangladesh
The loss of canopy connectivity is the main threat to strictly arboreal high canopy animals like the hoolock gibbon. Habitat fragmentation due to highways, railway lines and other linear infrastructure is the main threat to hoolock gibbon survival in Bangladesh, greatly influencing their daily path length (DPL). To fulfill their DPL and food demands they sometimes have to make long jumps over roads or railway lines and these could be life-threatening. Here, a gibbon group that has reached the end of the canopy connection decides to make a long jump. If fragmentation continues, what is the future for these animals?
A Myanmar snub-nosed monkey in its natural habitat in the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in Lushui City, Yunnan, China, adjacent to Northern Myanmar.
Photo: Bin Wang
Location: Lushui, Nujiang Lisu Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China
You will find publications produced or related to this Initiative in HimalDoc, our publications repository. These resources include journal articles, books, book chapters, research reports, working papers, brochures, information sheets, and publicity materials, among other products.
We embrace diversity
Both internally and externally, our multicultural staff and partners are our greatest asset. They provide us with a broad perspective across disciplines and offer us localized knowledge like no other.