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13 Aug 2021 | KSL

Kailash CAFE: Promoting sustainability in the Kailash Sacred Landscape through academic collaboration

Syed Muhammad Abubakar & Srijana Joshi

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Presenters engaging in a Q&A session during the Kailash CAFE. (Sushmita Kunwar/ICIMOD)

The Kailash Consortium of Academics and Researchers for Experience-sharing (Kailash CAFE) showcased the diversity of research conducted on the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), promoted research collaboration in academia, and assisted in determining areas for future interventions. It was also the first time experts conducting research in the KSL came together to find ways to promote sustainability in the landscape. This was made possible mainly due to the popularization of digital platforms during the pandemic.

The next step in this emerging collaboration from the Kailash CAFE will be a collection of research articles on topics presented at the event that will be published as a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal. As recommended by the partners, the Kailash CAFE will continue as a networking platform, where researchers can meet virtually, share their research ideas and findings, and collaborate on future projects.

In his opening remarks at the CAFE, our Director General Pema Gyamtsho highlighted the significance of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region as a critical natural asset for its cultural and biological diversity. Gyamtsho hoped that the Kailash CAFE will serve as a platform to bring together researchers across the KSL, explore future research collaborations and further networking opportunities.

The first day focused on ‘landscapes and biodiversity’, where experts and researchers presented on topics ranging from landscape approaches to building resilience in the Kailash Sacred Landscape, dendroecological and dendroclimatic study in the Api Nampa Conservation Area of Nepal, local peoples’ perceptions on invasive alien plant species in India, and the breeding status of Himalayan griffon (Gyps himalayensis) in Baitadi District, Nepal.

The second day covered ‘ecosystem services and sustainable livelihoods’ with presentations on forest cover change in the districts of far-west Nepal, effects of caterpillar fungus extraction on alpine ecosystems, and the trade potential of seed oils in KSL. Researchers also presented posters in two breakout rooms. These posters can be viewed on the Kailash CAFE event page.

The third day focused on ‘culture and heritage’ and ‘technology’, with presentations on mapping hotspots and coldspots of cultural ecosystem services, the visual representation of the KSL, and architectural reflection of shared cultural heritage of transhumance routes in Pithoragarh. The technology session included presentations on the significance of reetha (Sapindus mukorossi) seed oil for medicinal purposes, characterization of oils extracted from wild apricot (Prunus davidiana), and iHeritage, a citizen science mobile application for collecting cultural heritage data from the landscape.

The fourth and last day of Kailash CAFE covered ‘gender and governance’ with presentations on resilience building of women traders in KSL, green fodder resource diversity, and tourism and rural livelihoods. Kailash CAFE 2021 concluded with remarks from the representatives of partner institutions in China, India, and Nepal.

This four-day virtual event, held from 20 to 23 April 2021, brought together a diverse set of researchers working on various issues in the Kailash Sacred Landscape. A total of 35 abstracts were submitted by the researchers, of which 29 were shortlisted and reviewed by the Knowledge Committee, comprised of eleven subject experts specializing in subject areas related to the theme of Kailash CAFE.


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