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14 Aug 2020 | HI-LIFE

At home in the Far Eastern Himalaya

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Homestay tourism under way around Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve

At home in the Far Eastern Himalaya

Fifty women from Passu valley in Pakistan have been tending to a community seabuckthorn plantation, along what used to be an eroded riverbank an hour from their village, since April 2017. The bushes will take another three years to fruit, but in less than one year, the barren patch of unsteady land has become a stable, green oasis. By successfully managing seabuckthorn as an anti-erosion, bioengineering measure, the women have played an instrumental role in strengthening the welfare of their communities. Learning from effective river-training efforts along the Yellow River in China, ICIMOD identified seabuckthorn as a locally available bioengineering measure able to withstand the rough terrain and deliver multiple benefits. ICIMOD and WWF provided the Passu Development Organization’s Women Organization a small grant to plant and water the 5,000 saplings that now line the riverbank. The seabuckthorn bush now serves as a line of defense against the elementsHomestays harness the strengths of the landscape, help communities diversify their livelihoods, and conserve the rich biodiversity. Since 2018, we have been working with community members, helping form self-help groups, organizing capacity building for community tourism development, and facilitating engagement with government and other local partners to expand the role of tourism in sustainable development in eastern Arunachal Pradesh.

Five homestays in MPen II and Lama villages near Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradhesh, India, became operational this year and will be scaled out as a best practice through the Himalaya Calling initiative in the Indian Himalayan region and through government and local partners in Myanmar.

Homestays provide a model of sustainable tourism in the Far Eastern Himalayan Landscape (HI-LIFE) which has vast tourism potential owing to its rich natural and cultural endowments. Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve houses flagship species (such as tiger, hoolock gibbon, white-bellied heron, and Namdapha flying squirrel) and around 450 bird species. Moreover, the area is rich in cultural, culinary, and linguistic diversity.

Homestays harness the strengths of the landscape, help communities diversify their livelihoods, and conserve the rich biodiversity.

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