Projects : Pilot study for Long Term Ecological Restoration and Monitoring in Darjeeling Hills - Nature based solutions to Climate Change
Year Started – 2023 (November)
Name of the Funding Partner / Institution – The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
Project PI – Dr. Barkha Subba
Research Assistants – Ms Riza Chettri, Mr. Mukul Gurung and Mr. Deoasish Thapa
About the project
The biodiversity rich Eastern Himalayan region of Darjeeling is home to extensive tea agroecosystems that are regularly used by native fauna. The Sikkim-Darjeeling landscape has been recognized for its exceptional biodiversity values, being situated within the Eastern Himalaya biodiversity hotspot. The region’s importance is further exemplified by its inclusion in the transboundary Kangchenjunga Conservation Landscape, important for its biodiversity, ecosystem services, and cultural values. A defining factor that separates Darjeeling from other parts of this landscape is the presence of extensive tea gardens and the associated agroecosystems in close proximity to protected areas, human settlements, and khasmal forests.
Since both tea garden and community managed forests are facing multiple threats, for instance, land use change, fragmentation, and overexploitation, the current favourable milieu of transitioning to organic and other environment friendly production methods among the tea gardeners provides a timely opportunity to create a coalition towards restoration of forests in the region. Restoration of forest fragments in the Darjeeling Himalayan region can make critical contributions to furthering transboundary conservation landscapes and protection of corridors that ensure critical ecosystem functioning of the protected areas and other adjoining forest patches.
Towards this larger objective, a reconnaissance survey is being proposed aimed at identifying suitable areas for eco-restoration in the tea garden forest areas of Darjeeling. Such a survey serves as a crucial preliminary step in the planning and implementation of effective ecological restoration initiatives. We expect the outcomes of this project to provide the basis for selection and prioritisation of long-term eco-restoration sites in the region and the formation of a perspective plan to guide the process.
 Forest land settled and set aside by the Government for meeting the bonafide domestic need of timber, firewood and fodder of the residents of adjoining villages.