Rhododendron diversity along the Kusong-Panch Pokhari transect in Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the eastern Himalaya: a conservation perspective

Main Article Content

Prem K. Chettri
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6331-3002
Bijoy Chhetri
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9391-5477
Hemant K. Badola
http://orcid.org/0000-0003-4570-4290

Abstract

Sikkim Himalaya, India is part of one of the richest global biodiversity hotspots, exhibiting a significant amount of native flora including Rhododendron (Ericaceae) species, which are particularly well represented with 37 species, 11 subspecies, seven varieties and two natural hybrids occurring along the rolling mountains between 1,500m to 6,000m.  Most of the habitats of rhododendrons in Sikkim Himalaya have not only been threatened by climate change but also by emerging eco-tourism and economic activities vis-à-vis trekking corridors.  In recent decades, it has been observed that the climate-governed phenology of rhododendrons of eastern Himalaya is shifting; further the urbanization, tourism influx, and clearances for the footpaths have adversely impacted the diversity of many forest areas.  To better understand the effects of trekking corridors on Rhododendron species for the tourist destinations, we performed a pilot survey along the Kusong-Panch Pokhari transect in relatively virgin forest of the northern part of Sikkim to assess the status of both Rhododendron diversity and potential environmental management strategies that can be employed within the transect as a new tourist destination in the Sikkim Himalaya.  Along with this transect, we recorded 23 Rhododendron species, with five eastern Himalayan endemics.  Our results indicate that the diversity of rhododendrons seem good along the Kusong-Panch Pokhari transect and we further recommend it could be a new potential eco-tourism destination as an alternative income generating source for the local people, provided that appropriate conservation management strategies are in place.

 

Article Details

How to Cite
[1]
Chettri, P.K., Chhetri, B. and Badola, H.K. 2018. Rhododendron diversity along the Kusong-Panch Pokhari transect in Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, the eastern Himalaya: a conservation perspective. Journal of Threatened Taxa. 10, 1 (Jan. 2018), 11192–11200. DOI:https://doi.org/10.11609/jott.3728.10.1.11192-11200.
Section
Short Communications

References

Acharya, B.K., B, Chettri & L. Vijayan (2011). Distribution pattern of tree along an elevation gradient of eastern Himalayas, India. Acta Oecologica 37: 329–336; http://doi.org/10.1016/j.actao.2011.03.005

Beaugrand G., P.C. Reid, F. Ibanez, J.A. Lindley & M. Edwards (2002). Reorganization of North Atlantic marine copepod biodiversity and climate. Science 296: 1692–1694; http://doi.org/10.1126/science.1071329

Badola, H.K. (2010). Phenology and climate responses in Himalayan rhododendrons, pp. 48–59. In: Mainra, A., H.K. Badola & B. Mohanty (eds). Proceedings of International Conference, Rhododendron: Conservation and Sustainable Use, FEWMD, Government of Sikkim, Gangtok-Sikkim. Printed at CONCEPT, Siliguri-India, 100pp.

Badola, H.K. & B.K. Pradhan (2010a). Discovery of new populations of a rare species Rhododendron niveum in Khangchendzonga National Park, Sikkim. The Rhododendron. Journal Australian Rhododendron Society 50: 41–49.

Badola, H.K. & B.K. Pradhan (2010b). Population exploration of Rhododendron maddenii in Sikkim, bordering Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve - questioning rarity and endangerment. NeBIO 1: 1–9.

Badola, H.K. & J.B. Subba (2012). Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (Sikkim), pp. 133–142. In: Palni, L.M.S., R.S. Rawal, R.K. Rai & S.V. Reddy (eds.). Compendium on Indian Biosphere Reserves: Progression During Two Decades of Conservation, GBPIHED, Kosi-Almora and Ministry of Environment & Forests (Govt of India).

Badola, H.K., J.B. Subba & R.S. Rawal (2016). Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim (India). Nomination Document for UNESCO-MAB net. Submitted to UNESCO through MoEFCC, Govt of India by FEWMD, Govt of Sikkim & GBPNIHESD, India, 203pp.

Chettri, N. (2015). Distribution of butterflies along a trekking corridor in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim, eastern Himalayas. Conservation Science 3: 1–10; http://doi.org/10.3126/cv.v3i1.13767

Chettri, N., E. Sharma, D.C. Deb & R.C. Sundriyal (2002). Effect of firewood extraction on tree structure, regeneration and woody biomass productivity in a trekking corridor of the Sikkim Himalaya. Mountain Research and Development 22: 150-158; http://doi.org/10.1659/0276-

(2002)022[0150:IOFEOT]2.0.CO;2

Gaira, K.S., R.S. Rawal, B. Rawat & I.D. Bhatt (2014). Impact of climate change on the flowering of Rhododendron arboreum in central Himalaya, India. Current Science 106: 1735–1738.

Gibbs, D., D. Chamberlain & G. Argent (2011). The Red List of Rhododendron. Botanical Garden Conservation International, Richmond, United Kingdom, 131pp.

Hooker, J.D. (1849). Notes, chiefly botanical, made during an excursion from Darjeeling to Tonglu. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 18: 419–446.

IPCC (2014). Climate change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part B: Regional Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Barros, V.R., C.B. Field, D.J. Dokken, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, T.E. Bilir, M. Chatterjee, K.L. Ebi, Y.O. Estrada, R.C. Genova, Girma, E.S. Kissel, A.N. Levy, S.

MacCracken, P.R. Mastrandrea & L.L. White (eds.). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Mao, A.A. (2010). The genus Rhododendron in northeast India. Botanica Orientails-Journal Plant Science 7: 26–34; http://doi.org/10.3126/botor.v7i0.4370

Mao, A.A, K.P. Singh & P.K. Hajra (2001). Rhododendrons, pp. 2167–2202. In: Singh, N.P. & D.K. Singh (eds.). Floristic Diversity and Conservation Strategies in India: Volume IV: Angiosperms (Selected Groups). Economic and Ethnobotany, Kolkata, Botanical Survey of India.

Mao, A.A., K.P. Singh & P.K. Hajra (2002). “Rhododendrons, pp. 2167–2202. In: Singh, N.P. & D.K. Singh (eds.). Floristic Diversity and Conservation Strategies in India. BSI, Calcutta.

Menon, S., M.L. Khan, A. Paul & P.A. Townsend (2012).â€Rhododendron Species in the Indian Eastern Himalayas: New Approaches to Understanding Rare Plant Species Distributionsâ€. Journal of American Rhododendron Society Spring/2012: 78–84.

Menon, S., R.G. Pontius J. Jr, Rose, M.L. Khan & K.S. Bawa (2001). Identifying conservation-priority areas in the tropics: A land-use change modeling approach. Conservation Biology 15(2): 501–512; http://doi.org/10.1046/j.1523-1739.2001.015002501.x

Paul, A., M.L. Khan, A. Arunachalam & K. Arunachalam (2005). Biodiversity and conservation of rhododendrons in Arunachal Pradesh in the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot. Current Science 89: 623–634.

Polunin, O. & A. Stainton (2006). Flowers of the Himalaya. 8th Impression, Oxford University Press, 580pp.

Pradhan, B.K. & H.K. Badola (2008). Ethnomedicinal plant use by Lepcha tribe of Dzongu valley, bordering Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, in north Sikkim, India. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 4: 22; http://doi.org/10.1186/1746-4269-4-22

Pradhan, U.C. & S.T. Lachungpa (1990). Sikkim-Himalayan Rhododendrons. Primulaceae Books, Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, 130pp.

Sastry, A.R.K. & P.K. Hajra (2010). Rhododendron in India: Floral and Foliar splendour of the Himalayan Flora. BS Publications, Hyderabad, India, xvi, 182pp.

Sikkim Biodiversity Action Plan (2012). Sikkim Biodiversity Action Plan 2012. Published by Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project (SBFP), FEWMD, Government of Sikkim, Printer at Concept, India (Working group: Badola, H.K., B.S. Kholia, U. Lachungpa, B. Buffum, J. Iguchi & S.K. Patnaik), 44pp.