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Sat, 23 Nov 2019

Northeast Today

Forest Officials of India and Bhutan discusses law enforcement and conservation issues

Forest Officials of India and Bhutan discusses law enforcement and conservation issues
October 15
14:56 2019

NET Bureau

In a first ever effort a meeting between the forest managers and other stakeholders on Indo-Bhutan Jomotsangkha-Barnadi forest complex was held recently at Nonai Forest Range under Dhansiri Forest Division, BTC, Assam, India on 11th October 2019. The Jomotsangkha-Barnadi forest complex spread across India and Bhutan comprising 456 sq.km of contiguous forest located in the eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspot.

Divisional Forest Officials from both the transboundary forest divisions of India and Bhutan attended the meeting and collectively endorsed actions to priorities the forest complex as a single unit to jointly address conservation management issues.

Mr Ugyen Tshring, IFS, Chief Forestry Officer, Jomotsangkha Wildlife Sanctuary, along with seven other forest staff joined from the Bhutan. Mr. Rabinson Narzari, Additional Principal Chief Secretary, BTC, Mr. A. Swargiary, IFS, Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest and Council Head of Forest, BTC; Mr. A Dewan, ACF; Mr. D. Das, ACF; Range Officers and other forest officials of Dhansiri forest division participated in the meeting. Dr. Anupam Sharma and Dr. Hiten Bashya represented from WWF-India. Mr Madhurjay Sharma, Divisional Forest Officer, Dhansiri Forest Division hosted the meeting in collaboration with Aaranyak. Altogether 18 delegates attended the meeting.

The meeting stressed on improving forest law enforcement on the India administered forest areas due to illegal activities that spreads into Bhutanese territory. Mr. Swargiary, APCCF & CHD, BTC suggested to explore the opportunity to bring the remaining forest areas under wildlife protected area network between Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary and Dhansiri River to ensure habitat protection and connectivity in the area. Mr. Narzari, APCS, expressed the potential of ecotourism in the area and stressed that BTC government is developing key tourism infrastructure to promote the area at national and international level. Mr Tshering, CFO, JWLS stated that the Bhutan Forest department is increasing the area of Jomotshangkha WLS by about 900sq.km to ensure ecological security of the region. He also thanked DFO Dhansiri and Aaranyak for facilitating this discussion. He expressed deep concern on illegal tree felling by some people from bordering areas deep inside JWLS which are difficult to patrol for them at a frequent interval. He proposed for joint patrol in those sensitive areas with Indian counterparts.

The findings of a two-year joint research in the Indo-Bhutan Forest Complex carried out by Forest managers of Dhansiri and Jomotsangkha WLS was are presented in the meeting. The research was carried out in technical support from Aaranyak which was supported by WildCat Conservation Alliance. It was found that the forest complex is high in biodiversity with 27 species of mammals recorded during the study using state of the art camera trapping techniques. The team also highlighted that the forest complexes on India side is less significant to conservation and ecosystem due to small size and conservation value of the areas are immense when the entire Indo-Bhutan areas of forest complexes are seen as a single unit. The complex is also a key waterscape for sustainable living and livelihood of lakhs of people living in Udalguri, Darrang and Sonitpur district of Assam.

Dr. M Firoz Ahmed, Head, Tiger Research and Conservation Division of Aaranyak moderated a brainstorming discussion on conservation management constraints and opportunities in this forest complex. Dr. Dipankar Lahkar of Aaranyak opened the discussion presenting the findings of the first ever transboundary level study in this forest complex.

The meeting also decided to organise such discussions at regular intervals and the next meeting is proposed to be held at Jomotsangkha soon.

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