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SECURING Himalayas: An Update

The Government of India and United Nations Development Programme, with support from the Global Environment Facility, are implementing a programme in the high altitude Himalayas entitled “SECURE Himalayas - Securing livelihoods, conservation, sustainable use and restoration of high range Himalayan ecosystems”, to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources in the high Himalayan ecosystem, while enhancing the lives and livelihoods of local communities.

Zanskar and Pri Panjal ranges are known to host Snow leopard and hence future research may actually also look into to networked habitat across state borders. For Himachal Pradesh the habitat suitability report for conserving Snow leopard was prepared for Pangi Valley by International Centre of Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Based on geospatial analysis and community consultations, the conservation and management of Snow Leopard habitat needs more perspective on the interstate boundary connect and the distribution of habitat across the adjoining states e.g., Hemis National Park in Ladakh Union Territory, which is a well-known area for snow leopard occurrence. Also, the HPFD must coordinate with Ladakh as well as with J&K for wider conservation paradigm for Snow leopard.

Moreover, since the area is still used by local communities, local communities must be part of the future planning. Their local knowledge and networking could be used for better conservation. For instance, they can be incentivised for illegal poaching related intelligentsia. Also, we can use good local practices such as a local Panchayat in Pangi Valley to acknowledge how the destruction of Birch Forests has put the area under total protection.

Lastly, existing projects of KfW (HP Forest ecosystem Climate Proofing Project) and Climate Project on Apple must be connected, having a cross-sectoral coordination for a landscape based conservation of the flagship species.

For both the above-mentioned projects Rajan Kotru was an integral part concept development and implementation while at ICIMOD and is currently contributing on part of REST to ensure that these projects bring forward looking outcomes.

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