Cross-Border Sharing of Experiences on Biodiversity Management in the Kailash Sacred Landscape – Nepal and India

   TwitCount

Biodiversity is an important resource in the Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL), a transboundary landscape shared by India, Nepal, and China. It provides numerous ecosystem services, ranging from the provision of food, fuel, and shelter to cultural services including religious pilgrimages and tourism.

The landscape serves as a habitat to numerous species of plants and wildlife, including the caterpillar fungus, yartsa gunbu (Ophiocordyceps sinensis), which is recognized for its medicinal and economic values. Understanding the importance of yartsa gunbu to mountain communities in the landscape, the KSLCDI programme has worked on various aspects of its management since 2013. These include activities targeting sustainable harvesting of yartsa gunbu, preparation of audio-visual and technical documents on pertinent issues, and supporting development of policies for its sustainable management.

With different governing policies across borders, there is a need for collaboration and cooperation to better manage yartsa gunbu and its ecosystem in the KSL. Moreover, there is a need to enhance our understanding of the dimensions of cross-border trade of this resource. In addition to yartsa gunbu, the trade – especially, illegal trade – of resources that are products of biodiversity is also a pertinent issue in the cross-border areas of the landscape. The Darchula (Nepal)–Dharchula (India) cross-border area is an area documented for illegal trade, particularly of wildlife parts. 

Local communities have an important role in managing biodiversity in the landscape. With the federal system of government in place in Nepal, the role of local communities in biodiversity management will be highly significant. Local municipalities and civil society will play an even more crucial role in the sustainable management of biodiversity in the KSL. Across the border, in Pithoragarh district of India, local communities are engaged in biodiversity conservation through Van Panchayats (village forest councils) and other community organizations.

A cross-border dialogue and sharing of experiences and challenges among local leaders and communities from Pithoragarh district, India, and the northwestern mountain districts of Nepal (Bajhang, Darchula, Dolpo, and Humla) is necessary to build collaboration and cooperation for addressing biodiversity management in the KSL. 

The workshop objectives are as follows:

  • Gain an understanding of the status and trends in yartsa gunbu management in KSL-Nepal and KSL-India
  • Identify potential solutions for pressing issues relating to biodiversity management, including yartsa gunbu, in the landscape
  • Identify pathways for curbing illegal trade of medicinal plants and wildlife in the landscape