Conserving Sacred Spaces: Kanchendzonga Conservation Committee, Sikkim
Written Specially for Vikalp Sangam
Located in the Eastern Himalayan region, Sikkim is the second smallest (7096 sq. km) and one of the least populous states of India. This region represents one of the biodiversity hotspots of the world (Myers et al, 2000). Located in the lap of the third highest mountain in the world, the Kanchendzonga landscape is an important part of the Eastern Himalayan region. The stunning variation in altitude (1220 metres to 8586 metres) with its exceptionally high biodiversity, coupled with the existence of nine major ethnic communities living within the landscape make this landscape a prime destination for tourists given its rich natural and cultural heritage. Due to very limited industrial growth in the landscape, tourism is becoming a major source of employment for the local people (Rai and Sundriyal, 1990), and since 1990's there has been a significant rise in tourist numbers (Maharana et al, 2000).
Watch a film clip - A Quick Glimpse at the work of the Kanchendzonga Conservation Committee that has innovatively reduced deforestation by banning collection of firewood (which was used for cooking, heating and camp-fires), and introduced waste management through monitoring of garbage lists.