Khangchendzonga National Park
Khangchendzonga National Park is one of the world’s most heterogeneous protected areas. It spans over 7 kilometres in altitude, and ranges from subtropical forests to the snow-clad peaks of the world’s third highest mountain, Mt. Khangchendzonga. The property’s biota is no less diverse, with thousands of recorded species, many of which are endemic and/or of particular conservation concern. The property, and especially Mt. Khangchendzonga, are also at the heart of the region’s cultural heritage, being pivotal in both Tibetan Buddhist and pre-Buddhist worship, both of which are still heavily practiced.
Khangchendzonga National Park
MIXED NATURAL & CULTURAL WORLD HERITAGE SITE
2016: Inscribed on the World Heritage List under natural criteria x and vii + cultural criteria iii and vi
STATEMENT OF OUTSTANDING UNIVERSAL VALUE
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee issued the following Statement of Outstanding Universal Value at the time of inscription:
Situated in the northern Indian State of Sikkim, Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) exhibits one of the widest altitudinal ranges of any protected area worldwide. The Park has an extraordinary vertical sweep of over 7 kilometres (1,220m to 8,586m) within an area of only 178,400 ha and comprises a unique diversity of lowlands, steep-sided valleys and spectacular snow-clad mountains including the world’s third highest peak, Mt. Khangchendzonga. Numerous lakes and glaciers, including the 26 km long Zemu Glacier, dot the barren high altitudes.
The property falls within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot and displays an unsurpassed range of sub-tropical to alpine ecosystems. The Himalayas are narrowest here resulting in extremely steep terrain which magnifies the distinction between the various ecozones which characterise the property. The Park is located within a mountain range of global biodiversity conservation significance and covers 25% of the State of Sikkim, acknowledged as one of India’s most significant biodiversity concentrations. The property is home to a significant number of endemic, rare and threatened plant and animal species. The property has one of the highest number of plant and mammal species recorded in the Central/High Asian Mountains, and also has a high number of bird species.
Khangchendzonga National Park’s grandeur is undeniable and the Khangchendzonga Massif, other peaks and landscape features are revered across several cultures and religions. The combination of extremely high and rugged mountains covered by intact old growth forests up to the unusually high timberline further adds to the exceptional landscape beauty.
Mount Khangchendzonga and many natural features within the property and its wider setting are endowed with deep cultural meanings and sacred significance, giving form to the multi-layered landscape of Khangchendzonga, which is sacred as a hidden land both to Buddhists (Beyul) and to Lepchas as Mayel Lyang, representing a unique example of co-existence and exchange between different religious traditions and ethnicities, constituting the base for Sikkimese identity and unity. The ensemble of myths, stories and notable events, as well as the sacred texts themselves, convey and make manifest the cultural meanings projected onto natural resources and the indigenous and specific Buddhist cosmogony that developed in the Himalayan region.
The indigenous traditional knowledge of the properties of local plants and the local ecosystem, which is peculiar to local peoples, is on the verge of disappearing and represents a precious source of information on the healing properties of several endemic plants. The traditional and ritual management system of forests and the natural resources of the land pertaining to Buddhist monasteries express the active dimension of Buddhist cosmogonies and could contribute to the property's effective management.
Criterion (iii): The property – with Mount Khangchendzonga and other sacred mountains represents the core sacred region of the Sikkimese and syncretistic religious and cultural traditions and thus bears unique witness to the coexistence of multiple layers of both Buddhist and pre-Buddhist sacred meanings in the same region, with the abode of mountain deity on Mt Khangchendzonga. The property is central to the Buddhist understanding of Sikkim as a beyul, that is, an intact site of religious ritual and cultural practice for Tibetan Buddhists in Sikkim, in neighbouring countries and all over the world. The sacred Buddhist importance of the place begins in the 8th century with Guru Rinpoche’s initiation of the Buddhist sanctity of the region, and later appears in Buddhist scriptures such as the prophetical text known as the Lama Gongdu, revealed by Terton Sangay Lingpa (1340- 1396), followed by the opening of the beyul in the 17th century, chiefly by Lhatsun Namkha Jigme.
Criterion (vi): Khangchedzonga National Park is the heartland of a multi-ethnic culture which has evolved over time, giving rise to a multi-layered syncretic religious tradition, which centres on the natural environment and its notable features. This kinship is expressed by the region surrounding Mount Khangchendzonga being revered as Mayel Lyang by the indigenous peoples of Sikkim and as a beyul (sacred hidden land) in Tibetan Buddhism. It is a specific Sikkimese form of sacred mountain cult which is sustained by regularly-performed rituals, both by Lepcha people and Bhutias, the latter performing two rituals: the Nay-Sol and the Pang Lhabsol. The kinship between the human communities and the mountainous environment has nurtured the elaboration of a profound traditional knowledge of the natural resources and of their properties, particularly within the Lepcha community. Mount Khangchendzonga is the central element of the socio-religious order, of the unity and solidarity of the ethnically very diverse Sikkimese communities.
Criterion (vii): The scale and grandeur of the Khangchendzonga Massif and the numerous other peaks within Khangchendzonga National Park are extraordinary and contribute to a landscape that is revered across several cultures and religions. The third highest peak on the planet, Mt. Khangchendzonga (8,586 m asl) straddles the western boundary of Khangchendzonga National Park and is one of 20 picturesque peaks measuring over 6,000 m located within the park. The combination of extremely high and rugged mountains covered by intact old-growth forests up to the unusually high timberline and the pronounced altitudinal vegetation zones further adds to the exceptional landscape beauty. These peaks have attracted people from all over the world, mountaineers, photographers and those seeking spiritual fulfilment. The park boasts eighteen glaciers including Zemu Glacier, one of the largest in Asia, occupying an area of around 10,700 ha. Similarly, there are 73 glacial lakes in the property including over eighteen crystal clear and placid high altitude lakes.
Criterion (x): Khangchendzonga National Park is located within a mountain range of global biodiversity conservation significance and covers 25% of the State of Sikkim, acknowledged as one of the most significant biodiversity concentrations in India. The property has one of the highest levels of plant and mammal diversity recorded within the Central/High Asian Mountains. Khangchendzonga National Park is home to nearly half of India’s bird diversity, wild trees, orchids and rhododendrons and one third of the country's flowering plants. It contains the widest and most extensive zone of krummholz (stunted forest) in the Himalayan region. It also provides a critical refuge for a range of endemic, rare and threatened species of plants and animals. The national park exhibits an extraordinary altitudinal range of more than 7 kilometres in a relatively small area giving rise to an exceptional range of eastern Himalaya landscapes and associated wildlife habitat. This ecosystem mosaic provides a critical refuge for an impressive range of large mammals, including several apex predators. A remarkable six cat species have been confirmed (Leopard, Clouded Leopard, Snow Leopard, Jungle Cat, Golden Cat, Leopard Cat) within the park. Flagship species include Snow Leopard as the largest Himalayan predator, Jackal, Tibetan Wolf, large Indian Civet, Red Panda, Goral, Blue Sheep, Himalayan Tahr, Mainland Serow, two species of Musk Deer, two primates, four species of pika and several rodent species, including the particoloured Flying Squirrel.
Khangchendzonga National Park has an adequate size to sustain the complete representation of its Outstanding Universal Value. The Park was established in 1977 and later expanded in 1997 to include the major mountains and the glaciers and additional lowland forests. The more than doubling in size also accommodated the larger ranges of seasonally migrating animals. The property comprises some 178,400 ha with a buffer zone of some 114,712 ha included within the larger Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve which overlays the property. The property encompasses a unique mountain system comprising of peaks, glaciers, lakes, rivers and an entire range of ecologically-linked biological elements, which ensures the sustainability of unique mountain ecosystem functions.
The key human-made features that shape the sacred geography embedded in the Sikkimese belief systems, are included in the property. Dzonga, Sikkim's guardian deity and the owner and protector of the land, resides on Mount Khangchendzonga and, on its slopes, Mayel Lyang, the Lepcha's mythological place, is located. On the other hand, the Buddhist concept of beyul, or hidden sacred land, extends well beyond the boundaries of the property, endowing the whole of Sikkim with a sacred meaning.
Therefore, other human-made attributes that are functionally important as a support to the cultural significance of the property, its protection and its understanding, are located in the buffer zone, in the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, and in the wider setting of the property.
The representativeness of lower altitude ecosystems within the property could be improved by considering progressive additions of what are well protected and valuable forests in the current buffer zone. The functional integrity of this system would also profit from opportunities to engage with neighbouring countries such as Nepal, China and Bhutan which share the wider ecosystem: the most obvious collaboration being with the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in Nepal as this protected area is contiguous with Khangchendzonga National Park and Mt Khangchendzonga effectively straddles the border between the two countries.
The integrity of the associative values and of traditional knowledge has been impacted by past policies for environmental protection, changes in lifestyle and discouragement of traditional practices for subsistence.
The authenticity of the cultural attributes within the boundary of the property has been preserved. Although the tangible human-made attributes within the property are restricted to some chortens, gompas and several sacred shrines associated with revered natural features, their continued reverence, maintenance and the associated rituals attest that they bear credible witness to the property's Outstanding Universal Value. Sources of information on the associative values of the property and its attributes comprise the Nay-Sol and the Nay-Yik texts, which provide important information on the stories, the rituals and the associated natural features as well as the still-performed rituals, the oral history and the traditional knowledge held by the Lepcha.
Protection and Management Requirements
The protected area status of Khangchendzonga National Park under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India ensures strong legal protection of all fauna and flora as well as mountains, glaciers, water bodies and landscapes which contribute to the habitat of wildlife. This also assures the protection and conservation of the exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic value of the natural elements within the Park. The property comprises state-owned land and has been protected as a National Park since 1977, whilst the buffer zone is protected as a Forest Reserve.
Natural features having cultural significance are protected by notifications, n.59/Home/98 and n. 70/Home/2001, issued by the Government of Sikkim. They identify the sacred features and regulate their use as places of worship. Some of the monuments fall under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India, while other ones are managed by monastic and local communities through traditional management systems that extend to the immediate and wider settings of the monasteries (gya-ra and gya-nak zones).
The property is managed by the Sikkim Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department under the guidance of a management plan with a vision to conserve key ecosystem and landscape attributes whilst promoting recreational opportunities, cultural and educational values as well as the advancement of scientific knowledge and strategies which advance the well-being of local communities. Opportunities should be taken to better empower local people and other stakeholders into decision making related to the property’s management. A partnership is envisaged with the Ecclesiastical Department of Sikkim, the Department of Cultural Heritage Affairs and the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology, to ensure that consideration of cultural values and attributes are integrated into the existing management.
Efforts should continue to expand knowledge of the property’s biological and ecological values as data is still inadequate. Inventory, research and monitoring should focus on clarifying the species composition within the property and informing policy and management. Periodic evaluation of the effectiveness of management should continue and be used to direct investment into priority areas so that financial and staff resources are matched to the challenges of future management.
Khangchendzonga National Park displays a rich intertwined range of natural and cultural values which warrant a more integrated approach to the management of natural and cultural heritage. Legal protection, policy and management should be progressively reformed and improved to ensure an appropriate balance between the natural, cultural and spiritual aspects of the property.
A participatory approach to management exists through the Eco-Development Committees (EDC’s): their role in monitoring and inspection is planned to also be extended to cultural aspects and attributes. From a cultural perspective, the extension of the traditional and participatory management to cultural attributes located in the buffer and transitional zones would greatly assist the effective protection of the cultural values, and the reinforcement of cultural ties and traditional knowledge of the local communities with their environment.
There are no significant current threats for the property, however, vigilance will be required to monitor and respond to the potential for impact from increasing tourism as a result of publicity and promotion. Similar attention must be paid to the potential impact of climate change on the altitudinal gradients within the property and the sensitive ecological niches which provide critical habitat. Active management of the buffer zone will be essential to prevent unsympathetic developments and inappropriate landuses from surrounding local communities whilst at the same time supporting traditional livelihoods and the equitable sharing of benefits from the park and its buffer zone.
2000: Khangchendzonga designated as a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve
2016: Khangchendzonga National Park is inscribed as a World Heritage site under cultural criteria iii and vi, and natural criteria vii and x.
IUCN MANAGEMENT CATEGORY
II National Park
Himalayan Highlands (2.38.12).
The property (N 27o 30’ 27 E 88o 20’ 14) is situated within the State of Sikkim, north-east India, contiguous with the most easterly border of Nepal. The site is firmly within the Himalayas, lying approximately 125 km east-south-east of Mount Everest. The property spans three of Sikkim’s four districts, but is predominantly located in the North Sikkim district, around 40 km north-west of the state capital, Geyzing.
DATES AND HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT
1849: The property is no longer considered the highest mountain in the world following the Great Trigonometric Survey;
1955: First successful ascent of Mt. Khangchendzonga;
1977: Khangchendzonga National Park is designated by the Indian state government;
1997: Khangchendzonga National Park is extended by 1,784 km2:
2000: Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is designated under the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme;
2010: Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is extended with the inclusion of a transition zone, and the Sikkim Biodiversity Conservation and Forest Management Project is initiated;
2016: Khangchendzonga National Park is inscribed as a World Heritage site under cultural criteria iii and vi, and natural criteria vii and x.
The property has been managed as a state owned forest under the Wildlife Protection Act from 1972. The 1980 Forest Conservation Act subsequently provided the conditions for the diversion of forest land for non-forestry purposes, when the underlying state National Park was extended in 1997. The property remains state owned to the present day.
The property covers 178,400 ha and has an additional buffer and transition zone of 114,712 ha.
The property contains 20 peaks that are over 6,000 metres above sea level (a.s.l). The highest point in the property, Mt. Khangchendzonga, is the third highest peak in the world at 8,586 metres a.s.l. The lowest part of the property lies at 1,220 metres a.s.l.
The most striking physical feature within the property is the Khangchendzonga massif. The massif has five main ridges that run in different directions and contain multiple peaks that rise beyond 6,000 metres a.s.l: on the east-ridge is Mt. Siniolchu (6,887 metres a.s.l.), on the west-ridge Mt. Jannu (7,338), to the south Mt. Kabru North (7,338), to the north the Twins (7,350) and to the southeast Pandim Peak (6,691). The property demonstrates one of the most dramatic variations in altitude in any protected area in the world, spanning over seven kilometres in a 42 kilometre distance. Approximately 90% of the property lies above 3,000 metres and 70% above 4,000 metres, with the altitude of the property generally decreasing as one travels south-east. The valleys in the south-east are also steeper, as they have not been smoothed via the erosive power of glaciation. The steep valleys in conjunction with high levels of meltwater result in the property having one of the highest sedimentation rates in any Himalayan river. There are around 280 glaciers within the property, including the 26km long Zemu Glacier and over 300 lakes.
The property’s climate correlates with the property’s topography, and is therefore highly heterogeneous. The majority of the property experiences a monsoon climate which is dominated by an extended wet season. The summer monsoon normally spans from May to September, and is buffered by a very brief spring and autumn in April and October, respectively. Average annual rainfall within the property is highest in the south-east (2,750 mm) and lowest in the north-west (750 mm), with July being the wettest month. Relative humidity is high throughout the year through much of the property, especially during the monsoon, and remains at 100% for long periods of time. In terms of temperatures, January is the property’s coldest month, with minimum temperatures of 4oC in the temperate areas and as low as -17oC in the alpine areas, though the peaks get even colder. Conversely, August is the warmest month with maximum temperatures reaching 22oC in the temperate region and 12oC in the alpine area.
The vegetation within the property can be stratified into four major altitudinal zones. The subtropical zone represents the lowest lying areas of the property, from 1,220 metres a.s.l. to around 2,000 metres a.s.l. This is the warmest part of the property and is dominated by Alnus nepalensis, Schima wallichii, Castanopsis spp., Quercus spp., and Engelhardtia spicata. The temperate zone rises above the subtropical zone to around 3,000 metres a.s.l. and is characterised by Quercus spp., Rhododendron spp. and Junisperus spp. The subalpine zone rises to around 4,000 metres a.s.l., passing the tree line, where trees stop growing and are replaced by shrubs, particularly Rhododenron spp. and Juniperus spp. The alpine zone is the highest of the four and reaches to around 4,500 metres a.s.l. where it meets the snow line. Summers there are short and cold and precipitation mostly falls in the form of snow. Species in the alpine zone tend to be small and adapted for the harsher environmental conditions, notable genera include Meconopsis spp., Delphinium spp., Gentiana spp. and Saussurea spp. The alpine zone still contains high botanical species richness, with an estimated 580 species of angiosperms recorded (Tambe & Rawat 2010).
The state of Sikkim is considered to be one of the most significant biodiversity hotspots in India. The property supports 1,580 species of vascular plants, including 106 pteridophytes, 11 gymnosperms and 1,463 angiosperms. Furthermore, 114 species of lichen have been recorded within the property. The property also has particularly notable populations of Rhododendrons, orchids and medicinal plants. The subtropical forests in particular have abundant host tree species for epiphytic orchids such as Anoectochilus sikkimensis, Aphyllorchis montana and Cypripedium himalaicum. Furthermore, it is known to harbour 22 threatened or rare species of plant, including: Balanophora involucrate (CR), Lonicera longibracteata (CR), Gentiana prainii (CR) and spikenard (Nardostychus grandiflora: CR). Finally, 28 plant species are reported to be endemic to the property and its surrounding area.
A revised assessment of Sikkim’s fauna suggests that there are 45 mammal, 213 bird, 10 reptile, 5 amphibian and 8 fish species found within the property. It also supports a number of charismatic and/or threatened species, such as the snow leopard (Uncia uncia: EN), red panda (Ailurus fulgens fulgens: EN), wild dog (Cuon alpinus: EN), particoloured flying squirrel (Hylopetes alboniger: LC) (Sathyakumar et al. 2011), and Himalayan wolf (Canis himalayensis). The property resides within the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area (EBA), which contains a particularly rich assemblage of restricted-range bird species, including the genus Sphenocichla, which is endemic to this EBA (BirdLife International 2016a). Additionally, the property overlaps with the Khanchendzonga Important Bird Area (IBA), which is thought to harbour 127 bird species of conservation concern (BirdLife International 2016b). The property also contains multiple lakes that are important for migratory waterfowl, as well as resident breeding birds such as the brahminy shelduck (Tadorna ferruginea), lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus: NT) and black-necked crane (Grus migricollis: VU).
The property also supports a particularly rich diversity of invertebrates. Approximately 650 species of butterfly have been recorded in the state of Sikkim by the Bombay Natural History Society. Moth species are less well understood, though it is thought that there are in the region of 1,500 species in Sikkim, including the large atlas moth (Attacus atlas). However, the exact numbers of invertebrate species within the property remains unknown.
The property was mentioned as a mountain area that should be considered for inscription as a World Heritage site (Thorsell & Hamilton 2004). The property is contiguous with the Kangchenjunga Conservation Area in Nepal, another protected area with high conservation value and strong transboundary perspectives (Chettri et al. 2008), and is found in a broader region with high connectivity value (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) 2016). The property also overlaps with one of the most irreplaceable protected areas in the world, ranking among the top 1% in terms of importance for the conservation of mammal, bird and amphibian species (Bertzky et al. 2013). The property supports a vast array of flora and fauna, most notably orchid and rhododendron species and apex predator species such as the clouded leopard and Tibetan wolf.
Religion has been an integral part of the property and wider region’s cultural heritage for centuries, with two similar but unique forms of worship being interwoven in the landscape. At the core of the property’s cultural value is the notion that the area, and particularly the mountain, are sacred: for Buddhists through the concept of ‘beyul’ (hidden land), and for the indigenous Lepcha and Bhutia people through the concept of Mael Lyang, where more emphasis is on the mountain of Konchen (Khangchendzonga) itself. Buddhism spread throughout the region slowly intertwining with the existing cultural beliefs in the region. The concept of beyul is linked to Guru Rinpoche, also named the second Buddha, who came to Khangchendzonga in the 8th Century and made the region a sacred place. In the preceding centuries, several religious texts and rituals have been elaborated around the concept of beyul, of which one, Pang Lhabsol, has been performed annually for the last three centuries according to the ICOMOS Evaluation. In addition to the region as a whole, there are distinct parts of the landscape that have particular cultural value, for example the five peaks of the Khangchendzonga massif represent five treasures (salt, gold, turquoise, arms and medicine/seeds). The massif itself translates to “Abode of the Gods”, and Sikkim’s deity, Dzonga, resides within Khangchendzonga. In addition to the established Buddhist beliefs in the region, there are also indigenous Lepcha and Bhutia people who believe in Mael Lyang, a concept similar to beyul but instead focused on the slopes of Kongchen. For the Lepcha and Bhutia, Kongchen is the source for biodiversity and fertility and the mountain landscape is used to trace their ancestry. It has also been noted that although the sacred landscape extends beyond the boundary of the property, the heart remains the mountain of Khangchendzonga itself.
LOCAL HUMAN POPULATION
The residents of Tshoka, the only village found within the property, left in 2011. Since 2012, there have been no permanent residents within either the property itself or its buffer zone. Over 35,000 people live in the property’s transition zone, which extends outside the buffer zone.
VISITORS AND VISITOR FACILITIES
Yuksam, which lies a few kilometres south of the property’s boundary, has an interpretation centre which describes the property’s facilities and biodiversity. There are numerous huts and camping grounds interspersed through the property, which are available to tourists for a fee. Additionally, there are also watch towers, lookouts and hides for tourists and researches to better view the property’s wildlife. An extensive network of trails run through the property enabling people to travel throughout the property. According to the Management Plan, the property experiences its lowest levels of tourism in the monsoonal season, especially in June and July. The only way to access the property is through walking, which takes at least a couple of hours, and as such, day visitors to the property are practically non-existent. Both the number of domestic and international tourists has remained relatively stable between 2005 and 2011, with a combined total of around 3,000 tourists per annum.
SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH AND FACILITIES
Ten major studies are documented in the property’s nomination file, spanning from 1990 to 2012, on topics ranging from the property’s diversity, livestock and their impacts, to management and pressures, as well as ethnographic studies. As stated in the Management Plan, researchers wishing to undertake studies within the property are required to submit a proposal for a permit clearly defining their methodology and objectives. There are no research facilities within the property itself, however, the nearby offices of the Wildlife Management Department in Gangtok act as a resource depository for existing research on the property.
The management of the property is undertaken by the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department, a body of the Government of Sikkim. In addition to the state authority, there are Eco-Development Committees (EDCs). These are communities who volunteer to help the management of their local forests with the aim of increasing income streams without damaging the integrity of local forests. In 2002, FWEMD issued a notification to create EDCs, and 20 have subsequently been established, spanning 44 villages and the 35,757 people living in the transition zone around the property. This is a positive decision as a lack of integration of local inhabitants to the property’s management has historically been regarded as a limitation (Oli et al. 2013). There are several management plans pertaining to the property, from a regional scale such as the Sikkim Biodiversity Action Plan (2012) to the management plan of Khangchendzonga National Park (2009), which runs until 2018. The key features of the management plan are centred on proposed measures of zonation, managing human interventions, enhancing economic activities through sustainable forest management with the EDCs and continuing the conservation of the property’s biodiversity.
The property’s high degree of isolation and low levels of access have acted as some of the most effective means of preventing environmental degradation and the region more broadly has low levels of human development. However, the property has not been immune from anthropogenic pressures. Subsistence farming has been prohibited since 1998 but the practice has continued (Oli et al. 2013), although the authorities are making progress in preventing it, according to the ICOMOS Evaluation. Yak herders have historically burnt scrubland so as to convert it to pasture. The commercial exploitation of plants was allowed between the 1970s and the 1990s, although it was prohibited again in 2001 (ICOMOS Evaluation). Finally, hunting and poaching is thought to still occur within the property, particularly for musk deer.
With regard to environmental management constraints, the impact of climate change on the property’s glaciers could be severe. The glacial lakes, if expanded through excessive meltwater, could break their banks and create severe flash floods. Furthermore, diseases amongst some of property’s species have led to population reductions in particular species, e.g. gorals. Lastly, there is some risk of earthquakes and landslides.
At the time of nomination, a lack of field staff to implement the increasingly complex management responsibilities of the property was acknowledged. However, Himal Rakshaks (honourary mountain guardians), voluntary local residents who practice traditional subsistence livelihoods, help maintain the property and prevent poaching and environmental degradation. There are currently 20 Himal Rakshaks.
The property receives its funding from the Government of Sikkim. Between 2003 and 2004 the property received approximately USD\$ 52,000 in direct funding, which increased annually to USD\$ 220,000 in 2014. Between 2013 and 2014, about 93% of the year’s funding was spent on staff salaries, 0.25% on travelling expenditure and 6.5% on conservation.
Forest, Environnent and Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim, Deorali, Gangtok – 737102, East Sikkim, Sikkim, India, Tel : 03592-281877, http://sikenvis.nic.in/index.html
The principal sources for the above information were the original nomination for World Heritage status, the IUCN evaluation report and the site’s management plan.
Bertzky, B. et al. (2013). Terrestrial Biodiversity and the World Heritage List: identifying broad gaps and potential candidate sites for inclusion in the natural World Heritage network. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK.
BirdLife International. (2016a). Endemic Bird Area factsheet: Eastern Himalayas. Available at: http://www.birdlife.org.
BirdLife International. (2016b). Important Bird Areas factsheet: Khangchendzogna National Park and Biosphere Reserve. Available at: http://www.birdlife.org.
Chettri, N., Shakya, B. & Sharma, E. (2008). Biodiversity conservation in the Kangchenjunga landscape, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development.
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). (2016). Biodiversity hotspots: Himalaya. Available at: http://www.cepf.net/resources/hotspots.
Oli, K.P., Chaudhary, S. & Sharma, U.R. (2013). Are governance and management effective within protected areas of the Kanchenjunga landscape (Bhutan, India and Nepal). Parks 19(1): 25–36.
Sathyakumar, S. et al. (2011). Mammals of the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve, Sikkim, India. In Biodiversity of Sikkim: Exploring and Conserving a Global Hotspot. Available at: http://sikkimforest.gov.in/Biodiversity-of-Sikkim.htm.
Tambe, S. & Rawat, G.S. (2010). The alpine vegetation of the Khangchendzonga landscape, Sikkim Himalaya: community characteristics, diversity, and aspects of ecology. Mountain Research and Development 30(3): 266–274.
Thorsell, J. & Hamilton, L. (2004). A global overview of mountain protected areas on the World Heritage List. Managing Mountain Protected Areas: Challenges and Responses for the 21st century. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.
Toppo, S., Rahman, H. & Haque, N. (2011). Fish biodiversity as an indicator of riverine status of Sikkim. In Biodiversity of Sikkim: Exploring and Conserving a Global Hotspot.