The Eastern Himalaya in India is one of the few places on Earth that retains cultural, ethnic and biological diversity of global significance. Spectacular landscapes and unusual fauna and flora make these mountains one of the 34 global hotspots of biodiversity. However, despite the tremendous importance of bio-resources to human well being, there is widespread degradation of natural ecosystems in the Eastern Himalaya. Population and economic growth are confining nature into smaller and smaller areas. Climate change is likely to exacerbate the problem, with severe consequences for human welfare, and for nature’s capacity to recover from the severe degradation currently under way as well as respond to future climatic impacts. The urgency of the problem has not yet translated into adequate concrete actions or concrete programmes to measure and monitor changes in bio-resources.

The Technological innovations and ecological research for the sustainable use of bio-resources in the Eastern Himalaya project addresses the gaps in knowledge and action to advance knowledge on biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya region with initial focus on Sikkim. It will identify linkages between biodiversity and the functioning and stability of ecological communities. And lastly, it will investigate the potential consequences of future climate change for biodiversity configuration and the provisioning of ecosystem goods (bio-resources) and services to humans; and build capacity for local communities to sustainably use bio-resources and adapt to climate change.

The project is a five year collaborative venture between National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) and ATREE. It is funded by the Department of Bio-Technology (DBT).