The objectives of the Technological innovations and ecological research for the sustainable use of bio-resources in the Eastern Himalaya project are:

  • To develop a state-of-the-art research programme that will contribute to the advancement of knowledge on biodiversity in the Eastern Himalaya region with initial focus on Sikkim;
  • To identify linkages between biodiversity and the functioning and stability of ecological communities;
  • To investigate the potential consequences of future climate change for biodiversity configuration and the provisioning of ecosystem goods (bio-resources) and services to humans; and
  • To build capacity of local communities to sustainably use bio-resources and adapt to climate change.

This translates into three broad areas of work:

  • Development of an ecological research programme for biodiversity and climate change studies, and for the sustainable use of bioresources
    • To map the spatial distribution and abundance of bio-resources, investigate the potential impacts of climate change on their distribution and diversity, and to quantify the economic value of these ecosystem services in the Eastern Himalaya (NCBS & ATREE)
    • Sustainable use of bio-resources (ATREE)
  • Training and outreach
    • Training programs and workshops for regional scientists and students to build local capacity (NCBS & ATREE)
  • Research and technology support towards IBSD mandate
    • Animal bio-resources programme: Technical and scientific inputs for Yak genetic value addition and honey biotechnology including floral calendar (NCBS & ATREE)
    • NCBS scientists will facilitate the use of the platform technologies centre (C-CAMP) for IBSD projects to will provide them with the opportunity to move beyond simple, correlational studies, to quantitative screens of compounds and specific gene products. The facilities available will include Sanger sequencing (through the NCBS sequencing facility), expression analyses and protein characterization through mass spectroscopy

The project was initiated in 2009. By May 2010, 13 research students were selected to work in the three areas outlined above. The selected students underwent an intensive field orientation programme for two weeks in Sikkim. Nearly 18 months were spent to train students in ecological and social science research and data collection. Specific topics for research, within the overall goal of the project, were identified and data collection started in the second half of 2011. These are described in the following sections.

Specific study Research Fellow
Sustainable use of bioresources component Tenzing Ingty (ATREE)
Fragmented landscape and ecosystem services: a study of pollinators outside protected areas in Sikkim Himalaya (using Sikkim mandarin orange (Citrus reticulata) and bees as focal species. Urbashi Pradhan (ATREE)
Relationships between flowering patterns and the spatial and temporal variability in abiotic and biotic factors, specifically with respect to the Rhododendron species. Shweta Basnett (ATREE), Yangchela Bhutia (ATREE)
Eco-hydrology and plant-water relations in Sikkim Himalayas in the context of climate variability and climate change. Manish Kumar (ATREE)
Assess community structure and assembly of the warm broad-leaved forest in Sikkim Himalaya by measuring important functional traits of the major species that occur in these systems. Radhika Kanade (ATREE)
Ecology of small carnivores in Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary. Sunita Khatiwara (NCBS)
Ecology of wild ungulates in Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary Tanushree Srivastava (NCBS)
Population ecology of herbaceous species in alpine Eastern Himalayas and their persistence ability in different environmental conditions Dharmendra Lamsal (NCBS)
Elevational pattern of diversity and distribution of Primula species in Eastern Himalaya Priya Darshini Gurung (NCBS)
Evolutionary history of the high altitude mammalian species, Pikas (family Ochotonidae) using genetic DNA sequence analysis. Nishma Dahal (NCBS)