oak sikkim
Photo: Northeast Now

An international symposium on ‘Evergreen Oak Forests in the Eastern Himalayas’ was formally inaugurated by Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling at Chintan Bhawan in Gangtok on Tuesday.

The international symposium was organized by Forests Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbett (GIZ), Gmbh under Climate Change Adaptation – North Eastern Region (CCA-NER) Project.

In his inaugural address, the Chief Minister expressed his hope that the symposium would deliberate on environmental threats and adoption of successful conservation practices like that of Sikkim for larger benefit.

oak sikkim 1
Photo: Northeast Now

He called for collaborative approaches in understanding and adopting best conservation policies amongst nations, states and organizations.

He added that the Government of Sikkim would make efforts towards developing appropriate forum for initiating strong regional cooperation amongst regional countries and north-eastern states initially, and the Himalayan states and mountain nations worldwide in time to come.

“I foresee common conservation policies and coordinated approached, which should be effective to withstand and reduce the impacts of different global environmental threats in the region,” he stated.

He congratulated the State Forest Department for collaborating with ‘German International Cooperation’ for the conservation and regeneration of Oak forests of Sikkim using innovative ideas of direct seeding.

He expressed hope that the pilot study would be a benchmark for other states in the country to replicate.   He added that the outcome of the pilot study could be up-scaled for regaining the oak forests to their original pristine level.

He appreciated the GIZ for collaborating with the Government of Sikkim for the conservation of Oak forests of Sikkim and also welcomed cooperation from other international experts and agencies for interventions in addressing biodiversity conservation and climate change.

oak sikkim 2
Photo: Northeast Now

Speaking about Oaks forests in Sikkim, the Chief Minister said that the evergreen trees with good canopy cover are very close to the Himalayan people for their deep rooted relationship, giving high socio-cultural and environmental benefits.

Prof Dr H C Jurgen Huss, Chair of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, Germany) in his address said that he was highly impressed with the emphasis laid on forest conservation in the State.

He presented a brief background on the work being done under conservation of Oak forests elsewhere in the World. He also highlighted the importance of Oak forest in the Eastern Himalayas and added that the symposium followed by the field trip would help in understanding the subject to a great extent.

Project Director, GIZ CCA-NER Project Dr Peter Gross in his address said that the symposium would deliberate in detail about opinions and strategies for management of evergreen Oak forests with special focus on the Himalayan eco-system.

Earlier, PCCF-cum-Principal Secretary Forest M L Srivastava in his welcome address highlighted some facts about the geography and biodiversity of Sikkim, and also shared some of the features of the Oak evergreen forests.

Sagar Chhetri

Sagar Chhetri is Northeast Now Correspondent in Gangtok. He can be reached at: sagchhetri@gmail.com

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