Friday, April 30, 2010

Sikkim CM Chamling attends for International Conference on Rhododendrons

29 April, Gangtok: As a part of International Rhododendron Festival 2010, the Forest, Environment and Wildlife Management Department organized a International Conference on Rhododendrons: conservation and sustainable use at the conference hall, Saramsa Garden on April 29. The Conference was held to seek inputs and share views on diversity and distribution, habitat diversity and ecological adaptation, phenological behavior and climatic relationships, sustainable use and future potential, field oriented ex-situ conservation, eco-tourism potential, education, awareness and people participation, role of policies and acts.
The Chief Minister Mr Pawan Chamling was present as the chief guest and was also attended by the Speaker SLA, Cabinet Ministers, Advisors, MLAs, Chairpersons, senior government officials, students and the delegates from within and outside the country.

Rhododendrons has fascinated people for centuries and has about 960 species growing worldwide. Of around 80 species of Rhododendron in India, 36 are found in Sikkim. As indicators of forest health and for their phenological sensitivity to climatic change, Rhododendrons has a great role in ecological stability of ecosystems. Sikkim is one of the perfect example of practicing Biodiversity conservation programmes with over 31% geographical area coverage under protected area network including one Biosphere reserve and eight Wildlife Sanctuaries, of which two are exclusively designated for the conservations of Rhododendrons viz. Shingba Rhododendron Sanctuary and Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary.

The Chief Minister, in his inaugural speech, said that the inaugural function of the International Rhododendron Conference, one of the rare occasions to determine the richness on the rhododendron species in Sikkim Himalayas and also reinforce its aesthetic values that blend into the overall experience of the beautiful people of Sikkim.
He also expressed his happiness to see experts, scientists, policy makers and forest managers from different parts of the Country and the world sitting together in a common forum with a common theme to interact and share their findings on various issues, concerns and policies on rhododendrons of the world with particular reference to North Eastern Himalayas and Sikkim. It is only in Conference of this kind that new ideas are created, discussed and the wisdom is recorded in the form of action plan which form the foundation stones for deciding the future course of action with a view to conserve this important natural-resource, he said.

Highlighting, the State government initiatives in conserving and preserving the Biodiversity, he said that the Government’s role and approaches used for conservation of biological diversity in Sikkim have been eco-friendly and has proved immensely beneficial over many decades. The Kanchenjunga Biosphere Reserve, which is soon expected to be the part of ‘Man and Biosphere Reserve network of UNESCO’ supports immensely rich depositories of rhododendrons, he informed.

The Chief Minister further highlighted the State Government measures in adopting many conservation methods to promote a balanced growth in Sikkim by duly preserving original in Nature and bringing in the best practices of modern development.

“Flowers hold special place both in the Oriental philosophy and western mythology and has always been the treasured wealth and part of life” said the Chief Minister and added that besides, Rhododendron is the State Flower and this makes the whole feeling even more intimate. He also stated that the Conference would further enrich the working experience in nature conservation and forge a collective commitment to save the mother earth.

The Minister for Forest Mr Bhim Dhungel, in his speech, said that the conservation of Rhododendron within natural habitat is the best approach and the State Government has been successful in maintaining the natural habitation. He also stated that the Conference will go a long way in shaping new direction in conserving the wide varieties of Rhododendron and other floral species.

Earlier, the PCCF cum Secretary, Forest Mr. S.T. Lachungpa delivered the keynote address.

An overview on Sikkim Himalayan Rhododendrons was presented by Mr. K.C. Pradhan, former Chief Secretary of Sikkim.

The Conference had a interactive session where participants discussed relevant issues and shared views on which the outcome will be an action plan and suggestions for future policies for Sikkim Himalaya in particular with a global perspective.

(Sikkim IPR News)

No comments: