The Man and Biosphere International Coordinating Council have added the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves, which currently took place in Palembang, South Sumatra Province; Indonesia.
The Khangchendzonga biosphere reserve is located in Sikkim, North East India. This reserve is one of the few high altitude biosphere reserves in the country, which established in August 26, 1977 as a national park. Mount Khangchendzonga offers unique opportunities for joint collaboration and conservation of biodiversity with neighboring countries because of its location.
The reserve is surrounded by several mountain peaks and glaciers. Nepal, Talung, tent peaks and the famous Zemu and Simyo glaciers lie to its northern part and the other peaks like Pandim, Narshing, Siniolchu cover the other sides of the reserve.
The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve inscribed to the UNESCO’s World Heritage sites list in 2016 and became the mixed heritage site of India. It falls within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot and displays an unsurpassed range of sub-tropical to alpine ecosystems. The core zone covered over 150 glaciers and 73 glacial lakes.
The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has been considered as the biggest Important Bird Species in Sikkim. It is the home of 7 globally threaten bird species and also supports 130 endemic species of eastern Himalayas and over 212 bird species of conservation concerns. The reserve is home to several wildlife species including snow leopard, musk deer and Himalayan tahr. Other animals like sloth bear, civet, Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wild ass, Himalayan blue sheep, serow, takin are also found in the reserve. The vegetation of the park includes temperate broadleaf and mixed forests; consisting of oaks, fir, birch, maple, willow etc. It also conserve alpine grasses and shrubs along with many medicinal plants and herbs at higher altitudes.
According to the joint efforts of the State Government of Sikkim and India’s Man and Biosphere Committee, Eric Falt UNESCO New Delhi Director congratulated to India; and he said that this makes it a total of 11 biospheres in the country. Biosphere Reserves in India are truly exceptional places for exceptional people. They are a wonderful world of their own, to be preserved with UNESCO for generations to come.