13 March 2014, Trongsa: Since its establishment in 1995, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park has put tireless efforts in delivering Integrated Conservation and Development Programmes in the National Park to address both the conservation of biodiversity as well as fulfilling the aspirations of local people for socio-economic development in their communities. Besides other ICD Programmes, JSWNP in the past initiated the supply of solar lighting facilities and CGI roofing materials to the villagers through support from Biodiversity Conservation Project (BCP) Phase I & II, with funding from Sustainable Development Agreement (SDA). With the mission to conserve and manage its Natural Biodiversity in Harmony with People‘s Values and Aspiration, delivering such ICDP activities meets the conservation goals of contributing to the socio-economic development of park residents through sustainable use of park natural resources.
However, with the ending of the Biodiversity Conservation Project Phase II in mid-2007, and with no other support from any other agencies, all ICDP activities in the national park had to be halted. This left many households without availing equal opportunity in receiving the CGI supplies. Fortunately, the ongoing WWF-UK funded project helped bridge the gap, thus bringing back smiles to the destitute households.
On 13 March 2014, JSWNP provided CGI sheets to 21 households in Korphu Gewog in Trongsa Dzongkhag. Then, on 14 April 2014, a group of farmers from Kela Village in Tangsibji, another gewog in Trongsa were provided with CGI sheets as alternative roofing. The park officials distributed over 1500 CGI sheets worth about Nu. 2 millions. All the beneficiaries fall under the jurisdiction of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. A group of farmers from Adha under Wangdue dzongkhag also availed the same benefit. Park staff briefed the village representatives on the purpose of the project and reiterated the importance of their efforts in conservation, they being the closest neighbour to forests.
In absence of proper roofing which incurred high cost in shingle extraction for the rural poor, the households had to place utensils under the roof to protect the homes from spill of seeping rain water during the monsoon seasons. Besides, the people opt for big trees which take many decades or even centuries to reach its maturity, thus adversely impacting in the regeneration and wildlife habitat. Moreover, it was also difficult for them to get the shingles delivered to their homes as they had to spend weeks in the forest. Based on the camera trap data, JSWNP is found to good habitat for tiger and allied cat species, the conservation of which is very vital. The two geogs were also benefited with activities like Livestock Insurance Scheme and Electric fencing to curb human-wildlife conflict, from the same project.
While the project helped ease the problems faced by the residents, it is expected that there will be less damage to the forests through reckless felling of trees. It is hoped that, the park residents will now have positive outlook towards securing forests ecosystem and conserving the wildlife habitats in the national park in partner with the park staffs.
Meanwhile, Mr. John Barker, head of China and India programmes at WWF-UK, is also visiting the National Park to assess the progress of the project activities. The Three year WWF-UK funded project will end in June 2014.
Reported by: JSWNP
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