Sikkim home to 27% of India’s flowering plants
12th July, 2021 ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
- Botanical Survey of India publication lists 4,912 naturally occurring flowering plants in the tiny Himalayan State.
- Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to 27% of all flowering plants found in the country.
- Sikkim, which is a part of the Kanchenjunga biosphere landscape, has different altitudinal ecosystems, which provide opportunity for herbs and trees to grow and thrive.
- The State also borders China, Bhutan and Nepal, and the Darjeeling hills of West Bengal.
- From subalpine vegetation to the temperate to the tropical, the State has different kinds of vegetation, and that is the reason for such a diversity of flora.
- Along with unique geographical features, the people of Sikkim have a unique bond with nature and trees.
- Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules, 2017, allow any person to associate with trees standing on his or her private land or on any public land by entering into a Mith/Mit or Mitini relationship.” It encouraged people to adopt a tree “as if it was his or her own child in which case the tree shall be called an adopted tree”.
Kanchenjunga biosphere reserve
- The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve (KBR) of Sikkim, the highest biosphere reserve in the country.
- It includes the third highest mountain peak in the world, Kanchenjunga (8,586 m), has been included in the UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserve (WHBR).
- The Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP), which comprises the core area of the KBR, was inscribed as India’s first “Mixed World Heritage Site” on July 17, 2016.
- Eighty six per cent of the core lies in the Alpine zone and the remaining portions are located in the Himalayan wet temperate and sub tropical moist deciduous forest.
- Dzongu Valley, nestled in North Sikkim, is inhabited by the Lepcha tribe.
- The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve is one of the world’s 34 biodiversity hotspots that has good species diversity with high levels of endemism, with many mountains, peaks, lakes, caves, rocks, stupas (shrines) and hot springs.
- The biosphere reserve has also listed 362 species of ferns. Over 118 species of the large number of medicinal plants are found in Dzongu Valley in north Sikkim”.