Traditional Use and Management of NTFPs in Kangchenjunga Landscape: Implications for Conservation and Livelihoods (2016)

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Non-timber Forest Products (NTFPs), an important provisioning ecosystem services, are recognized for their contribution in rural livelihoods and forest conservation. Effective management through sustainable harvesting and market driven commercialization are two contrasting aspects that are bringing challenges in development of NTFPs sector. Identifying potential species having market value, conducting value chain analyses, and sustainable management of NTFPs need analysis of their use patterns by communities and trends at a regional scale. We analyzed use patterns, trends, and challenges in traditional use and management of NTFPs in the southern slope of Kangchenjunga Landscape, Eastern Himalaya and discussed potential implications for conservation and livelihoods. A total of 739 species of NTFPs used by the local people of Kangchenjunga Landscape were reported in the reviewed literature. Of these, the highest number of NTFPs was documented from India (377 species), followed by Nepal (363) and Bhutan (245). Though the reported species were used for 24 different purposes, medicinal and edible plants were the most frequently used NTFP categories in the landscape. Medicinal plants were used in 27 major ailment categories, with the highest number of species being used for gastro-intestinal disorders. Though the Kangchenjunga Landscape harbors many potential NTFPs, trade of NTFPs was found to be nominal indicating lack of commercialization due to limited market information. We found that the unsustainable harvesting and lack of marketing were the major constraints for sustainable management of NTFPs sector in the landscape despite of promising policy provisions. We suggest sustainable harvesting practices, value addition at local level, and marketing for promotion of NTFPs in the Kangchenjunga Landscape for income generation and livelihood improvement that subsequently contributes to conservation.
Year: 2016
Language: English
In: Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 12 (1): 1-59

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