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National Mission on Himalayan Studies

Implemented by the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC)
Nodal and Serving hub with G.B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment & Sustainable Development

Broad Thematic Area 3: Biodiversity Conservation and Management

The Himalayas is recognized for its ecosystem services to the Asian region as well as to the world at large for maintaining slope stability, regulating hydrological integrity, sustaining high levels of biodiversity and human wellbeing. Mountains, due to their exclusive and inimitable biodiversity, are recently receiving priority for biodiversity conservation in global agendas. In Himalaya, the Indian Himalayan Region is a dynamic landscape with a rich and remarkable biodiversity. The IHR covers nearly 7.5 lakh square kilometres area (spanning over 3000 km in length, and 250-300 km in width, and rising from <300 to > 8000 masl). The region, with its varied landscapes and soil formation, and variety of vegetation types and climatic conditions, is well known for its unique flora and fauna, and has a high level of endemism. The region comprises 10000 plant species (endemics in bracket: 31.6 %), 300 mammals (4.0%), 979 birds (1.5%), 176 reptiles (27.3%), 105 (40%) amphibians, and 269 fresh water fishes (12.3%). The region also hosts a diversity of ethnic groups, inhabiting the remote and difficult terrains. These communities have been traditionally dependent on bio-resources to basis substances needs. Among the other bio resources of direct economic potential, the region is well recognised for various medicinal plants, wild edible and other non-timber forest products. The region supports over 1748 (23.4% of India) medicinal plant species and over 675 of wild edible species. Despite the proven values, the diversity of IHR region is continuously declining in their natural habitats. The major causes include habitat destruction, climate change, road construction, fire, urbanization, drainage, and other anthropogenic pressures.). Realizing the importance of IHR, a number of initiatives are taken place globally for its conservation and sustainable utilization.

In this regard, National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) has sanctioned 40 demand-driven action research projects in identified four major targets: (i) Mountain Biodiversity Database; (ii) Assessment of ecosystem health and harnessing potential; (iii) Promoting recovery of sensitive species (rare, endemic, threatened and economically important ones); and (iv) Up-scaling outreach through conservation education. The main identified Thematic Area of Work (TAW) of this BTA are (i) conservation of genetic resources of rare, endemic, threatened and globally significant flora and fauna including agro-biodiversity , (ii) Invasive Alien Species, (iii) Multipurpose trees and other flora, their biology and uses, ecotone studies, especially the timberline ecotone, and pilots for Payment of Ecosystem Services (PES)/ reflecting ES in development agenda and Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs), medicinal and aromatic plants, and other high value niche products from the agenda.

IHR States Covered- All 12 IHR States

Levels Representation
Total Number
% of India
Eco-region Communities
Vegetation Types
Forest Types
Specific Groups
Wild edible
Source: Indian Himalayan Biodiversity: Richness, Representativeness, Uniqueness and Life Support Value. GBPIHED, Almora, Uttarakhand

Overall Objectives

Establishment of long-term floral diversity monitoring plots across the Himalayan region.
Create a geospatial and genetic database on the flora of Himalaya and the climate change-induced impact and anthropogenic impact on floral and faunal diversity
Long term environmental and ecological monitoring of coal mining areas and shifting cultivation areas in North-Eastern India, and technology development for treatment of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).
Population and habitat assessment, ecological niche modelling and conservation of threatened/high value medicinal Plant
Assess the distribution and abundance of commercially important MAPs, RET (rare, endangered and threatened) and NTFPs from alpine regions IHR.
Identifying & mapping invasion load of Vascular Invasive Alien plants
Assessment of Ecological & Environmental Impact of Invasive Alien Species
Develop risk assessment tools and processes for identifying negative Human Wildlife Interaction (HWI) in the IHR through investigations on HWI and predict potential hotspots of conflict for regular monitoring and development of site specific mitigation efforts.
Assessment and monitor the threatened vertebrate fauna in the Indian Himalayan Region
Survey, collection and purification of germplasm / land races of native crops (millets, pulses and vegetables) of Uttarakhand.
Development of model mechanism for in-situ conservation linked with seed production (millets and pulses) and seedling production (vegetables) of identified unique germplasm for income generation.
Assess the structure, composition and patterns of vegetation in different communities along tree line-rangeland interfaces .
Germplasm collection and maintains of DNA bank of selected species.
Develop biotechnology methodologies to culture and micro-propagate the commercially value orchid species that are under the threat of extinction .
Assess the distribution and abundance of commercially important Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs), Rare, Endangered and Threatened (RETs), and NTFPs from alpine regions of Uttarakhand.
Development of the site (Alpine Research Station, Tungnath) as educational tourism spot and for ex-site conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants.
Generate a spatial distribution and abundance database and ecological characteristics of MAPs for alpine region and to develop a web-based Uttarakhand Alpine Information System (UK-AIS).
Obtain robust measures of species diversity, distributions, and community structure for primary forest that occurs in the study areas.
Analyze the change in microbial biodiversity and soil properties (binding capacity and erosion ability) in the Pine forest after fire outbreak as compared to the nearby-unaffected area.
Derive detailed land cover map for our study area using high-resolution (~5.6 m) satellite imagery (IRS-LISS IV) and the extensive set of ground control measurements.
Map land ownership patterns in areas classified as primary forest and secondary vegetation and document and analyze the institutional structure and socioeconomic background that governs land use in this region .
Improving adaptive capability of community and local governance by enhancing resilience of community as well ecosystems through biodiversity conservation, watershed restoration and livelihood improvements.
Investigating variation in temperature and precipitation across the Himalayan altitudes.
Effect of altered climatic regimes on biodiversity and ecological processes in the coming decades. .
Participatory action research on innovative interventions to improve livelihoods.
Obtain robust measures of species diversity, distributions, and community structure for primary forest that occurs in the study areas.
Spectral library of the economically important plant species to use with the hyperspectral satellite and airborne data.
Develop the species specific protocols for recovery/reintroduction of highly threatened species.
Develop the market linkages for selling of cultivated produce.
To sensitize diverse stakeholders group towards promoting conservation of threatened medicinal plants.

Ongoing Projects (39 Projects; LG-6; MG-19; SG-14)

FY 2015-16
1 Biodiversity assessment through Long term monitoring plots in Indian Himalayan Landscape .
2 Timberline and Altitudinal Gradient Ecology of Himalayas, and Human Use Sustenance in a Warming Climate.
3 Human-Wildlife Conflict Resolution Mechanism In The Indian Himalayan Region: Risk Assessment, Prediction, And Management through Research and Community Engagement.
4 Collection, evaluation and conservation of native crops germplasm from Uttarakhand hills and pre-breeding through community participation eastern India.
5 Establishment of Gene Pool, Propagation and Ex- Situ Conservation of selected sensitive high altitude Medicinal and Aromatic plant species and Nature Interpretation Site (NIS) for Creating Awareness among the various stakeholders.
6 Sustainable use of Sikkim Himalayan Biodiversity for socioeconomic development of mountain villages with special reference to Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Hippophaesalicifolia, Docyniaindica and Rhuschinensis: Technology development, alternative livelihood and conservation.
7 Multidisciplinary studies in Floristic assessment, ecological analysis, ecosystem services, conservation and sustainable management of selected National Parks in Western Himalaya.
8  Development of psychrophilic earthworms for biowaste conversion in Guraz & Tulial valleys of Jammu & Kashmir .
9. Identification, assessment and enhancement of soil carbon and nitrogen sequestration potential of different ecosystems in the central Himalayan through a participatory approach.
10 Conservation Strategies for Taxus wallichiana and Ulmus wallichiana by DNA markers and geospatial technologies.
11. Fish Faunal Diversity, Habitat Ecology and their Conservation strategies of the Kameng River system in Arunachal Pradesh
12 Population Dynamics and Biogeography of Himalayan Mouse-Hare Ochotona roylei in relation to their Impact on the Medicinal Flora of Western Himalaya.
13 Survey and Mapping of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) and other RET/NTFPs from alpine regions of Uttarakhand and Developing Uttarakhand-Alpine Information System (UK-AIS).
14 Understanding the degradation and loss of primary forest in the Teesta valley of the Sikkim Himalaya: a framework for recovery and management of biodiversity and bio-resources.
15 Post-Fire Management in the Pine Fortes of Indian Himalayan Region By studying, conserving and distributing cultivable microbial biota to increase ecological succession and to revive forest productivity.
16. Vegetation heterogeneity and impacts of changing climatic and land use patterns on two contrasting timberline ecotones of Upper Chenab catchment, J & K and conservation strategies thereof
FY 2016-17
17 Community Managed Conservation of Orchid Biodiversity and Tribal Livelihood Improvement in Manipur Hill Area.
18 Ecological monitoring and status of fish fauna in hydropower-affected Alaknanda-Bhagirathi- Ganga rivers.
FY 2017-18
19 Invasive Alien Plants in Himalayas: Status, Ecological Impact and Management.
20. Conservation of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Indian Himalayan Region through Long-Term Monitoring and Capacity Building.
21 Conservation of Threatened Plants in Indian Himalayan Region: Recovery and Capacity Building.
22 Key ecosystem services and biodiversity components in socioecological landscapes of Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya: Deriving management & policy inputs and developing mountain biodiversity information system.
23 Systematic Inventorization, Use profiles and molecular cataloguing for the sustainable management of edible insect resources for enhancing the livelihood opportunities of local people of Himalayan range of Manipur, North East India.
24 Promoting conservation of threatened plant species in west Himalayan region-A participatory approach.
25 Inventory of Wild Musa of Nagaland, Nutritional Assessment and Production of Clonal Planting Materials of Few Commercially Viable Species.
26 Assessment of Environmental Health and Ichthyo faunal Biodiversity of Tirap and Tissa rivers of Arunachal Pradesh and promotion of Fish centric supplementary livelihood options through a participatory approach.
27 Monitoring and evaluation of species composition and richness in endemic plants, birds, mammals and reptiles along successional gradient after shifting cultivation and creating education and awareness for their conservation in Dampa Tiger Reserve Landscape, Mizoram.
28 Mainstreaming landscape approach for biodiversity conservation,improved livelihoods and ecosystem health in Kailash Sacred Landscape part of India.
29 Regional Mapping Carbon stock, Sequestration and Sink Potential of Reserve Forest Ecosystem of Assam for Improvement of Ecosystem Health and Services.
30 Assessment of moths (Lepidoptera) as significant pollinators in the Himalayan Ecosystem of North-East India.
31 Assessment and Conservation Practices of Pollinators through Community Participation in the Indian Trans Himalayan Region: Climate Change Perspective.
32 Ecology, monitoring, recovery and bio-prospection of some threatened plant species of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in relation to regional socio-economic development.
33 Understanding the impact of forest fire on faunal resources of North Eastern States for conservation and management.
34 Characterization of Community Reserves and Assessment of their Conservation Values in Meghalaya.
35 To Establish a DNA- Barcoding and Chemotaxonomy Empowered Herbarium of Lichen-Species of Uttarakhand- Himalayan and Development of a Resource Group for Conservation and Characterization of Lichen-Biodiversity.
36 Understanding the Nature of Alpine Timberlines of Himalayan: Integrating Ecological and Scenario Studies for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change.
37 Collection, Characterization, Conservation and Utilization of Important Genetic Resources of Hilly Regions of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
38 Microbial Endophytes and Soil Enzymes as Indicators of Climate Resilience with Respect to Himalayan Birch: A Critically Endangered Timber Line Species.
39 Bringing Back the Real Green: Eradicating Invasive Species and Restoring Ecosystem through Community Participation.

Measurable Targets up to 2020

Mountain Biodiversity Database & Information System (MBDIS)– focusing on all 12 IHR States.
Assessment of ecosystem health and harnessing potential for overall development by involving State Biodiversity Board (SBB) and BRs.
Linking integrity profiles in conservation policy framework through SBBs and BR scheme in 12 states.
Promoting recovery of threatened species by involving state and institutional partners.
Up-scaling outreach through conservation education.

Monitoring Indicators

Geospatial datasets generated (time series data with no of sites and species).
No of plot established for long term monitoring.
Publications of knowledge products (No.).
Digital maps depicting changes in timberline (Nos. with time series).
Climate smart conservation models developed (Nos.).
Community groups trained (Nos).
Awareness camps/ programs organized (Nos.).
Datasets generated (data on taxonomic diversity quantified by species richness, as well as by richness, evenness, diversity, dominance, and rarity at generic and family levels No./ sites).
Assessment reports of National Parks detecting changes in species population (Nos.).
Models and knowledge products developed and published out of the projects (Nos.).
Propagation techniques standardized (species No.).
Value chain established (No of beneficiaries).
Database on traditional crops/ races developed (No of species/ races).
No of in-situ conservation plots/ models (Nos).
Farmers/ Community groups trained (Nos).
Income increased (Rs/ per capita/ %).
Publications of knowledge products (No.).

Development of baseline geospatial and genetic database of 6 sites on the representative taxa focusing on endemic/threatened /invasive-aliens
Identification of the indicator taxa for prioritization of biodiversity conservation in selected sites
The establishment of long-term monitoring plots across ecosystems and habitat gradient in the 6 sites of Himalaya
Capacity building of local stake holders in 12 IHR states
Creation of database and knowledge products on vegetation science and tree-soil water relations of timberline in 3 principal sites (J&K, Sikkim and Uttarakhand).
Improved understanding depicted from thematic maps and database of timberline ecosystem as a special conservation entity and implication to sustainable management and livelihood enhancement.
Improved understanding of future changes in timberline vis-a-vis climate change and human uses
Awareness and Training material/ knowledge products for sustainable use of resources for improved livelihood.
Development of database and knowledge products on traditional crops.
Establishment of pilot scale model for in-situ conservation of germplasm on farmer’s field.
15 lakh seedlings developed and Propagation and multiplication (minimum 15 lakh seedlings/ propagules of selected medicinal plants species).
Ecological Niche Modelling methods developed.
Model management practices for conserving the flora of this region along with rare, threatened and medicinal plants species.
Ex-situ conservation and cultivation models of many economically and horticulturally potential species.
Documentation of flora, conservation of plant diversity, assessment and availability of these species in relation to the recent disaster and climate change.
Document on ecosystem services emanating from the National Park.
Sensitization/motivation of educational Institutions (in 12 states of IHR) linking with NILCs.

Achievements till date ...

01 Habitat suitability model for Docynia indica species at Sikkim.
01 MP Demonstration site for in situ conservation at Uttarakhand.
05 Alpine MPs Standardized propagation protocol (produced 30381 plantlets).
01 Alternative Model for Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) initiated.
128 LTM sites are established in HP, UK, Sikkim, AP and WB.
03 Ex-situ conservation sites are developed in Sikkim.
80 Sampling sites for fauna studies in HP, UK, Sikkim, AP and WB.
12 Training Programme in J&K, UK, Sikkim and West Bengal (568 participants).
01 Workshop on “Long term Monitoring of Himalayan Region” (53 participants).
50 Households got benefited by adopting 05 rural technologies.
02 Flyers -Importance of Himalayan Timberline.
03 Manuals -Timberline and Tree Line Study, Wildlife Population Estimation & Floral diversity.
01 Phenocalender of five tree species, 02 Books, 03 Research papers; 15 Book chapters.
05 Him-NLC establishment in five states of IHR (Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura).

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Last Updated on: 23.04.2019