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Known as the “Rhododendron Capital of the Himalayas,” Nepal’s Tinjure-Milkhe-Jaljale (TMJ) Forest complex contains 28 out of 32 species of rhododendrons found within the country. Nepal, a least developed country with pervasive rural poverty and unemployment, is currently undergoing rapid development that includes the construction of new road networks and urbanization. In some cases, the cost of this has been the inadvertent destruction of many sensitive habitats, including those found within TMJ forests.
Rainforest Trust and local partner KTK-BELT seek $124,693 to purchase and protect eight parcels for a total of 153 acres to establish a 7,000-acre corridor of protection that will stretch from Chauki to Gufa Pokhari. These strategic land purchases will also connect community areas in the region, and they are the first stage in comprehensive protection for the entire TMJ forest as community protected areas. This will create a core habitat for significant populations of Endangered species endemic to the Himalayas such as the Red Panda, Himalayan Musk Deer and East Himalayan Yew, an Endangered wild plant from which the cancer medication Taxol is derived. Another extremely important point for conservation is that new species are being discovered in the TMJ forest every year.
*Carbon Storage figures represent estimated metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents stored in above-ground live woody biomass at the project site, as converted from Aboveground Live Woody Biomass Density data provided by the Woods Hole Research Center through climate.globalforestwatch.org.
Tamur Valley and Watershed, Nepal
Chinese Pangolin (CR), Spikenard (CR), Red Panda (EN), Alpine Musk Deer (EN), Himalayan Muskdeer (EN), Atis (EN), East Himalayan Yew (EN)
TMJ Forest, “Rhododendron Capital of the Himalayas”
Expansion of road networks, haphazard road construction, poaching
Price per Acre:
Carbon Stored (metric tonnes of CO2 equivalents)*:
The TMJ forests fall within the Eastern Himalayas biodiversity hotspot, containing 28 species of rhododendrons.
There are also more than 33 lakes, 13 watersheds, 30 mammals species, 274 birds species and 832 species of flowering plants. Endangered mammals such as Himalayan Musk Deer, Red Panda and Chinese Pangolin call this unique habitat home, as do several globally threatened pheasants. There is a high degree of plant endemism in the TMJ forests, including valued medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) such as Panchaule, Kutki, Spikenard, Satuwa, East Himalayan Yew and Atis. The Nepalese government has prioritized the TMJ forests for further plant research because of the multitude of medicinal plant varieties found here. Bistorta diopetes, Bistorta milletioides, Acronema cryptosciadeum and Saxifraga jaljalensis are four endemic plant species recorded in the TMJ forest itself.
The most pressing threat to the 143,896.877-acre TMJ rhododendron area is the loss of habitat from a massive proposed infrastructure campaign to upgrade and expand the road network.
The lack of clear boundary declaration and demarcation of government-owned community forests and of the entire TMJ region as a whole has left the region vulnerable to development activities. Haphazard road construction, also referred to as “dozer terror,” has made the area’s forests, wetlands and shrub lands vulnerable to stone and gravel extraction and urbanization. The threats to the Vulnerable Himalayan Black Bear, Endangered Alpine Musk Deer and Endangered Red Panda are most directly traceable to habitat fragmentation from rural road proliferation. Poaching of the Critically Endangered Chinese Pangolin for meat and medicine is another threat, while overgrazing and deforestation jeopardize the threatened medicinal plant species found in the TMJ such as the Endangered East Himalayan Yew and Atis, as well as the Critically Endangered Spikenard. Also, 302 of the 340 plant species confirmed to be within the protected area by the local partner have not been assessed by IUCN, an additional challenge as many of these species are known to be locally threatened but have no global recognition of this fact.
There are 500 households partially or totally dependent on the adjacent six community forests...
The project area, situated in Madi and Chainpur Rural Municipalities of Sankhuwasabha district in eastern Nepal, is part of the highly diverse Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale (TMJ) complex. The area is inhabited by mixed ethnic groups including Limbu, Rai, Tamang, Sherpa, Gurung, Brahmin and Chhetri, who are largely dependent on nearby community forests for firewood and timber. There are 500 households partially or totally dependent on the adjacent six community forests (Jalapadevi, Pathibhara, Siddadeurali, Aahaltar, Gidre and Mahamenchhem), which are endowed with a variety of rhododendron species, as well as mixed upper subtropical and temperate broadleaved forest. Most local people practice grazing or eco-tourism in the region.
Thanks to the generous support of our Board members and other supporters who cover all of our operating expenses, Rainforest Trust is able to allocate 100% of donations to conservation action. No board member receives financial benefit and our staff salaries are modest.
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