Management: Landslides and land degradation have become a thing of the past in Thrimshing, Trashigang with the coming of Sustainable Land Management Project (SLMP).

SLMP, which was started in the gewog in 2008 continued until 2010. Besides planting bamboo rhizomes and other trees, stone and log check dams were also constructed.

Thrimshing Gup Ngawang Dorji said SLMP has worked wonders in the gewog. Besides stabilizing the landscape and enhancing agricultural productivity, vegetation coverage has also improved over the years.

“In 2004, heavy rainfall caused numerous landslides in the gewog. The area along Bongzor Jab village was severely affected that four households had to opt for resettlement,” he said.

Back then, forest coverage was small in the gewog due to overgrazing and deforestation. Gullies were created by runoffs and land degradation was a continuous process until SLMP was initiated.

“Today, the landslide prone areas have stabilized. Water sources that were drying have also been revived,” said Phepari Tshogpa Namgang.

Of the various measures put in place to fight landslides, constructions of stone check dams have proven the most effective in Thrimshing, said gewog forest officer, Tshering Dorji.

Stone check dams are constructed along waterways to reduce the velocity of run offs during monsoon. Check dams prevent gully erosion from occurring before vegetation is established and also causes a high proportion of the sediment load in runoff to settle out.

“Within a short period of time, huge landslide areas were replenished with good forest cover. Stone check dam was found to be most appropriate method to control soil erosion and landslides,” said Tshering Dorji.

He said that about 20 acres of land near Kharshing Yee, one of the worst affected areas in the gewog, is now under control. Similarly, other prone areas in Tsangpo and Dungchilu have also improved.

“Stone check dams are cheap and easy to install. If carefully positioned and designed, these check dams can remain as permanent installations,” said Tshering Dorji. “By regaining the forest cover in Thrimshing, the groundwater recharge capacity also improved.”

Tshering Wangdi