Bhutanese delegates will present the status of forest ecosystem service, human-wildlife conflict and harmonising mountain forest management in Bhutan

Environment: More than 200 regional and global experts – including cross-sectoral policy makers, scientists, practitioners, donors, civil servants, media, market actors, and legal experts are discussing to outline options for sustainable forest management practices and policies that address the changing conditions in the Hindu Kush Himalayas.

The five-day mountain forestry symposium, which began yesterday at the Forest Research Institute in Dehradun, India, will also identify trans-boundary opportunities that meet climatic and contemporary challenges, thus simultaneously addressing conservation and inclusive development.

Titled transforming mountain forestry: bridging trans-boundary challenges with 21st century paradigms for the welfare of mountain people, forests and environment in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, the symposium is also expected to establish common understanding of forest ecosystem dynamics and the management of mountain forest ecosystems in the Hindu Kush Himalayas to set the research and development agenda on the trans-boundary scale.

According to the organisers, given the range of issues related to forest governance that have upstream-downstream linkages such as illegal trade of forest products, corridor connectivity, human-wildlife conflicts, water management, value chain sustainability, it is increasingly a subject for trans-boundary cooperation in terms of making future mitigation and adaptation strategies successful.

Organised by the Forest Research Institute of Dehradun in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the conference will explore options for mainstreaming incentive-based mechanisms (e.g. REDD+, payment for ecosystem services) to promote the sustainable use of forest ecosystem services across trans-boundary landscapes.

Experts will also identify policy deficits and propose priority actions for mainstreaming inclusive forest ecosystem adaptation and good forest governance at the trans-boundary landscape level to address climate change and globalisation processes.

It is also expected to promote global, regional, and national knowledge networking, research and development, partnerships, and cooperation for influencing policy, science  and practice.

The representatives from all eight countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan will share good practices in forest ecosystem adaptation and learn from other mountain regions. Seven forestry officials led by the director general of the council of RNR research of Bhutan are attending the conference.

During the next four days, delegates and experts will discuss the theory of Himalayan degradation and the green felling saga: where to move mountain forestry in the 21st century; understanding co-management in mountain forests; the flow of ecosystem services and incentive mechanisms; taming human wildlife conflicts in the Hindu Kush bracing up for trans-boundary cooperation and harmonising mountain forest management; forest fire and mountain forest management solutions; and REDD+ in Himalayas: linking forest carbon to conversation and development.

By Rinzin Wangchuk, Dehradun