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Ecotone2 1 2010

  1. 1. ISSN 0976-3589 Ecotone A quarterly newsletter on environment and biodiversity of North East India Volume 2 Issue1 May 2010 A joint publication of Environ, Guwahati (Assam) and NECEER, Imphal (Manipur)
  2. 2. Ecotone EDITORIAL Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Dear Readers, Kripaljyoti Mazumdar We are happy to present the 1st issue of Vol. 2 of Ecotone. Managing Editor It was your support and encouragement that constantly Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh raised our moral. We would require that in near future Associate Editors Kalpana Thaoroijam too. Navanath Saharia The very recently concluded South Asian Association for Assistant Editors Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit at Thimphu, Bidyut Bikash Sarma turned out to be more of an environmental summit of the Mohd. Sajid Idrisi heads of states and will pave the way for a green and Chinmoy Choudhury happy South Asia. Many of the people are though skep- tical over the enthusiasm of the head of the states and ADVISORY BOARD there remains a long history of the flounder decision of SAARC. The 2007 Dhaka summit had come up with the Dr. Vishwas Chavan Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) Climate Change action plan and it was the third meeting Denmark of Environment Minister at Maldives in 1997 where the Dr. Hemant K. Badola SAARC Action Plan on Environment was adopted but G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment & when it comes to the implementation part, most of the Development, Sikkim Unit, Gangtok, Sikkim member states are still to act on it. But we have to hope- Prof. Abhik Gupta ful as the decision on establishing the SAARC Inter- Dept. of Ecology and Environmental Science Assam University, Silchar, Assam governmental Monsoon Initiative on the evolving pattern Dr. Swapna Prabhu of monsoons to assess vulnerability due to climate Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), change, SAARC Inter-governmental Mountain Initiative Mumbai, Maharashtra on mountain ecosystems and SAARC Inter- Mr. Amarjyoti Kashyap governmental Marine Initiative will definitely help in President, Environ, Guwahati, Assam sharing knowledge on various issues of these critical ecosystems. Cover Page Balanophora dioica Photo: Lunminlal Kipgen Kripaljyoti Mazumdar Designed, layout and printed by Editor-in-chief, Ecotone Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh All rights reserved © Environ & NECEER For any enquiries please contact: Kripaljyoti Mazumdar, Editor-in-chief Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh, Managing Editor E-mail: Ecotone Page 2 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  3. 3. Ecotone CONTENTS Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Green News 1. Green News _______________________________________________________________________________ 4 2. Balanophora - a rare and endangered plant found in North East India Lunminlal Kipgen and Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh _____________________________________ 6 3. Coal resource potentials, utilisation possibilities, environmental implications and eco- friendly mining of North East India Kiranmay Sarma ___________________________________________________________________________ 9 4. Conservation of Endangered Phayre’s leaf langur (Trachypithecus phayrei) in degraded habi- tat of southern Assam, India Kripaljyoti Mazumdar ____________________________________________________________________ 14 5. Status and Conservation of Slow Loris Nycticebus bengalensis in Northeast India Awadhesh Kumar and Ashalata Devi _____________________________________________________ 18 6. Spandan, the bip: Web based platform for biodiversity inventory by people. Neha Singh, Gurushant Upase, Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh and Vishwas Chavan __ 21 7. Swertia chirayita, a high value endangered medicinal herb: potential in north-east India Bharat K. Pradhan and Hemant K. Badola _______________________________________________ 24 LETTER TO EDITOR Protecting the Wetlands 3. Fencing: Wired fencing can be done to save the wetland from encroachment. Sir, 4. Exotic Species Plantation: Plantation of exotic species within the wetland, will Wetlands, as ecosystem contributes to both diver- not only add to the conservation of wet- sity conservation and human well being. However, lands but also the exotic plants the sorry state of affairs is that the wetlands are on 5. Creating Awareness: Awareness about the verge of destruction; the sooner we act it wetlands should be spread by holding would be better. I would like to share with my eco mini exhibitions within schools and col- friends some practical suggestions for protecting lege campus. our wetlands, which I found while browsing good books on environment and internet. With these So sir, through your esteemed newsletter I am simple and effective steps, we can contribute a lot drawing the attention of youths of the N.E. region for protecting our wetlands: towards these simple yet effective steps for pro- tecting our wetlands from destruction. I hope that 1. Construction of Nest Boxes: If nest boxes my minimal contribution can protect my environ- are constructed in and within the wet- ment from further destruction. lands, it shall not only provide shelter to migratory birds, but will help to boost Deepshikha Pathak wetlands tourism, providing platform to Library and Information Assistant save the wetlands. National Library 2. Buffer or Greenbelts: Maintaining a ve- Kolkata -700 027 getative buffer or green belt will protect e-mail: wetlands from adjacent human activities. Ecotone Page 3 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  4. 4. Ecotone GREEN NEWS AGARTALA to be eco-friendly city Jinsi, secretary general, SOS Children’s Villages of Aiming at making the State capital a solar city, the India said, “The project upon completion, by re- Tripura Government is preparing a report to make charging the groundwater, would help in envi- mandatory the use of this alternate form of energy. ronmental re-building and in the long term ensure Joy Gobinda Debroy, Science, Technology and better availability of water. Through this, our Environment Minister, Tripura said “We have children will become aware of the importance of decided to make solar energy provision mandatory water/environment conservation and grow up in buildings to make Agartala a solar city to keep into being the advocacy ambassadors for the cause it free from environmental pollution”. The present of water conservation.” building rules would be changed to make use of (Source: The Assam Tribune). solar energy mandatory in buildings to reduce dependance on conventional energy and make it ENVIRON & NECEER launched ‘Save Loktak environment friendly, he said, adding the rule Campaign’ in Assam would be applicable to private, government and ‘Save Loktak Campaign’ in the state of Assam was commercial buildings. With the Centre suggest- kick started with the launching of the campaign ing that Northeastern State capitals would be in the two cities viz. Guwahati and Silchar along among 60 cities countrywide to use solar energy, with the other 25 cities globally. The yearlong Debroy said the State Government has started campaign aims at conserving the precious wet- preparing a detailed project report and a survey lands of the region taking Loktak (RAMSAR site) would be undertaken in Agartala next month. as an umbrella site and will cover 25 different ci- Meanwhile, Tripura Natural Gas Co Ltd ties along 3 continents with a collaborative effort (TNGCL), a joint venture of the Gas Authority of of 20 partner organizations of NECEER. The Gu- India Ltd (GAIL) and Tripura Government, has wahati (P. Dutta Memorial Seminar hall, Gauhati announced a plan to run all vehicles in Agartala University) and Silchar (Women’s College, Sil- including government and private ones with com- char) chapter of the campaign was formally pressed natural gas (CNG) by 2013. CNG will also launched on 7th of March 2010 simultaneously in be available to those now using electricity, petrol both the cities by ENVIRON. While the Guwaha- and diesel to run machinery in factories. ti campaign focused on the conservation and pro- (Source: The Assam Tribune). tection of Deepor beel another important wetland and the second RAMSAR site of the region, the SOS Children’s Village to adopt Rainwater Silchar campaign focused on the conservation and Harvesting protection of Son-beel and Chatla wetland of Ba- To contribute to the water conservation efforts of rak valley. The Guwahati campaign started offi- the world community, the SOS Children’s Village, cially on 6th March 2010 in P. Dutta Memorial Se- Guwahati and Coca-Cola India on 30th March minar hall, Gauhati University with a Prize money 2010 announced a rainwater harvesting project at quiz competition, “Ecoquest 2010- a 180 minutes of the village. The project was launched by JR Phu- quizzical bliss” in the memory of Lt. Syed Monuwar kan, director, area operations, North East and Hussain which will be conducted annually from Siliguri, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt Ltd this year onwards. and Art competition covering a total area of over 33,600 square metres, in Parijat Academy, Deepor Beel. Simultaneously a the project on completion, will create annual Art competition was also held on the same day groundwater recharge potential of 14,595 cubic among the school children of Parijat Academy, metres (14,595,000 litres) of water and ensure near Deepor Beel. sustainable water resources for over 250 residents During the Guwahati campaign ‘Deepor Beel Con- of the village and communities around. servation Movement’ committee was also formed This rainwater harvesting project will cover 39 involving various stakeholders, scientist, research SOS locations spread across the country. Rakesh scholars and community people. Stress is given Ecotone Page 4 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  5. 5. Ecotone over need of a development authority to develop it The cell will provide special focus to cope with in a manner that ensures livelihood options for the the situation arising out of global climate change people depending on it traditionally and also to in the light of national action plan on climate prevent illegal activities inside the beel areas. change. The cell will also facilitate networking (Source: Press release, ENVIRON) with regional, national and international agencies for strengthening and enriching the activities of the climate cell. Overall focus of the cell is to find out strategy to cope with changing climate and related impacts on various fields like agriculture, flood, energy, health, forestry, etc. The cell will arrange regular interactions with experts from all fields, policy makers and govern- ment functionaries. A framework for the state action on climate plan is under preparation. The cell will produce and publish various educational materials for sensitization of all sections of people, Photo: Vice Chancellor, Gauhati University inaugurating said a press release. the ‘Save Loktak and Deepor beel Campaign’, Guwahati. (Source: Cell on climate change to be set up at ASTEC, Gu- Glacier shrinkage may Effect Brahmaputra River: wahati: The Ministry of Environment and Forest in India The Department of Science & Technology, Gov- hinted that water flow in the Indian rivers espe- ernment of Assam has decided to set up a State- cially Brahmaputra and Ganga rivers were at risk level climate cell in the environment division of because of shrinkage of glaciers in Tibet. Assam Science Technology & Environment Coun- cil (ASTEC). The studies conducted by the Geological Survey of India indicate that the glaciers of Himalaya are The GoI has already declared a national action receding at varying rates in different regions. The plan on climate change with eight missions, viz. Government of India has developed guidelines and National Solar Mission, National Mission on En- best practices for sustaining Himalayan eco- hanced Energy Efficiency, National Mission on system (G-She), which has been shared with all Sustainable Habitat, National Water Mission, State Government in the Himalayan region, the National Mission on Sustaining the Himalayan Minister added. Eco-system, National Mission for a “Green India”, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture and The National Action Plan on Climate Change, National Mission for Strategic Knowledge on which was launched in June 2008, includes a Na- Climate Change. tional Mission for Sustaining the Himalayan Eco- System. A new mission centre on Himalayan Gla- It is now the responsibility of the State Govern- ciology has been set up at Wadia Institute of Hi- ments to respond to this national action plan by malayan Geology at Dehradun, he stated. The preparing State specific action plan. The State shrinkage of glaciers in Tibet posing a threat to climate cell, set up in ASTEC will prepare a State the Brahmaputra river system may be another action plan and submit to the State Government headache for the Government of India after re- for further action. Moreover, the State climate cell ports of China planning to divert Brahmaputra. will have other objectives like sensitising the China has last month officially confirmed to Ex- common people, students and teachers on issues ternal Affairs Minister S M Krishna that it is related to global warming and climate, to develop building a number of dams in the upper reaches of local specific climate change mitigation measures, the Brahmaputra River in Tibet to prioritise research programmes in various sec- (Source: tors to cope with the changes taking place in cli- Ecotone Page 5 mate, etc. Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  6. 6. Ecotone ENDANGERED SPECIES Balanophora - a rare and endangered plant found in North East India Lunminlal Kipgen Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh Photo: Lunminlal Kipgen Balanophora are one of the extremely rare and threatened plants of India. Most of the species in the genus are parasite on tree roots and are found in dense forests in the entire Himalayan region. The plants have an above ground inflorescence with appearance of a fungus with numerous small flowers. The inflorescences are developed underground and rupture when it surface above the ground. The plants are dioecious, and the fruits are indehiscent drupes or nuts. The underground portion, which attaches itself to the host, looks like a tuber, and doesn’t have a proper root system. Balanophora belongs to the family Balanophoraceae. Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna) and is The 15 species in the genus are all native to the prohibited for export from India. Old World Tropics. Balanophora species are among the most unusual of all higher plants and are Description known to parasitize at least 74 species in 35 fami- lies (Mabberley, 1987). The most well known and Herb. Dioecious. Rhizome brown, or reddish pur- widely distributed species Balanophora fungosa has ple in colour, unbranched or clump together in a at least 25 host plant species. Balanophora species mass. Scapes purple to pink, cylindric, 2-10 cm. are either dioecious or monoecious and echloro- Leaves 3-10, distichous, rarely spirally arranged, phyllous. Balanophora species B. involucrate, B. po- imbricate, broadly ovate to ovate-oblong, , apex obtuse to emarginate. Male inflorescences broadly lyandra, Balanophora dioica and B. harlandii are re- ovoid to ellipsoid. Male flowers: very numerous, ported from Eastern Himalayas (Chowdhery, actinomorphic, each subtended by a single trun- 1997; Hajra et al., 1996; Singh & Chauhan, 1997; cate bract. Pedicel 4-9 mm. Perianth lobes 4 or 5, Wu, 2003). ovate, reflexed. Synandria hemispheroidal, anthers cell longitudinally dehiscent. Female inflore- Balanophora dioica is known as Himalayan Balano- scences ellipsoid to narrowly ovoid, 2-5 cm. Spa- phora, as it is endemic to the Himalayas especially dicles ca. 1 mm, subclavate, apical 1/3 subglobose, to the Eastern part. The species is of extreme rare apex truncate and papillate; cuticular ridges of occurrence and of botanical interest (Jain & Sa- apical cells longitudinally slender and congested. stry, 1980). Balanophora is listed under the App II of Female flowers: on basal stipe of spadicles and the CITES (Convention on International Trade in main axis of inflorescence. Flowering Sept. to Dec. Ecotone Page 6 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  7. 7. Ecotone Figure 1. Natural population of Balanophora. Photo: Lunminlal Kipgen Key to the Northeast Indian species of Balano- - Threats phora Balanophora is under severe threats from habitat 1. Bracts subtending flowers fused side by side destruction. Shifting cultivation and forest fire are into a hexagonal alveolus ……………………………... 2 the main culprits for the destruction of wild 1. Bracts subtending flowers free or not devel- l- population of the species in the region. oped ………………………………………………………..……….… 3 2. Leaves verticillate and connate into a sheath- h- Conservation like whorl ……………….……. B. involucrata 2. Leaves subopposite or spiraled . B. harlandii Involvement of the local people and change of 3. Flowers pedicellate; anther cells transversely ely existing agriculture practice i.e. shifting culti- divided into small locelli ……….. B. polyandra vation would play an important role in the in-situ 3. Flowers long pedicellate; anther cells usually and ex-situ conservation of the genus. Very little longitudinally dehiscent ………………………………. 4 information exists on the cultivation of Balanopho- 4. Perianth lobes ovate, less than 2 mm; synan-n- ra. For these reasons, we here raise concerns for dria hemispheric ……………………………… B. dioica the conservation of the taxa and strongly voice the need to develop cultivation methodologies. Distribution in North East India References The species is found in the tropical dense forests ound of Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Assam and Aru- u- Chowdhery, H. J. 1997. Plant diversity in Dibang nachal Pradesh at an elevation of 1100 m to 2600 Valley District, Arunachal Pradesh. Pp 113. In m. Plant diversity hotspots in India: An overview. (eds Ecotone Page 7 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  8. 8. Ecotone Hajra, P. K. and Mudgal, V.), Botanical Survey hotspots in India: An overview. (eds Hajra, P.K. and of India, Howrah. Mudgal, V.), Botanical Survey of India, How- Hajra, P. K., Verma, D. M. and Giri, D. M. (eds.). rah. 1996. Materials for the Flora of Arunachal Pradesh. Wu, Z. Y., Raven, P. H & Hong, D. Y. (eds). 2003. Series 2. Vol. 1. Botanical Survey of India. Cal- Flora of China. Vol. 5 (Ulmaceae through Basell- cutta. aceae). Science Press, Beijing, and Missouri Bo- Hooker, J. D. 1875. Flora of British India. 5: 237 tanical Garden Press, St. Louis. Jain, S. K. and Sastry, A. R. K. 1980. Threatened plants of India: A state of the art report. Botan- Authors ical Survey of India, Howrah. Mabberley, D. J. 1987. The Plant Book. Cambridge Univ. Press. Cambridge. Lunminlal Kipgen Sarma, K. 2002. Coal mining and its impact on Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh environment of Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, Research and Development Division Meghalaya. Ph.D. Thesis. North Eastern Hill North East Centre for Environmental Education University, Shillong. India. and Research, Sagolband Tera Sapam Leirak, Singh, P. and Chauhan, A. S. 1997. Plant diversity Imphal – 795 001, Manipur in Sikkim Himalaya. Pp 145. In Plant diversity Email: Ecotone Page 8 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  9. 9. Ecotone HOT TOPIC Coal resource potentials, utilisation possibilities, envi- ronmental implications and eco-friendly mining of North East India Kiranmay Sarma India is the fifth largest coal producing country in the world. The country is replete with minerals and many states have rich coal resources. Soon after independence, India witnessed a spurt in the growth of heavy industries that needed a large amount of mining of coal and metals. Thus, the mining operations in India began on a large scale in 1950s. At present Raniganj in West Bengal, Jharia in Bihar and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh have large scale coal mining operations in the country. Among the northeastern states of India, Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are endowed with workable deposits of coal. They have not been sufficiently developed owing to their inaccessibility coupled with lack of infrastruc- ture, complex geotectonic setting with mining more hazardous and inherent high sulphur content in the coals. Geology Geo logy of the coalfields BELT A. GONDWANA BELT OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH The coal deposits of northeast are along three dis- tinct geotectonic provinces, viz., The Gondwana sediments occur as a narrow li- 1. The narrow discontinuous Gondwana belt of near belt stretching from Kameng district in the Arunachal Pradesh disposed as thrust sheets west to Siang district in the east. It may also ex- in the foot of Himalayas. tend further east in the Lohit district. The sedi- 2. The coal belts of Garo, Khasi and Jaintia Hills ments are, however, disposed as discon-tinuous of Meghalaya and Mikir Hills of Assam formed patches in the zone of thrusts. These coals are on the platform areas peripheral to the shield. lenticular in disposition and are much crushed. 3. The coalfields of Upper Assam, Nagaland and The coal seams are disposed as boulins and have Arunachal Pradesh formed in the pericratonic very limited strike continuity thereby rendering downwarps in a zone of Schu-ppen. them economically. Ecotone Page 9 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  10. 10. Ecotone B. COAL BELTS OF GARO, KHASI AND to 46.9 percent. The coals are generally non- JAINTIA JAINTIA HILLS OF MEGHALAYA AND caking. The estimated coal deposit is 9 mil- MIKIR HILLS OF ASSAM lion tones. Garo Hills Khasi Hills These are located along the southwestern extrem- Several coal bearing areas are noted in the dis- ity of the Shillong plateau. The coal bearing for- sected plateau around Longrin, Cherrapunji- mations occur over a large area and owing to ero- Laitryngew, Mawsynram, Pynursla-Lynkyrdem- sion now occur as isolated patches, referred to as Thangjinath. Here the coal seams are developed in Karaibari, Siju, Rongrenggiri, Danranggiri, Han- the Lakadong sandstone formation. sapal and Balphakram-Pendengru coalfields. The coal seams are confined to the Tura Formation of i) Longrin: The coal bearing seam in this depo- the Jaintia Group of Eocene age. sit ranges from 0.5 m to 2.4 m. The coals in this area have low ash (2.9 to 13.3%) and i) West Darranggiri: This field is located in moderately high sulphur (1.6 to 3.9%). The the Upper Simsang valley just north of the estimated coal deposit in this area is to be Tura range near Darranggiri group of villag- 100 million tones. es. It is bounded by the Rengchi river on the ii) Cherrapunjee-Laitryngew: The coal occurs east. The Darranggiri seam having a thick- in the seam ranges from 0.25 to 0.75 m with ness of 1.2 to 2.8 m, moisture 2.1 to 7.5 per- moisture 3.8 percent, ash 14.8 percent and cent, V.M. 40.9 to 42.9 percent, ash 2.1 to 7.5 sulphur 3 percent. The estimated reserve of percent and total sulphur 2.0 to 3.5 percent. coal is to be 3 million tones. It is the most potential occurrence in the Ga- iii) Mawsynram: In the Mawsynram area, out- ro Hills with an estimated coal deposit of 127 crops of coal are found in several isolated million tones. plateaus around Rongsohkam, Jathang and ii) Howlang-Nabru-Zigrik-Kailash: These are Laitchum. Two seams are generally found, isolated outliers of coal bearing Tura sand- the thickness of the lower seam is about 1.3 stones to the north and west of the Balpha- m whilst the upper one is about 0.5 m. The kram area. The seams are not very persistent. estimated reserve is about 0.1 million tones. Two thin seams are mostly present. The up- iv) Pynursla-Lynkyrdem-Thangjinath: In the per seam has a thickness of 1.2 to 2.1 m. Pynursla plateau, coal measures are exposed whilst the lower one exhibits a thickness of as several dissected outliers around Lynkyr- 0.9 to 2.7m. The coals of these areas are gen- dem, Thangjinath and Pynursla. The thick- erally low in ash (2.7 to 9.6%), high in vola- ness of the coal seams ranges from 1.5 to 3 m tile and sulphur. The moisture content varies with moisture content 4.4 to 9.2 percent, ash from 2.8 to 7.6percent. The total coal deposit 3.1 to 7.7 percent, total sulphur 2.1 to 2.4 per- is estimated to be 26 million tones. cent. Estimate coal deposit is 1.7 million iii) Balphakram-Pendengru: The coal seams are tones. best developed in the southern slope of the v) Mawlong-Shella: The seams developed Balphakram plateau between the valleys of within the Lakadong sandstone with thick- the Karaoi and Mahadeo rivers. The seam ness 0.9 to 1.9. The moisture content varies having a thickness of 1.2 to 2.0m, moisture from 6.3 to 6.7 percent and ash 1.9 to 2.2 per- content 2.3 to 6.3 percent, ash 4.5 to 14.6 cent. The estimated deposit of coal is 1.5 mil- percent, V.M. 43.4 to 49.6 percent. The total lion tones. deposit is estimated to be 107 million tones. iv) Baljong-Dorrengg and Hansapal: These Jaintia Hills fields lie east of the Simsang river. There are The coals occur in in Jaintia Hills in Lakadong two coal seams with thickness range from 1.1 sandstone. Bapung, Lakadong, Malwar, Lumsh- to 4.0 m, moisture content 1.1 to 9.7 percent, nong, Mutang, Janrang areas have the coal depo- Ecotone Page 10 ash 1.3 to 13.3 percent and V.M. 37.1 percent sits. Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  11. 11. Ecotone Namphuk, the two tributaries of the Burhi i) Bapung: In the Bapung area, coal seam rang- Dihing river in the eastern part of the Tirap ing in thickness from 0.31 to 1.05 m is found district. This coal field represents an asym- in the basal part of the Sylhet Limestone. The metric syncline, which is supposed to be moisture content varies from 2.02 to 4.2 per- eastern extension of the adjacent Makum cent, ash 2.3 to 5.7 percent and sulphur 2.77 coalfield. This syncline is delineated by the to 5.21 percent. An estimated deposit of coal Margherita thrust in the north and Disang is 33.6 million tones. thrust in the south. ii) Lakadong: The average seam thickness is 0.5 iv) Nazira-Borjan coalfield, Nagaland m with ash content ranges from 0.3 to 17.1 This coalfield occurs along the western flank percent and total sulphur 3.2 to 5.3 percent. of the Naga Hills in the Mon district of Na- The estimated deposit of coal is 0.5 million galand. The Tikak Parbat Formation is the tones. coal bearing horizon. The coal belt is aligned generally is a northeast-southwest direction. Mikir Hills In this coal field, two persistent coal seams The coal bearing areas are located in the southern have been recorded in the lower and upper part of Mikir Hills and to the north of the railway members of the Tikak Parbat formation, line between Lumding and Dimapur. The seams while the middle member is devoid of coal. occur within the Sylhet Limestone formation. The v) Jhanzi-Disai and Saffrai valley coal fields, important occurrences are (i) in the Koilajan area, Nagaland where it was mined since 1949 and is now aban- In the Jhanzi-Disai valley, Lukhuni and doned, (ii) the Selvetta area; three seams varying Changki occurrences are important. In the in thickness from 0.35 to 1.35 m. are recorded. Changki area, five seams ranging in thick- These were worked out by opencast quarries, (iii) ness from 0.7-1.5 m. are developed, of which in the western flanks of the Khunbeman Range, the most important seam is the top seam. In six coal seams, each averaging one meter in thick- the Lakhuni area, the presence of one coal ness have been recorded. Of these, two seams have seam has been recorded. In the Saffrai valley some degree of persistency. The topmost seam is several isolated outcrops are observed, likely to contain about 3 m tones of coal from pre- which record the presence of two seams. liminary assessment made. The states of Manipur, Tripura and Mizoram also C. THE COALFIELDS OF UPPER ASSAM, have sizeable deposits of coal. Lignite deposits PRAD- NAGALAND AND ARUNACHAL PRAD- occur at Kongra-Waiphei area of Imphal valley and Tureloo valley in the Churachandpur district ESH of Manipur. Coal has been found in Kailashhar area near Tripura-Bangladesh border in the North i) Makum coalfield, Assam Tripura district. The state has also lignite deposits This is one of the most important coalfields at Ujan-Tangong, Dertuichara and Nattinahara. In in northeast so far as the resources of coal Mizoram, especially in Lunglei district has coal and infrastructural facilities are concerned. deposits, which so far has not been exploited. The Tikak Parbat formation of the Barail Group contains the coal seams. Utilization possibilities of coal resources of ii) Dilli-Joypore coalfield, Assam northeast India The Dilli leasehold is situated on the south bank of Disang river while the Jeypore lease- The most extracted coalfield of the northeast is hold is to the north. The Barails is the coal Makum coalfield and of late, some small scale bearing formation. productions have commenced from the West Dar- iii) Namchik-Namphuk coalfield, Arunachal ranggiri of Garo Hills and Jaintia Hills coal-fields Pradesh of Meghalaya. The principal consumers of this This coalfield is drained by the Namchik and coal are the railways, tea plantations, brick kilns, Ecotone Page 11 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  12. 12. Ecotone inland steamer services, etc. A considerable por- coal mine areas in various direct and indirect tion of coal is exported to bordering Bangla-desh. ways. Degradation of agricultural and non- agricultural land, decline in biodiversity, pollution In the wake of the rapid industrialization that is of air, water and soil, and toxicity to plants, ani- being envisaged for the northeastern states, natu- mals and man are some of the more obvious effects rally coal has to play a vital role. These Tertiary of coal mining. Migration of labour force, mostly coals can be judiciously utilised in several indus- from outside, their settlement in the temporary tries, some of which are detailed below: hutment and spurt in the income of local tribal people have markedly influenced the economic (a) The coal resource of Nagaland, Arunachal and social environment of the area. Pradesh and Meghalaya and Assam can be The major environmental problems which have utilized for thermal power generation. But arisen in the region due to coal mining are: the high sulphur and the powdery nature of the coal present problems. This can be tied 1. Formation of new degraded land, namely col- over with the special designs of the boilers liery spoils, because of upside-down change in and briquetting of the powdery coal. A the position of soil horizons. thermal plant has already been commi- 2. Adverse change in the physical, chemical and ssioned at Nalgalbibra in the Garo Hills. biological properties of soil. (b) Co-existence of coal and limestones in the 3. Deposition of coal particles both in wet and Khasi-Jaintia and Garo Hills may lead to set- dry seasons through water seepage, dust wind ting up of Cement plants in the near future. on vegetation and land which is not directly (c) The low ash, high volatile Tertiary coals are hit by the mining operations like hill tops, hill suitable for low temperature carbonisation. slopes, abandoned and cultivation crop fields, This would yield a host of valuable by- and coal dumping areas. product chemicals. Moreover, the ammonia 4. Contamination of streams and other water can be utilised in the manufacture of fertiliz- bodies with toxic elements. ers. 5. Health hazards to the people working in the (d) Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are en- mines. dowed with basic raw materials for paper industry. Coals occurring in these two states Eco- Eco -friendly mining may be utilised in this industry. The setting up of the Tuli paper mill is an important For eco-friendly mining, the following points stride in this direction. seem to be extremely important from the envi- (e) Studies by C.F.R.I. have revealed that the ronment point of view: coals of Makum can be utilised as matching blends with the coking coals of Jharia and 1. Intensive survey and evaluation of the pre- Raniganj for the manufacture of metallur- lease existing vegetal cover is necessary. If the gical coal, this aspect may find favor with the existing vegetal cover is really of a high quali- planners. ty, it is better not to be disturbed at all. (f) C.F.R.I. has indicated that the superior qual- 2. Thorough geological investigations to exactly ity (ash 10%) high volatile tertiary coals are locate all seams of the pay-mineral are impor- unique in the world. So far as their conv- tant so that the detailed planning and schedul- ersion to synthetic petroleum is concerned ing for the mining and ultimate restoration can and can be converted to liquid fuel by direct be done. This would require intensive and ex- hydrogenation method. tensive exploratory drilling. 3. Dividing the mining area into blocks and sub- E nvironmental impact of coal mining blocks and planning in a manner that overbur- den-removal, actual mining, pit back-filling The indiscriminate and unscientific mining are and restoration grading/re-vegetating all pro- causing large-scale damage to land, water, air and ceed concurrently in a phase-wise sequen-tial, Ecotone Page 12 vegetation, influencing the life of the people in the Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  13. 13. Ecotone assembly-line sequence. Restoration should ressive release of plant nutrients helps in re- not be left to be done at the end in any case covery of the impact post by the mined land. what so ever. 9. The mining operation should be kept at a min- 4. When slopes steeper than 10˚ have to be imum in order to preserve the paddy fields and mined. Questions of slope stability and of the animal fodder crops around to maintain the unsupported rocks sliding should be kept in ecosystem of the surround-ding area. view in planning and adequate benching, ter- 10. In the winter season the streams and rivulets racing, counter forts, support walls or other should be checked and the stagnant water stabilization measures should be adopted. points may be shallowed by boulders to have 5. Rubber tyred transportation generates most of continuous flow of water thereby avoiding fur- the dust in a mine. This should be minimized ther percolation of water underground. through use of belt-conveyors, rope-ways or trolleys-on-rails to the maximum extent poss- In conclusion, it may be said that though these ible. northeastern states are rich in oil and natural gas 6. Adequate buffering green belts should be pro- resources, coal is a major raw material and is des- vided around mining areas and trans-portation tined to play a vital role in the industrial devel- routes. The plant species for such green-belt opment of the region. However, in order to har- shall need to be carefully chosen for ameliorat- ness these coal deposits, stress must be laid on the ing the type of pollution likely to emanate. const-ruction of road and rail links, so that the 7. The post-restoration grading, landscape and problem of inaccessibility is pushed back to the vegetal-cover should be planned for clearly- rear. specified functions including ecological, social and economic aspects. The needs of the neigh- Author bouring communities have to be given ade- quate consideration, if the effort has to be sus- Kiranmay Sarma tainable. School of Environment Management 8. Neutralizing the soil with lime and adding of GGS Indraprastha University magnesium-ammonium-phosphate for prog- Kashmere Gate, Delhi-110006 Email: Ecotone Page 13 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  14. 14. Ecotone JUNGLE FILE Pha Conservation of Endangered Phayre’s leaf langur (Trachypithecus phayrei) in degraded habitat of southern Assam, India : Kripaljyoti Mazumdar Phayre’s Leaf Langur (Trachypithecus phayrei) Photograph: Kripaljyoti Mazumdar North Eastern states of India are one of the richest bush quail Perdicula manipurensis (Vulnerable- biodiversity hotspot areas of the globe and known IUCN) and Black breasted parrotbill Paradoxornis for its endemism both in flora and fauna. Situating flavirostris (Vulnerable-IUCN) are only found in in the confluence zone of Indo-Chinese, Indo- this region. Of the total 54% of threaten mammals, Malayan and Indian biogeographic region and its 68% of Birds and 63% of reptiles found in the unique position coupled with its physiography country has been recorded from north eastern part has laid an foundation for the proliferation of a (Choudhury, 2006) More than 350 species of pri- variety of habitats, which harbors a diverse biota mates are currently found worldwide. Out of with high level of endemism. Statistically, the these 17 species are found in India of which 11 spe- Northeastern India accounts for 8% of India’s to- cies are found only in northeastern India and very tal geographical area whereas it supports about much endemic to the region. It is important to 60% of the total endangered faunal species found mention that out of these 11 species one is very in the country. Some of them, almost entire popu- recently discovered Arunachal macaque Macaca lation is only confined to this region e.g. Pigmy munzala and another is the range extension of Ti- Hog Porcula salvania (Critically Endangered- betan macaque Macaca thibetana in India (Aruna- IUCN), Namdapha Flying squirrel Biswamoyopterus chal Pradesh). The entire Himalaya harbors more biswasi (Critically Endangered-IUCN), Manipur endangered taxa than anywhere else in India Thamin Cervus eldii (Endangered-IUCN), Manipur (Rodgers and Panwar, 1989). Ecotone Page 14 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  15. 15. Ecotone The Phayres leaf langur or popularly known as chal macaque Macaca munzala which is very new to spectacled monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei) belong science are killed mostly for the agricultural dam- to the langur family is one of the three colobids age that they cause. This fascinating creature, found in the state of Assam. All together there are Phayre's leaf-monkey Trachypithecus phayrei is one three species of primates belonging to langur of the most threatened species of primate found in family are found in the state; Capped langur Thra- the North- eastern region of India. In Assam, chypithecus pileatus, Golden langur Trachypithecus geei Phayre's leaf-monkey is found only in Barak valley and Phayre’s leaf monkey Trachypithecus phayrei. comprising the districts of Cachar, Hailakandi, The Phayre’s leaf langur is the smallest among and Karimganj. Dr. A. Choudhury (1987) has re- these three langur species. ported this species for the first time from the In- ner line reserve forest of Assam. So far, only 129 As the part of my Master level study, I compared individuals of Phayre's leaf-monkey were recorded the seasonal preference of the roosting and roofing from the southern Assam by Bose in 2003. Listed trees by this species in the secondary forest habi- as Schedule-I of Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, tats around Assam University campus 1972; and categorized as Endangered in the red list (24041΄390΄΄ N 92044΄578΄΄ E), southern Assam. In of IUCN 3.1 and Appendix II of CITES, this spe- the degraded secondary habitat it is important to cies has been facing tremendous pressure from the understand the species preference by this endan- local community residing. The extensive collec- gered primate in order to initiate the conservation tion of bamboos, firewood and other NTFPs has approach in the mist of current trend of habitat raised the concern. fragmentation and to retain the fast declining nat- ural resource management systems. These de- Found in the countries like Bangladesh, Burma, graded habitats of southern Assam supports many China, India, Thailand, and Vietnam; three subs- faunal species, among primates, I could locate five pecies are found in south east Asia (i.e. Trachypithe- species of it in the secondary forests near Assam cus phayrei phayrei, Trachypithecus phayrei crepusculus, university campus. The capped langur Trachypithe- Trachypithecus phayrei shanicus). The Trachypithecus cus pileatus, Western hoolock gibbon Hoolock hoo- phayrei phayrei is the subspecies found in our re- lock and Phayre’s leaf langur Trachypithecus phayrei gion, having the dorsal side either dark brown, are the schedule-I primates along with Rhesus buffy or gray-brown and the ventral side is gray or macaque Macaca mulatta and a doubtful sighting of whitish in coloration. Around the eye there is a Pig-tailed macaque Macaca leonina found in the white ring, which look like spectacle and so it is area. So far, we have recorded a total of 22 species also popularly known as spectacle monkey or of mammalian fauna near the secondary forest Chasma Bandar. This species has an extensive cap habitat (Mazumdar et al. under prep.). of hair on the top of the head that occurs in all individuals except newborn infants. The species is The primordial Indian traditions and civilization one of the endemic species found in the Barak has stressed on the importance for all form of valley. In Cachar district the distribution that has creatures and the religious totems on killing of recorded so far has been from the survey done any primate due to the related religious faith asso- during the Indo- US primate project in 1997 and ciated with especially in Hinduism. But with the the survey done by Dr. J. Bose on behalf of the passes of time there are many primate species Wildlife Trust of India. The survey done by Dr. which are coming into constant interaction or Bose in 2003 has revealed about 4 sites out of the conflicts with human in terms of raiding crops reserve forests and sanctuaries in Barak valley. But and damaging properties, even in some cases in- some of the new surveys done by us revealed juring humans. Primate species like Rhesus maca- another new distribution sites in the eco-forest in que Macaca mulatta in most parts of the region, and outside the Assam university campus and one Assamese macaque Macaca assamenses in Assam and village named Mishipur village near the Jalenga Arunachal Pradesh; Pig-tailed macaque Macaca tea estate. Thus it certainly enhanced the chances leonina in the state of Meghalaya; Stump tailed for the new distribution patches in the Barak val- Ecotone Page 15 macaque Macaca arctoides in Nagaland; and Aruna- ley and some new trapped populations. Known Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  16. 16. Ecotone for its adaptability with the environment, the Tra- growth) into the tea gardens has heavily threat- chypithecus phayrei is a folivorous species. This spe- ened the existence of the primate in such a small cies lives in both primary and secondary forests, patch of land. No doubt it is the most adapted and also on tea estates where bamboo groves are species, though such squeezing is compelling it to found. In the Barak valley Phayre's leaf-monkey is lose the habitat. Fragmentation raises the extinc- found in higher densities in mixed-species planta- tion risk because isolated subpopulation can go tions than in monoculture plantations. extinct one by one without being repopulated. Stochastic decline in small subpopulation makes In our study time the species is seen specially take it more likely that they will go extinct and this is the immature leafs of the bamboo. In the Inner further worsened by the reduction of genetic va- Line Reserve Forest of Assam, this species was riability in subpopulation resulted from isolation. found to mainly consume bamboo shoots (Srivas- Species already with restricted ranges are particu- tava, 1999). So our observation matches with that larly vulnerable to these threats. of Srivastava in the inner line forest. In southern Assam the three most preferred food items were Haunting is a threat even more severe than forest Teinestachum dulloea, Dendrocalamus griffithii, and destruction in some of the more remote areas. The Mokania micrantha (Bose and Bhattacharjee, 2002). hunting of primates in Northeast India takes place This species prefers to consume immature leaves for a number of reasons, but by far the most im- to more mature ones. portant is for food (Srivastava, 2006). Even in some of our study site i.e. in the Mishipur village, Threats face by the species: Jayantia tribes used to kill the monkey for their The species is facing some of the severe problems meat. It is one of the popular foods for the Jayantia for its existence in the valley, whereas fragmenta- tribes in the village. We have found only one small tion of the habitat is severe among those. Frag- troop consisting about 5 to 6 individuals in it. The mentation of the habitat is considered to be the secondary information collected from the old most significant threat to the survival of primates people of the village reveals the fact that earlier a in Northeast India (Srivastava, 2006). However, it huge no. of population used to reside in the village is evident that certain species can survive in dis- forest but constant haunting threat decreases the turbed habitats, but the long-term consequences population of the species and now only 5-7 indi- on their reproduction and survival are not known. vidual’s trip is seen in the village and that also The Phayre’s langur Trachypithecus phayrei is the very rarely (Mazumdar et al. 2008). most adopted species of the primates found in the Conservation measures to be taken: northeast India. It is estimated that the species takes about 9-10 years cycle to adapt to a particu- The troops we have selected for the study are the lar area or degradation. It is important to note isolated population of primates and are totally cut that the primate species in Northeast India have off from the other Phayre’s langur population. As been forced into crop raiding because of loss of they are isolated from the other population they natural habitat to agriculture. In some cases, they should be given highest priority for the conserva- have clearly learned to coexist with humans by tion. using crops as a significant part of their diet. In Since, forest loss is the principal threat to pri- this case we can put our second site as example mates; habitat protection should be given highest where most of the forest is used as jhum practice conservation priority (Srivastava, 2006). The and shifting cropping systems. Conflicts of this Phayre’s leaf monkey which is one of the most kind are likely to increase in the future as the hu- adapted primate species also found it difficult in man population continues to grow exponentially the area to adapt to the heavy destruction being in Northeast India. done in the area of study. Conservation of the re- Apart from that the rapid expansion of most of the maining habitat is the highest priority in the de- graded habitats. Strict protection is needed to tea gardens has continuously threatening the exis- tence of the primates. The constant conversion of prevent further extraction of fuel wood and indi- scriminant collection of NTFPs by the village Ecotone Page 16 the forest area (which are mostly of the secondary Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  17. 17. Ecotone people and illegal cutting of timber by outsiders. Mazumdar, K., Soud, R. and Gupta, A. 2008. As- As said in the earlier, in the study sites the prima- sessment of anthropogenic threats faced by ry forest is almost lash away by the profound cut- Phayre’s Leaf-Monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei) ting and destruction of forest. Considering the in the degraded forest habitat in and around species richness in the area there is paramount Assam University Campus, Cachar District, importance to pronounce the area as protected Assam. pp. 135-140. In: B. Raghvendra Rao, S. area and to link it up with the protected area Narendra Prasad, C. Srinivasulu and P. Jud- network around the globe. son (eds.), Biodiversity Conservation and The fragmentation of the habitat and deforesta- Human Wel-being, Department of Zoology, tion has marched together with the expansion of Osmania University, Hyderabad, Andhra the tea garden and agricultural practices. The Pradesh. xviii+137. most treacherous threat faced by the Phayre’s Rodgers, W.A. and Panwar, H.S. 1989. Planning a langur is the fragmentation of the habitat, so we Wildlife Protected Area Network in India. have to come up with the canopy bridges or corri- Volume I. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra- dors to link up these small fragmented habitats. dun, India. This could be seen as the most recommended ac- Srivastava, A. 1999. Primates of North Eastern India. tivity for the conservation of the scattered troops Megadiversity Press, Bikaner, India. of monkeys. It is imperative to prepare a conserva- Srivastava, A. 2006. Conservation of Threatened tion plan which would bring these areas into the Primates of Northeast India. Primate Conserva- protected area network; be they managed by local tion 20: 107–113. communities or by administrative authorities with local participation. Conservation education can be very effective and many people understand the value of wildlife and natural habitats. This is of utmost necessary in our second study site i.e. Mishipur village where the haunting of the spe- cies is practiced. In-fact village community there in the first study site i.e. in the village near the eco-forest never used to kill the primates, but conservation education is still necessary consider- ing the collection of forest products. References: Bose, J. 2003. ‘Search for a Spectacle’: A conserva- tion survey of the Phayre’s leaf Monkey (Tra- chypithecus phayres) in Assam and Mizoram. Photo: Sanjay Kr. Seal Wildlife Trust of India. New Delhi. Bose, J. and Bhattacharjee, P.C. 2002. Behavioral Photo: Searching Phaye’s leaf langur in field site profile of a troop of Phayre's leaf monkey (Trachypithecus phayrei) in a fragmented Author and disturbed habitat, northeast India. (ab- stract) XIX Congress of the International Primato- logical Society. Beijing, China, 0287. Kripaljyoti Mazumdar Choudhury, A. 2006. The status of Endangered G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, North East Unit, Vivek Vihar, species in North eastern India. Journal of Bom- Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh-791 113 bay Natural History Society, 103:(2-3) 157-167. Email: Ecotone Page 17 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  18. 18. Ecotone JUNGLE FILE Status and Conservation of Slow Loris Nycticebus bengalensis Conservation Nyctice In in Northeast India Awadhesh Kumar and Ashalata Devi Bengal slow Lories in the fringe area of Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary (near NERIST campus) Photo by: Awadhesh Kumar Among the primates of South and Southeast Asia, the northeast states, with the northwestern limit of its slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) are amongst the least range being the southward bend of the river Brahma- studied, owing to their nocturnal lifestyle, cryptic putra at about 26°N, 90°E (Srivastava, 1999). They also nature and relatively small body size (Srivasta- prefer forest edges, which have a higher density of va & Mohnot, 2001). The Bengal Slow Loris (N. benga- insect prey (Rowe, 1996). Slow loris is a small and lensis) is one of five recognized slow loris species, and woolly, about the size of a small cat and nocturnal in was previously considered a subspecies nature and mostly active after dusk till sun rise. This of N. coucang (Groves, 2001; Roos , 2003). Recognized species is very shy and insectivorous in habit, and as a separate species in 1998 and confirmed in 2003. move slowly while foraging and walking on ground. The five species, recognized based on genetic and A Slow Loris (Nycticebus bengalensis), was rescued from morphological analysis are N. bengalensis, N. coucang, Legerstomia indica a tree species on 15th May 2009 at N. javanicus, N. menagensis and N. pygmaeus (Roos , 2003; 8.15 PM near main electric power house in North Chen et al. 2006; Nekaris & Jaffe, 2007; Groves Eastern Regional Institute of Science and Technology & Maryanto 2008). The Bengal Slow Loris is globally (NERIST), Deemed University, Nirjuli, Itanagar, Aru- distributed in India, Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, nachal Pradesh. NERIST is situated in the fringe area Southern China, Laos, northern Thailand and Viet- of Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary, Arunachal Pradesh, nam, (Nekaris & Bearder, 2007). which is major natural habitat of this species. The In India, this species is inhabits tropical and subtropi- species was kept in safe place for one night in NERIST cal evergreen and semi-evergreen rainforests with campus, which was later handed over to authority of Itanagar Biological Park (IBP) on May, 16th. Slow loris continuous dense canopies forest areas of all the Ecotone Page 18 is distributed throughout the entire part of Itanagar Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  19. 19. Ecotone wildlife sanctuary and its adjoining reserved and un- 2001; Radhakrishna, 2006) in this region. These im- reserved forest of Itanagar capital complex. About 20 portant anthropogenic threats are contributing to the individuals of slow loris has been rescued from human decline of the loris population in the region. This spe- inhabited area such as park, home garden, roadside cies is capture and hunted for pet, food and traditional plantation and fringe areas of Itanagar Wildlife Sanct- medicine trades in their entire distribution range. uary particularly in last two years and safely released Almost all body parts of slow lorises are used in tradi- inside the sanctuary (C. Loma, Director, IBP, personal tional Chinese and Khmer Medicine in Cambodia, communication). These individuals of loris might have China, Lao PDR, and Vietnam; to a lesser extent also escaped from their disturbed habitats, and used the in India and Indonesia. Fur of the animal is used in home gardens, roadside plantation, tea garden, frag- traditional Asian Medicine believed to support mented forest patches as the stepping stone to mi- wound healing; in Indonesia locally worn as amulet to grate in search of new and safe natural habitats. ward off danger. Eye-balls are used as love potion, flesh and meat is used to cure epilepsy and stomach Slow loris populations have been declining and its ailments or asthma respectively. Their attractiveness, current status throughout its distribution range is not large eyes, small body size and slow movements are known properly (Wolfheim, 1983; Srivastava, 1999) the main reasons for the high demand to keep slow due to its nocturnal nature, which make obstacle in lorises as pet species in South Asia. population and behvioural studies. Only a few studies have reported on distribution and occurrences of slow Due to the limited information, the Bengal Slow Loris, loris in Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh in endemic to South and Southeast Asia, has been until northeast India (Choudhury, 1992; Gupta, 2001; Rad- recently categorized as Data Deficient in the IUCN hakrishna et al. 2006; Swapna et al. 2008; Kumar, 2009, Red list (2006) and under Schedule I of the Wildlife (Protection) Act of India, 1972. Recently it was up- Das et al. 2009; Nandini et al. 2009) Table-1. Based on listed from Appendix – II to Appendix – I of CITES the review, slow loris is mostly threatened by hunting, (2007) and it is now considered as Vulnerable, habitat fragmentation & destruction in form of shift- (A2acd+3cd+4acd) in South and Southeast Asia (Ne- ing cultivation, accidental forest fire, encroachment karis et al. 2008; Streicher 2008). for permanent settlement, construction of buildings, roads, bridges, NTFPs collection, road accidents and illegal timber logging, etc (Choudhury, 1992; Gupta, Table 1. Details of direct sightings and occurrence of wild Bengal slow lories. State Slow loris sighted area Time of No. of Year of Source sighting animal Sighting (hours) sighted Assam Jeypore Reserve Forest, Dibru- 18:45 01 25 May Nandini et al. 2009 garh Division 2007 Namtok, Dirok Forest, Dehing - 01 31 December Nandini et al. 2009 Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary 2005 Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary 22.00-02.00 04 2008 Das et al. 2009 Meghalaya Baghmara Reserve Forest, Garo 19:30 01 12 March Nandini et al. 2009 Hills Division 2007 Gongrot Aking, adjoining Bal- 01 April 2005 Nandini et al. 2009 pakram NP Garo Hills Division Arunachal Deban, Namdapha National 19:57 01 2007 Nandini et al. 2009 Pradesh Park Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary, 18.47 02 Kumar A. personnel communication Itangar Wildlife Sanctuary and 20.15 01 15 May 2009 Kumar A. 2009 fringe area (NERIST) Ecotone Page 19 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  20. 20. Ecotone References: Nekaris, K. A. I. and Bearder., S. K. 2007. The lorisiform primates of Asia and mainland Choudhury, A. 1992. The slow loris (Nycticebus coucang) Africa: diversity shrouded in darkness, pp. 24– in Northeast India. Primate Report 34: 77-83. 45. In: Campbell, C.J., A. Fuentes, K.C. Mackin- Chen, J. H., D. Pan, C. Groves, Y. X. Wang, non, M. Panger & S.K. Bearder (eds.). Primates E. Narusima, H. Fitch-Snyder, O. Ryder, H.W. in Pperspective. Oxford University Press, Oxford, Zhang, Y.X. Fu & Y.P. Zhang. 2006. Molecular UK. phylogeny of Nycticebus Infered from Mitochon- Nekaris, K.A.I., Blackham, G.V., and Nijman, V. 2008. drial genes. International journal of Primat- Conservation implications of low encounter ology 27(4): 0164-0291. rates of five nocturnal primate species (Nycticebus CITES. 2007. CITES Notification to the parties, No. spp.) in Asia. Biodiversity Conservation 17: 733–747. 2007/022, Geneva, 26 July 2007 Web: Radhakrishna, S., Goswami, A.B., and Sinha, A. 2006., Website visited on 10 De- Distribution and Conservation of Nycticebus ben- cember 2008. galensis in Northeastern India. International Journal Das, N., Biswas, J., Das, J., Ray, P.C., Sangma, A. and of Primatology 27(4): 971-982. Bhattacharjee. P. C. 2009. Status of Bengal Slow Srivastava, A. 1999. Primate of Northeast India. Mega Loris Nycticebus bengalensis (Primates: Lorisidae) diversity Press, Bikaner (Rajasthan) India. in Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary, Assam, India Srivastava, A. and Mohnot, S. 2001. Distribution, con- Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(11): 558-561. servation status and priorities for primates in Groves C. (2001). Primate Taxonomy. Smithsonian Insti- northeast India. ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife and pro- tution Press, Washington, viii+350pp. tected areas: Non-human primates of India 1(1): 102- Roos, C. 2003. Molecular phylogeny of prosimians, 108. langurs and gibbons. Dissertation. Lehrstuhl fur Streicher, U., M. Singh, R. J. Timmins and Brockel- Genetik, Wissenchaftszentrum Weihenstephan man, W. 2008. Nycticebus bengalensis. In: IUCN furErnahrung, Landnutzung und Umwelt, 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Technical University. Munich Version 2009.2. Groves, C. and I. Maryanto, I. 2008. Craniometry of Swapna, N., Gupta, A., and Radhakrishna, S. 2008. slow lorises (genus Nycticebus) of insular South- Distribution survey of Bengal slow loris Nyctice- east Asia, pp. 115–122. In: Shekelle, M., C. Groves, busbengalensis in Tripura, northeastern India. I. Maryanto, H. Schulze & H. Fitch- Asian Primates Journal 1(1): 37-40. Snyder (eds.). Primates of The Oriental Night. LIPI Wolfheim, J. H. 1983. Primates of the world, University of Press, Jakarta. Washington Press, Seattle, Washington. Gupta, A. 2001. Non-human primates of India – an introduction. In: ENVIS Bulletin: Wildlife and pro- Authors Authors tected areas: Non-human primates of India 1(1): 1-29. Kumar, A. 2009. Endangered slow loris’s journey from NERIST to Itanagar biological Park, Arunachal Awadhesh Kumar Times, 1-2, dated 17.05.09. Department of Forestry, NERIST, Nirjuli-791109, Nandini, R., Kakati K, and Ved, N. 2009. Occurrence Arunachal Pradesh, India records of the Bengal slow loris (Nycticebus benga- Email: lensis) in northeastern India. Asian Primates Journal 1(2): 12-18. Ashalata Devi Nekaris, K. A. I. and Jaffe, S. 2007. Unexpected diverty Department of Environmental Science, NAPAM, of slow lorises (Nycticebus spp.) within the Javan Tezpur University, Tezpur, Assam, India pet trade: Implications for slow loris taxonomy. Email: Contribution to Zoology 76(3): 187-196. Ecotone Page 20 Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  21. 21. Ecotone BIODIVERSITY INFORMATICS Spandan, the bip: Web based platform for biodiversity inventory by people Neha Singh, Gurushant Upase, Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh and Vishwas Chavan huraijam Peoples’ participation in biodiversity monitoring and conservation is essential. With aim to empower citizens to contribute scientifically useful biodiversity observation records, World Institute for Nature (WIN) has developed web based information system called ‘Spandan, the biodiversity inventory by pe ) peo- ple’. Launched in February 2010, and accessible at http://www.spandan, Spandan, the bip is con- ceived as the citizens’ movement with aim to publish millio of biodiversity observation records during millions 2010, International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). This article describes salient features of Spandan, the bip and elaborates as to how citizens can participate in this unique and ambitions movement of monitoring and conservation of biodiversity through sharing of biodiversity observation records. It is now well recognised that participation of Spandan, the bip: What is in Name? general public in scientific research could signifi- i- cantly improve knowledge and decision/making in Spandan, is a Sanskrit word meaning alive and the field of biodiversity. General public can con- n- pulsating. Every biodiversity observation is in true tribute by monitoring the state of biodiversity. In sense a ‘living pulse’, which indicates that Mother fact, we believe that citizens’ participation can Earth is full with life, and its environment suitable result into extensive collaboration between scien- n- enough to support diverse life forms. Further, who tists and citizens. However, till date very little ever, else other than humanity can best record these opportunities have been extended to people at xtended ‘living pulses of Mother Earth’, which can in turn large in monitoring and sharing biodiversity ob- b- help in understanding nature and conserving bio- servations record. In fact, much needed partner- r- diversity. Thus, we chose the name ‘Spandan, the ship between scientists and citizens is lacking, ens biodiversity inventory by people’ to this ambitious especially in mega-biodiverse and developing na- a- project. tion such as India. To overcome this problem, World Institute for Nature (WIN), a Pune, India Spandan, the bip: Ambitions based NGO has developed Spandan, the bip. Con- n- ceived as the citizens movement with aim to con- n- 1. Billion records: Spandan, the bip is a citizens tribute millions of biodiversity observation re- e- movement with aims to collate together mil- cords during the 2010, International Year of Biodi- i- lions biodiversity observations during 2010 In- versity. Launched during February 2010, Spandan, ternational Year of Biodiversity. Over next 5 the bip is accessible at http://www.spandan- - years Spandan, the bip aspires to collage together over a billion scientifically useful biodiversity observation records through this citizen movement. If we really have to understand the Ecotone Page 21 Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010
  22. 22. Ecotone pulse of Mother Earth, it really has to partici- needs to ensure that following mandatory data is patory movement of ALL. It is simply not a ready for sharing. These include (a) common name ‘scientific enterprise’, but it has to be ‘mass of the organism, (b) language of common name, movement through every citizen contributing (c) region where common name is used, (d) to it. With 6.8 billion human populations and date/period of observation, (e) locality where ob- over billion families, how impossible it is to servation was made, (f) observer details, and (g) contribute 100's of million biodiversity obser- at least one photograph of the observed vations? In fact, a record each by every family plant/animal species. To empower citizen to doc- across the globe can together contribute 1 bil- ument exact latitude and longitude position, lion records. Google maps interface is provided for locating 2. Citizens are scientists: Another ambition of exact place where observations was made. Locali- Spandan, the bip is to prove beyond doubt that ty can be recorded as precise latitude & longitude every citizen is a scientist by birth, and can (point), bounding box, or polygon. For each ob- contribute scientifically useful biodiversity servation up to five photographs, audio or video observations which can be used for scientific can be uploaded. analysis purposes. All that is required is to Once validated or value added by the experts provide them easy to use framework that can these biodiversity observation records are pub- transform amateur biodiversity observations lished through Spandan, the bip. By sharing biodi- into scientifically useful data. Impossible is versity observation records through Spandan, the nothing. Together We Can! bip, contributor further agree to share them with 3. Citizens’ movement for biodiversity: The global infrastructures such as GBIF data portal last yet most urgent ambition of Spandan, the bip ( or similar open access biodi- is to relight the torch of ‘citizens’ movement’ versity information systems or networks. across the globe irrespective of cast, color, creed, gender, stature etc. This will be bring- CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: ing in equality towards all living beings. Span- dan, the bip will be citizens’ instrument to let Citizens can participate in this unique and ambi- governments know that we are worried with tious movement in more than one way. These in- depleting state of world’s biodiversity, and clude- that we are ready to act NOW! We wish to pass on the legacy of sustainable nature with • Contribute biodiversity observations: Every its diverse life to our future generations while citizen can contribute biodiversity observation it is alive and pulsating, and not otherwise. records, provided they have photograph of the 4. Every pulse counts: Every single biodiversity plant or animal species observed/recorded. observation denotes one pulse of life on earth. • Validate biodiversity records: Biodiversity Thus, every single biodiversity record irrespec- experts, naturalists, taxonomists and ecolo- tive of what, when, where, has been recorded gists can join the network of experts for vali- by whom. All we need is a photograph and dating as well value add the records contrib- video with simple information – which plant uted by the citizens. or animal it is? As well when and where you • Media and Public Relations: Individuals can took the photo or video? also contribute towards development of public service announcements, presentations as well SHARING IS CARING: How to contribute? electronic media campaigns in local languages. • Local to Global Coordination: Being citizens Sharing biodiversity observation records through movement of global nature, participation of Spandan, the bip is very simple. Unlike many bio- individuals, institutions, civil society organiza- diversity observation systems, Spandan, the bip tions as well international organizations is es- do not need contributor to know scientific infor- sential for coordinating various campaigns, mation of species. Every contributor have secured competitions that Spandan, the bip intends to Ecotone Page 22 login, which can be self generated. Contributor organise to achieve its ambitions. Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010 Ecotone
  23. 23. Ecotone Figure 1. Spandan, the bip publish biodiversity observation records contributed by the citizens. Table 1. Spandan, the bip: Web Resources Web Resource Title URL Spandan, the bip Public Service Advertisement on YouTube H-v7OtOM Public Service Presentations on SlideShare in Eng- lish, Hindi, Marathi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Telgu, Tamil & Kannada Spandan, the bip BLOG Spandan, the bip on Orkut Spandan, the bip on Facebook Spandan, the bip on Twitter Authors Neha Singh Khuraijam Jibankumar Singh North East Centre for Environmental Education Gurushant Upase and Research, Sagolband Tera Sapam Leirak, World Institute for Nature, A 403 Palladium Imphal 795001, Manipur Grand, Pune 411015, India Emails: Vishwas Chavan World Institute for Nature, A 403 Palladium Grand, Pune 411015, India. Global Biodiversity Information Facility, Univer- sitetsparken 15, DK2100, Copenhagen, Denmark. Email: or Ecotone Page 23 or Ecotone Volume 2 Issue 1 May 2010