Conserving Bio-Cultural Diversity in the Sacred Tsum Valley in Gorkha District, Nepal

Tourism and other activities threaten to impact the natural beauty and the biological diversity maintained through the cultural and religious beliefs and practices of the Tsumba people.


Description

Tsum is a valley located in the North-East of Gorkha district. This valley covers two Village Development Comittees (VDCs) of Gorkha district. They are Chumchet (known as Lower Tsum) and Chhekampar (known as Upper Tsum). The valley consists of  33 small villages/ settlements with 1810 inhabitants from 529 households (Government of Nepal/Central Bureau Statistics , 2012: 56). The scattered human settlement is situated between 1901m to 3100m.  Approximately 2000 species of plants, 11 types of forests, and over 50 species of medicinal plants have been recorded in this valley. A total of 33 species of mammal, over 110 species of birds, 11 species of butterflies, and 3 species of reptiles have been noted in the valley (ICIMOD, 2008: 15). The valley, stretched from South-West to North-East by the sides of Shiyarkhola river flowing from Norther-East to Southern-West, is surrounded by beautiful mountains.

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Basic Data
NameConserving Bio-Cultural Diversity in the Sacred Tsum Valley in Gorkha District, Nepal
CountryNepal
ProvinceGorkha District
SiteTsum Valley
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biodiversity conservation conflicts
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Establishment of reserves/national parks
Tourism facilities (ski resorts, hotels, marinas)
Other
Specific CommoditiesLand
Biological resources
Tourism services
Live Animals
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsSince 1998, the Tsum valley is a part of Manasu Conservation Area (MCA). The government of Nepal has entrusted National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). NTNC has adopting the concept of integrated development and conservation approach. The development and conservation works are carried out within its geographical area (seven VDCS, of which two are from Tsum valley) through Conservation Area Management Committees (CAMC) in each VDCs. Number of community groups such as forest users groups, agriculture groups, youth groups, women's group, health groups etc are established to implement the integrated development activities planned by the NTNC. NTNC implements the conservation and development activities through three sources: government, donor agencies, and tourism revenue (through entry fees from the tourists). Annual budget is invested in the name of Integrated conservation and development activities throuhg CAMC of NTNC. Conservation attracts tourists, who might threaten bio-cultural biodiversity, and local rules of befaviour.
Level of Investment (in USD)Annual budget is invested in the name of Integrated conservation and development activities throuhg CAMC of NTNC
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1810
Start Date01/01/1998
Relevant government actors(a) Nation Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC)

(b) Local Government Institutions

(c) Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC)

(d) Village Development Committee

(e) District Development Committee
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersTsum Welfare Committee (TWC)

http://www.tsumvalley.org

ForestAction Nepal.

Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ).

ICCA consortium, Indigenous peoples’ and community conserved territories and areas (ICCAs), www.iccaconsortium.org/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Tsumba indigenous people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Arguments for the rights of mother nature
Declaration of Sacred Natural Site (SNS)
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Health ImpactsPotential: Accidents, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Other socio-economic impacts
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseLand demarcation
New legislation
Strengthening of participation
Promoting the practices of SNS and ICCA as per the concept recognized by IUCN and other international decisions and programs such as CBD COP will help to resolve the issue for long run.
Development of AlternativesDevelopment by recognizing and supporting customary laws and practices is one of the most urgent need for Tsum bio-cultural conservation. This could be done through the declaration of Tsum valley as "Territory and Areas Conserved by Indigenous Peoples (ICCA)". The concept of Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) as per the IUCN's recommendation number 147 is also equally important.
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.Yes, recognition and support to local customary laws and practices will ensure environmental and social justice both in long run. If the state provides legal recognition to the valley as one of the ICCAs or SNS in Nepal and support accordingly, the local people will become able to ensure the conservation of Tsum valley as one of the exemplary Bio-Cultural Sites in Nepal. These concepts, based on the international legal standards and decisions, provides international foundations for the national initiatives for policy at the national level and practices on the grounds.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

MoFSC, (1973). National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1973. Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Kathmandu.

MoFSC, (1996). Buffer Zone Management Regulation, 1996.Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Kathmandu.

MoFSC, (2014). National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). Government of Nepal (GoN)/Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), Kathmandu Nepal.

References

Rai, J.K., Lama, N., and Bas. V. 2016. Sacred Tsum valley: improving biodiversity conservation with lessons for effective management of protected areas in Nepal. In, Bas, V. and Naomi (eds.) Asian sacred natural sites, Routledge, pp. 93-104.

NTNC, (2015). Annual Report 2015. National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC).

ICIMOD, (2008). Great Himalayan Trail: Preparatory Study, Tsum Valley, Gorkha District. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Rai, Jailab K., (2012). Shifting Biodiversity Conservation Paradigm and a Promising Alternative in Nepal. In: Dahal, Uprety and Acharya (Edt) "Reading in Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal". Society of Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal (SASON), Kathmandu.PP, 330-330.

IUCN, (2012). Recommendation number 147 on "Sacred natural sites – support for custodian protocols and customary laws in the face of global threats and challenges". IUCN's World Conservation Congress, at its session in Jeju, Republic of Korea, 6–15 September 2012.

IUCN/CEESP, (2010). Bio-cultural Diversity Conserved by indigenous Peoples & Local Communities—Examples &Analysis.Briefing Note, No. 10.

MoFSC, (2014). National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP). Government of Nepal (GoN)/Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), Kathmandu Nepal.

Rai, Jailab K., (2012a). Nepalko Jaibik Bibidhta Samrachyanma Adivasi Janajati tatha sthaniya samudayadwara samrachit chetra (ICCA) haruko bhumika (Roles of Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas [ICCAs] in biodiversity Conservation in Nepal). ForestAction Nepal, Kathmandu.

Rai, Jailab K., (2012b). Shifting Biodiversity Conservation Paradigm and a Promising Alternative in Nepal. In: Dahal, Uprety and Acharya (Edt) "Reading in Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal". Society of Anthropology and Sociology of Nepal (SASON), Kathmandu.PP, 330-330.

Verschuuren, B.; Robert Wild, Jeffrey McNeely, Gonzalo Oviedo (2010). Sacred Natural Sites, Conserving Culture and Nature. London: Earthscan.

Wild, R. and McLeod, C. (Editors) (2008). Sacred Natural Sites: Guidelines for Protected Area Managers. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.

Borrini-Feyrabend, G., Barbara Lassen, Stan Stevens, Gary Martin, Juan Carlos Riascos de la Peña, Ernesto F. Ráez-Luna and M. Taghi Farvar. 2010. Bio-cultural Diversity Conserved by Indigenous Peoples & Local Communities-Examples & Analysis. Companion Document to IUCN/CEESP Briefing Note No.10.2010, CENESTA, Tehran.

CBD, (2004). Program of Work on Protected Area (PoWPA). CBD/COP, Kuala Lumpur, 2004.

Dudely, N., (2008). Guidelines for Applying Protected Area Management Categories. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

GoN/CBS (2012). National Population and Housing Census 2011: Village Development Committee/Municipality, Vol. 2. Government of Nepal (GoN), Central Bureau of Statistics, Kathmandu, Nepal

Links

Tsum Welfare Committee. About Tsum Valley.
[click to view]

Media Links

A video documentary (Tsum Valley)prepared by National Forum of Environmental Journalists

Other Documents

A photo of Tsum Valley Mani Walls on the village foothill in Uppter Tsum
[click to view]

Tourists entering in Tsum Valley Group of tourists entering to Tsum vallye just down to Lokpa village of lower Tsum (@ Jailab)
[click to view]

People Gathering People in Tsum valley participating in religious preaching of Lama in Shyakya Festival in 2012 (@ Nima Lama)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorJailab Kumar Rai; Organization: ForestAction Nepal; Email: [email protected]
Last update30/01/2019
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