Biodiversity in Crisis: Trilateral cooperation among Nepal, India and China necessary for conservation

Kathmandu– Nepal was famous for Jatamasi 20 years ago. Jatamasi found especially in the high mountainous areas of Karnali and Far-West is found rarely these days.

Dipesh Pyakurel, who is doing his Phd in herbs said, “Jatamasi has become rare after the farmers harvest the seeds before it is fully grown.”

Prof Dr Ram Prasad Chaudhary of Central Department of Botany of Tribhuvan University said Jatamasi is on the verge of extinction due to excessive misuse.

Dr Chaudhary said not only Jatamasi, Panch Aunle, Lauthsalla, Satuwa and Kutki are also at the brink of extinction due to excessive exploitation and climate change.

The biodiversity of Nepal itself is at risk due to the climate change and excessive exploitation.

The recent study and statistics show that the climate change and excessive exploitation are posing risk to the biodiversity.

The study carried out worldwide by the Intergovernmental Science-policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) also shows that the biological diversity is facing crisis.

According to IPBES Co-Chairperson Dr Madhav Karki, the popular species in South Asia is disappearing day by day.

The study shows that Jatamasi is disappearing at the rate of 25 percent in the world while it is disappearing at the rate of 45 percent in South Asia.

Karki said, “If the trend continues, the current rate will be increased by hundred times in the next few years.”

The biodiversity is especially found in genetic, racial and environmental systems. According to Dr Karki, three levels of biological diversity are being destroyed.

Jatamasi is disappearing at an alarming high in Asia in comparison to the world because of the increasing urbanization, excessive industrial development and climate change.

The biological diversity is destroying day by day due to the illegal trade of herbs being carried out in the under developed countries like Nepal.

A team comprising 130 scientists and researchers had published a report by conducting a research for three years on the situation of biodiversity in Asia Pacific region.

According to the same report, the situation of biological diversity in Asia Pacific region is degrading.

Effect on food

The destruction of biodiversity will not affect the human life at the moment.  Experts in this field, however, said that there will be no existence of human beings on earth without biodiversity.

Dr Ram Prasad Chaudhary, who is also an expert of botany, giving an example of other plants in the space said there is no existence of human beings in other plants due to lack of biodiversity.

“It is because of the biodiversity on earth that there is a place for human beings in the planet,” he said.

Dr Chaudhary said the destruction of biodiversity will affect our food security.

Dr Karki is of the view that every creature has its own importance on the plant, saying that there is no alternative to protecting the biological diversity for the smooth operation of life cycle.

“We have not given any importance to the biodiversity, but the life is not possible without biodiversity,” he said.

Karki said the fish species are on the verge of extinction due to the use of toxic chemicals and indiscriminate exploitation of river-based resources and encroachment. He further said the herbs found in Himalayan areas are at risk due to the illegal trade.

Cooperation inevitable

Despite the importance of conservation of biodiversity, it is not possible to protect it by the only effort of Nepal.

The experts said the regional effort is essential to protect the biodiversity. They stressed on the need for cooperation to stop the illegal trade of herbs and protection of wild animals.

No boundary can stop the movement of wild animals. The animals which are found in Nepal also go to India. The animals found in India and China also come to Nepal.

Dr Chaudhary said the regional cooperation among India, China and Nepal among countries is necessary for the protection of biodiversity. The countries had also made some efforts in the past for the same.

According to Dr Karki, the campaign carried out in Nepal and other countries based on community level is helping in the conservation of biological diversity.

Tarai Arc Landscape, Kailash Sacred Landscape and Kanchanjunga Landscape are some of the programmes conducted by Nepal for the protection of biological diversity.

The Tarai Arc Landscape programme connects 14 districts from Bagmati to Kailali Kanchanpur of Nepal and some district of India bordering Nepal.

Similarly, the Kailash landscape covers Humla, Darchula, Bajhang and Baitadi as well as India’s Uttarakhand and the Manasarovar region of China. The Kanchanjunga Landscape programme connects Taplejung, Ilam, Panchthar and Jhapa of Nepal along with Bhutan with Sikkim of West Bengal, India.

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