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Government of India

Ban on Grazing

Cattle rearing has been one of the principal occupations of several communities living in Sikkim. Extensive rearing of livestock is done especially by communities living in the higher altitudes. And grazing is the principal source of animal feed. Livestock is maintained in substantial numbers. History is thus proof to the rampant traditional grazing practice and the consequential deterioration to the endemic eco-system in Sikkim due to overgrazing.

In 1998 Government of Sikkim imposed ban on Grazing in reserved forest areas, plantation areas and water sources areas. This age old system of grazing was thus thrown over which set the tone for umpteen numbers of follow-up policy and legal inroads that led to the forest floor becoming clear of this nuisance and menace. Even at the cost of his popularity, Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling refused to take the ban order back.

The effects of which reflects its visibility in the recent years. Forests regenerating with natural succession, water-regime in the catchment areas improved, sick and dying lakes brimming with water, more water flowing down the streams and streamlets than before wildlife, avian-fauna and wilderness areas being better adapted leading to increase in population on account of creating an ideal habitat for their living, breeding and propagating. All of these project a positive natural scenario that speaks of sustainability and viability of life support systems in the hills and valley of Sikkim.

Since a strong conservation oriented polices and proprammes were put foreword by the State Government, forest cover in Sikkim has registered a substantial increase from 37.34% in 1994 to 47.59% at present. These are no mean achievements considering the fact that forest resources in many States of India and even the world are registering a serious decline.

In response to the ban on grazing and the increase in forest cover, an independent ‘INSCRIPTION’ whose report has been published in Down- to-Earth magazine found Sikkim to rate the highest in forest protection Index among all States of India.

Date Published: 2014-04-09

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