Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

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Coordinates: 27°16′57.82″N 90°23′3.84″E / 27.2827278°N 90.3844000°E / 27.2827278; 90.3844000

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park
National park
Name origin: Jigme Singye Wangchuck
Country Bhutan
District Sarpang, Tsirang, Trongsa,
Wangdue Phodrang, and Zhemgang
Lake Sertsho, Yutsho, Gesatsho Tshobobzhao, Tsholumtsho
River Mangde Chhu, Sankosh River,Nika Chhu
Highest point
 - location Durshingla peak, Black Mountains
 - elevation 4,925 m (16,158 ft)
Lowest point
 - elevation 600 m (1,969 ft)
Area 1,730 km2 (668 sq mi)
Animal Black-necked crane, Golden langur, Clouded leopard,
red panda, Leopard, Tiger,
gaur, rufous-necked hornbill,
Himalayan black bear, Asian elephant, serow,
Musk Deer, Chinese pangolin, Leopard cat
Founded 1995
Management Headquarter
 - location Tshangkha, Trongsa, Bhutan
 - coordinates 27°27′N 90°27′E / 27.450°N 90.450°E / 27.450; 90.450
Leader Park manager
Jigme Singye protected area location map.png
JSWNP
Website: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park (formerly Black Mountains National Park) covers an area of 1,730 square kilometres (670 sq mi) in central Bhutan. It protects a large area of the Black Mountains, a sub−range of the Himalayan Range System.

The park occupies most of the Trongsa District, as well as parts of: Sarpang, Tsirang, Wangdue Phodrang, and Zhemgang Districts.

The park is bound to the east by the Mangde Chhu, and reaches the Sankosh River−Punatsangchu basin to the west. Jigme Singye abuts Royal Manas National Park to the southeast.

Along the border of the park from the north to the southeast run Bhutan's main east-west and north-south highways. It is also connected via biological corridors to other national parks in northern, eastern, central, and southern Bhutan. Habitats of the Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests ecoregion are protected within the park

Geography[edit]

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is the most centrally located among the national parks of Bhutan. Covering over an area of 1730 km2, it forms a contiguous belt linking Royal Manas National Park in the south to the temperate and alpine vegetation in the north. The park mainly falls under political jurisdiction of five districts namely Tsirang, Sarpang, Wangdue, Zhemgang and Trongsa.

Significance[edit]

JSWNP represents the best example of the mid-Himalayan ecosystems of the Eastern Himalaya that contain several ecological biomes ranging from sub-tropical forests at lower altitudes to alpine meadows at its highest altitudes. It is the only park that contains an old growth Chir pine forest (Pinus roxburghii). The park is also vital for various migratory faunal species, particularly migratory birds due to its wide range in altitude and vegetation, and central location in the country. It covers wide range of habitat types from permanent ice atop Durshingla peak (Black Mountain), alpine lakes and pastures, down through conifer and broad-leaved forests to temperate forest and sub-tropical forests. The park protects the largest and biodiversity richest temperate forest area in the entire Himalayas.[1]

The high mountains in the central regions of the national park are an important watershed for the streams and rivers that become the headwaters and tributaries of the Mangde Chhu River to the west. The Nika Cchu joins the Mangde Chhu from the north.[2]

Administration[edit]

  • The park headquarters is located in Tshangkha, near the national highway in the Trongsa District.
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha is located in Bhutan
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha
Map 1: Location of the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park headquarters in Tshangkha, in the Trongsa District of central Bhutan.

The park has four administrative Park Ranges (divisions), with their own range offices (shown in map 2).

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is located in Bhutan
Nabji
Nabji
Tingtibi
Tingtibi
Langthel
Langthel
Taksha
Taksha
Map 2: Location of the 4 Park Range's offices within the National Park.
  • Taksha Park Range
Oversees the Athang Gewog of Wangdiphodrang Dzongkhag.
  • Langthel Park Range
Oversees the Tangsibji Gewog and Langthil Gewogs.
  • Tingtibi Park Range
Covers the Trong Gewog in Zhemgang Dzongkhag.
  • Nabji Park Range
Covers Korphu Gewog in Trongsa and Jigmechhoeling Gewog in Sarpang Dzongkhag. This range covers the most remotest areas in the park. This range is even home to some of the most important historic sites such as the Nabji Lhakhang.

In addition to the 4 Park Ranges, the park also has 2 administrative Deputy Ranges (subdistricts), the Chendebji Deputy Range within the Langthel Park Range, and Athang Deputy Range within the Taksha Park Range.

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is located in Bhutan
Chendebji
Chendebji
Adha
Adha
Map 3: Location of the 2 Deputy Ranges' offices within the National Park.
Staffing
JSWNP Staff strength, 2016

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is currently served by 38 staff people, composed of 34 technical staff people and 4 non-technical staff people. They are spread over the park, and based at the Park Headquarters, or at 1 of the 6 Park Range or Deputy Range offices.

Mission and goals[edit]

The mission of the park is to "Conserve and manage its Natural Biodiversity in Harmony with People's Values and Aspirations". The mission is supported by the following goals:

  • Conserve, protect and maintain the viability of specific ecosystems, and animal and plant communities in a way that will allow natural processes of succession and evolution to continue with minimal human influence.
  • Protect cultural, historical and religious sites.
  • Contribute to the socio-economic development of park residents through sustainable use of park natural resources.
Future plans

The park emphasizes research and monitoring, wildlife management, conservation education, sustainable livelihoods, and the improvement of social welfare of communities in and around the park. It encourages the local inhabitants to engage in community based ecotourism projects and services, for the improvement of their living standards and sustaining their local environment and biodiversity.

Achievements[edit]

Since its gazettement in 1995, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park has effectively delivered the forestry service to the park residents and efficiently managed the natural heritages through tireless efforts. The national park has delivered many Integrated Conservation and Development Programmes through various funding agencies to the local communities, the striking ones being the establishment of Nabji-Korphu Community based Ecotourism, Adha-Rukha Community Trail, supplying of CGI Sheets to the economically backward residents.

In terms of conservation, the national park has conducted many surveys like biological corridor survey to assess the functionality of various corridors connecting other protected area systems, biodiversity survey to ascertain the biodiversity richness of the national park, tiger survey to relate predator prey dynamics, anti poaching patrolling activities to inspect poaching incidents and apprehend the culprits, thus securing a wildlife habitats.

Functional Sections[edit]

The Park has four functional sections located within the head Office besides the park range offices[3].

These are;

Research and Monitoring Section[edit]

This is the unit which oversees and coordinate all the researches within the national park.

Forest Protection and Land Use Section[edit]

This section acts as the main body of the park in protecting the flora and fauna of the park. It is also responsible for the management of the information of the data on resource utilization by the park residents. This section also looks after the issuance of forestry clearance and deals with various wildlife offences which take place in the park.

Integrated Conservation and Development Programme Section[edit]

This section looks after all socio-economic activities within the park. It also act as functional linkage between the conservation and the developmental activities within the national park.

Social Forestry and Extension Section[edit]

This section looks after all the activities related to the plantations, private forestry and the community forests within the national park.

Natural history[edit]

The park's north-central region has an especially rugged topography, with peaks rising to almost 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) in elevation, while the southern areas are relatively less steep and rugged.

Geologically, the mountains are moderately recent and steep-sided, consisting largely of Pre-Cambrian and early Paleozoic quartzite and gneiss, with some areas with sedimentary limestone, dolomite, sandstone and shales. The soils are generally clay loam, with good permeability and moderate moisture retention.

Hydrology[edit]

The eastern boundary of the park, from Trongsa to Tingtibi is defined by Mangde Chhu river, whereas Punatsangchu touches the mid-western part of the park in Taksha. Nika chhu river drains the Chendebji valley in the northern part of the park by joining the Mangdechu river. Numerous other streams and rivulets originate from the snow-fed alpine lakes in Black Mountain area, and melting snow and monsoon rain contribute to the water volume. This network of small perennial and annual tributaries flow down the steep slopes, often as waterfalls, and along the valleys to become tributaries of the larger rivers. The distinct rainy and dry seasons results in wide seasonal variations in the river flows, with large volumes of sediment-laden water flowing during the monsoon and low volume during the dry, winter season.

The local communities also rely on the water from these rivers for domestic and for irrigation, and contributing to the withdrawal from the rivers.

There are several major hydropower plants being constructed along the Rivers of Punatsangchu, Mangdechu and the Nika chu, which fall on the border of the national park.

Climate

The wide elevation range and the mountainous terrain create complex climatic conditions, from wet sub-tropical in the south to cold temperate in the northern high elevation areas. The southwest monsoon from June to September contributes most of the annual rainfall. The rain shadows imposed by the high mountain ranges result in localized rainfall gradients during this period.

Ecology[edit]

The park has a large area of relatively undisturbed natural habitats. Together with Manas Tiger Reserve and the Royal Manas National Park in the south and the Jigme Dorji National Park and Wangchuck Centennial National Park in the north, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is centrally located in one of the largest, most diverse protected area complexes in Asia, with dramatically different but contiguous habitats and ecotones changing across massive altitudinal differences that rise from the low tropical to high alpine elevations.

The park has six major regionally specific ecoregions, representing ecozones.
They include:

  1. Warm broadleaf forests
  2. Cool temperate broadleaf forests

Biodiversity[edit]

The wide altitudinal range, highly dissected and complex terrain, and representation of 6 ecoregions and 2 zoogeographical realms within the national park create a notable biodiversity, with diverse flora and fauna species found in various ecosystems, habitats, and plant communities.

The native plants and animals include several rare endangered species listed in Schedule 1 of the 'Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan, 1995' implemented in the 'Forest and nature conservation Rules of Bhutan, 2006,' [4][5] and the IUCN Red List. [6]

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Bhutan mandates the country to maintain at least 60% of Bhutan under forest cover for all times to come, and to maintain the country as carbon neutral and so a net carbon sink over time. [6]

Mammals[edit]

Malayan giant squirrel (Ratufa bicolor) on the way to Korphu

The mammal fauna includes a mix of Palearctic and Indo-Malayan species. The first Conservation Management Plan (Jan 2001-June 2110) for the park enlisted 57 mammals but most of which are yet unconfirmed. The presence of 19 mammals were confirmed based on direct sightings and indirect evidences. A rapid biodiversity survey in 2002 listed 22 mammals, of which 11 were identified as mammals of conservation interest. The mammal survey in 2012 confirmed the presence of 26 mammals in the park. The current figure of 39 mammals is reached after the intensive camera trapping works done in 2013-2015 for the Tiger Revalidation Survey works.[7]

Mammal distribution[edit]

Mammal species found in this type of forest are tiger, clouded leopard, leopard, dhole, golden cat, jungle cat, leopard, gaur, muntjac, sambar, golden langur, grey langur and black giant squirrel.

The chir pine forests are found in the south western and southeastern parts of the national park and are usually found in drier areas. Camera trap surveys recorded the presence of muntjac, sambar, serow, wild boar, goral, leopard, golden cat, leopard cat, dhole, yellow-throated marten and black panther

  • Warm broadleaf forests
A golden langur climbing a tree at Nabji

The camera trap surveys revealed the highest number of mammal species in this habitat. High percentage of barking deer and sambar from this forest type. Other mammals found in this forest type include gaur, and wild boar. The endangered golden langur is also found in this type of forest.

  • Cool broadleaf forests

10 species of mammals were confirmed from this forest type within the park from camera trap surveys which includes the Bengal tiger, Himalayan black bear and yellow-throated marten.

  • Mixed conifer forests

The mixed conifer forests which is found between 2000 m to 3200 m represents a transition from the broadleaf to conifer forests. 10 species of mammals were confirmed from this forest type including the Bengal tiger.

Blue pine forests are predominantly found in the western part of the park between 2100 m to 3000 m. Only mammal species recorded from this forest types is the yellow-throated marten.

Stands of old fir can be found on the higher ridges between 3200 m to around 4000 m. This forest type provides important habitat for red panda, musk deer, and the Himalayan serow. Himalayan serow is one of the main prey for the Bengal tiger.

This type of forest forms the transitional zone between the treeline and the alpine meadows.

This scrubby vegetation usually occurs above 4000 m above sea level. This type of forest is isolated from the extensive alpine habitats along the northern areas of Bhutan. Probable mammal species found here are Tibetan wolf.

Schedule I mammals recorded[edit]

Common name Scientific name FNCA-1995 IUCN
Red panda (Ailurus fulgens) Schedule I Endangered
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Schedule I Vulnerable
Leopard (Panthera pardus) Schedule I Vulnerable
Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Schedule I Least Concern
Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) Schedule I Endangered
Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus) Schedule I Vulnerable
Gaur (Bos gaurus) Schedule I Vulnerable
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) Schedule I Endangered
Serow (Capricornis thar) Schedule I Near Threatened
Musk deer (Moschus leucogaster) Schedule I Endangered
Chinese pangolin (Manis pantadactyla) Schedule I Critically Endangered
Golden langur (Trachypithecus geei) Schedule I Endangered

Birds[edit]

A male rufous-necked hornbill feeding at Nabji

270 bird species have been recorded in the park.[8] From the 270 recorded birds, eight are Globally threatened and thus fall under Schedule I of the FNCA, 1995. Phobjikha Valley, which falls in the buffer zone of the park is also a very important winter habitat for the migrating black-necked cranes. The park is also a very important habitat of the critically endangered white-bellied herons in Bhutan. Places such as Tingtibi and Nabji-Korphu is a very important habitat of the rufous-necked hornbill (Aceros nipalensis). The park is also a home to the populations of endangered great hornbill and wood snipe.

Majority of the birds recorded in the park are altitudinal migrant species who uses the park as a seasonal migration route between their summer and winter habitats.

Reptiles, amphibians and fishes[edit]

These taxonomic groups are poorly studied and documented. Detailed surveys may reveal some undocumented species. A small survey carried out within the park recorded 16 species of snakes, 7 species of lizards, Geckos and skinks and 8 species of frogs and toads.

Butterflies[edit]

359 species of butterflies have been recorded in a recent survey from the park and the buffer zones.

Human communities[edit]

The vast paddy of Nabji and Korphu

Diversity of communities reside within the park which includes some of the first settlers in the country; the Oleps in Rukha village in Athang Gewog and the Monpa communities in Jangbi, Wangling, and Phrumzur villages in Langthil Gewog, and the Reti community under Jigmechhoeling Gewog, in Sarpang Dzongkhag. More than 5000 people reside within the multiple use zones of the park.

The three villages of Korphu, Nabji and Nimshong from the Korphu Gewog have the highest number of households, whereas the settlements in Athang Gewog are small and scattered. Overall, Korphu, Trong, and Tangsibji Gewogs have a smaller number but larger sized villages, whereas Langthel and Athang Gewogs have several scattered villages. The people from these villages depend on the natural resources in the national park for their livelihoods.

The major sources of livelihoods for the communities in the park are agriculture and livestock rearing, with some income from non-wood forest products. Some households also engage in labor-based wage earning, especially in the RGoB sectors. These are mostly in villages closer to towns and infrastructure project sites, where jobs are available. Casual labour is highest in Langthel, Korphu, and Athang Gewogs, whereas trade-based cash income is highest in Trong Gewog.

Livestock rearing[edit]

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park spans over 10 Gewogs under five political jurisdiction of five Dzongkhags. The communities within these 10 Gewogs draw their livelihood on agriculture, cattle grazing, timber, fuel wood, non-wood forest products,and numerous forest products. The park is also used as pastureland for over six months each year by a huge number of migratory cattle and yak herders.

Winter grazing grounds[edit]

A cow herder in the winter grazing ground at Korphu

In Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, the winter grazing grounds are found in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Such regions are generally too hot to reside in the summer and the forests and meadows are infested with diversity of weeds. The rivers swell too big that crossing from one valley to another is impossible during summers in such areas. These areas are best suited for grazing in winter when rivers are shallow and weather becomes moderate.

The migratory cattle herders from Chumey in Bumthang travel to this low altitude pasture lands when the climate in the alpine and temperate becomes unbearable for the livestock. Many migratory herders from Bumthang own many tracts of tsamdrogs located at different vegetation zones and altitudes and allow them to migrate from one place to another with their cattle at different seasons. Cattle are moved and rotated among winter tsamdrogs very meticulously based on years of experience. The days are carefully divided for each tsamdrog to sustain the whole winter while also mitigating grazing pressure.

Summer grazing grounds[edit]

Summer grazing grounds are located at temperate and alpine regions where cattle migrate when climate in tropical and sub-tropical regions become hot and humid. However, the park has less summer grazing ground.

In the Black Mountain regions, yaks from Phobjikha Valley graze in the alpine meadows during summer. The yaks migrate to the lower altitude areas of the Phobjikha Valley during winters when Black Mountain remains shrouded in snow.

There are six yak herders from Phobjikha Valley who migrate to the pastures in Black Mountain, each owning an average of 56 yaks. It is likely that over 300 yaks will graze in the limited pastures in rotation for around 5 months from May to September.[9]

When cattle migrate to summer grazing grounds at temperate and sub-alpine regions, the yaks move up to higher altitudes in alpine areas. When the cattle migrate to winter grazing grounds at sub-tropical and tropical regions, the yaks move to lower altitudes in winter.

Ecotourism[edit]

Nabji-Korphu Trek- The first Community based Nature Tourism in Bhutan[edit]

This is the trek that will take you to remote rural communities of Central Bhutan. Nabji-Korphu Community Based Nature Tourism is the first of its kind in Bhutan (as opposed to conventional travel-agent organized treks/tours in Bhutan). The Nabji-Korphu trail takes you through 6 rural communities. You can immerse yourself in the daily lives and farming chores of the local communities while helping them to conserve environment as well as their cultural and historical heritage. It is a 6days/5nights low altitude trek. Your travel will give rural communities additional source of income to supplement their livelihood from subsistence farming.

About Nabji-Korphu Community Based Nature Tourism

Nabji-Korphu Community Based Nature Tourism runs through six villages in Lower Trongsa District of Central Bhutan. The trekking trail and the villages fall within Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. It is a 6 days/5 nights low altitude winter trek with elevation ranging from 1000-1700 masl. The trek is a unique cultural and natural experience which combines rich biological diversity, rural Bhutanese communities and a medium level trek. The trek is also of historical significance as the trail follows the route believed to have been taken by Guru Rinpoche when he visited Bhutan in the 8th century.

The temple of oath

Management of the Community Based Nature Tourism

The trail has been developed in such a way that communities will have the sole responsibility to manage and provide services. Each village along the route has a village Tourism Management Committee (TCM) composed of 4-5 elected community representatives.

Attractions

The Nabji-Korphu Trail is a low altitude winter trek open from mid-October to end of March. The trail takes one through the home of mane rare and endangered wildlife species. golden langur, rufous-necked hornbill and many other wild orchids and flowering plants.

Adha-Rukha Community Based Tourism[edit]

JSWNP is initiating 6 days/5 nights Community-based Nature Tourism in western part of the National park. The trek will run through villages of Adha and Rukha villages under Wangdue District. The highlight of the trekking is rural people of Oleps with a dying language, habitat of critically endangered white-bellied heron, and the authentic rural village life which can be experienced in the home-stays of the villagers. You can also try fishing in Rukha’s Hara-chhu river (the first community managed fishing group in Bhutan), and prepare stone-dried fish.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Analysis of the Contributions of Protected Areas to the Social and Economic Development of Bhutan. CASE STUDY. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Thimphu, Bhutan: Wildlife Conservation Division. 2010. p. 10. ISBN 978-99936-817-0-0. 
  2. ^ Conservation management plan. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. Jan2014-Dec2018. Trongsa, Bhutan: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 
  3. ^ Namgay, Phunstho. "Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park | Department of Forest & Park Services". www.dofps.gov.bt. Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  4. ^ Ecolex.org: Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan, 1995, with link to full text−(in English).
  5. ^ Ecolex.org: Forest and nature conservation Rules of Bhutan, 2006, with link to full text−(in English).
  6. ^ a b IUCN Red List.org: "Bhutan: more than half", article on Bhutan setting aside over half its land into protected areas & biological corridors; 20 April 2016.
  7. ^ Mammals of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. "A Glance through the Wild Binoculars". Tshangkha, Trongsa, Bhutan: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 
  8. ^ Habitat and conservation status of Rufous-necked Hornbill in JSWNP. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 
  9. ^ Letro. Study on grazing and cattle migration in JSWNP. Tshangkha, Trongsa: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. DoFPS. MoAF. p. 18.