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, Black Mountains (Bhutan)
 - 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 occupies most of Trongsa District, as well as parts of Sarpang, Tsirang, Wangdue Phodrang, and Zhemgang Districts. Jigme Singye abuts Royal Manas National Park to the southeast. The park is bound to the east by the Mangde Chhu and reaches the Punatsangchu basin to the west. 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.

General information[edit]

Location[edit]

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is the most centrally located among the national parks in 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 as it contains several ecological biomes ranging from sub-tropical forests at lower altitudes to alpine meadows and snows at its highest altitudes. It is the only park that contains potential sizes chir pine (Pinus roxburghii) forest. The park is also vital for various migratory faunal species, particularly birds due to its wide range in altitude and vegetation and moreover due to the central location in the country. It covers wide range of habitat types from permanent ice at the peak of Durshingla popularly called Black Mountain to alpine lakes and pastures, conifer and broad-leaved forests. The park has the largest and richest temperate forest reserve in the entire himalayas.[1] The high mountains in the central regions of the national park are important source of water stream and rivers, that drain into the Mangde chu river in the west. The Nika chu joins the Mangdechu from the North.[2]

Administration[edit]

  • The park headquarter
Is located at Tshangkha, Trongsa, Bhutan near the national highway.
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha is located in Bhutan
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha
Park Headoffice, Tshangkha
Map 1: Location of the Park headquarter within Trongsa, Bhutan

The park has four administrative ranges, with range offices as 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 four park range offices within Jigme Singye Wangchuck 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 Jigmecholing 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.

Beside the four park ranges, the park have two deputy ranges, namely Chendebji and Athang Deputy Ranges. The former falls under Langthel Range and the latter under Taksha Park Range. The Nature Studies Center at Kheybeythang in Phobjikha Valley is also administered by the park(Shown in map 3).

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is located in Bhutan
Chendebji
Chendebji
Adha
Adha
NSC
NSC
Map 3: Location of the two deputy park range offices and the NSC within Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park

Staff strength[edit]

JSWNP Staff strength, 2016

Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park is currently manned with 38 staffs, 34 technical staffs and 4 non-technical staffs spread over two Dy. Park Range Offices, four Park Range Offices and Park Head Office.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Protect cultural, historical and religious sites.
  3. Contribute to the socio-economic development of park residents through sustainable use of park natural resources.

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.

Future plans[edit]

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. Encourage the community for community based ecotourism for the improvement of living standards of the local inhabitants.

Geography and geology[edit]

The park's north-central region has an especially rugged topography, with peaks rising to almost 5000m, while the southern areas are relatively less steep and rugged.

Geologically, the mountains are 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.

Climate[edit]

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.

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.

Biodiversity[edit]

The wide altitudinal range, highly dissected and complex terrain, and representation of two zoogeographical realms in the national park contribute to a diverse flora and fauna, and ecosystems. The flora and fauna include several rare and endangered species listed in schedule 1 of the Forest and Nature Conservation Act of Bhutan, 1995.

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.[3]

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 Vulnerable
Clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa) Schedule I Vulnerable
Leopard (Panthera pardus) Schedule I Near Threatended
Leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis) Schedule I Least concern
Royal Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) Schedule I Endangered
Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus) Schedule I Velnerable
Gaur (Bos gaurus) Schedule I Vulnerable
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) Schedule I Endangered
Serow (Capricornis thar) Schedule I Near threatended
Musk deer (Moschus leucogaster) Schedule I Endangered
Chinese pangolin (Manis pantadactyla) Schedule I 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.[4] 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.

Butterflies[edit]

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

Vegetation and habitats[edit]

The park has a large area of relatively un-disturbed 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 areas complexes in Asia, with contiguous habitat from tropical to alpine

The park has six major ecological zones:

  1. Sub-tropical broadleaf forests
  2. Chir pine forests
  3. Warm broadleaf forests
  4. Cool temperate broadleaf forests
  5. Sub-alpine conifer forests
  6. Alpine scrub and meadows.

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 Langthel Gewog, and the Reti community under Jigmecholing 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 fro around 5 months from May to September.[5]

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. ^ Mammals of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. "A Glance through the Wild Binoculars". Tshangkha, Trongsa, Bhutan: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 
  4. ^ Habitat and conservation status of Rufous-necked Hornbill in JSWNP. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. 
  5. ^ Letro. Study on grazing and cattle migration in JSWNP. Tshangkha, Trongsa: Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park. DoFPS. MoAF. p. 18.