India is recognized as one of the 12 mega diversity centres of the world. With only 2.4% of the earth's land area, India accounts for 7-8% of the recorded species in the world. Out of the 34 biodiversity hot-spots in the world recognised by UNESCO, India owns 2, namely the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalaya. Sikkim covering just 0.2 % of the geographical area of the country has 26% of the country's total biodiveristy and has been identified as one of the HOT-SPOT in the Eastern Himalayas.
There are 10 bio-geographic zones & 25 biotic provinces--- which have 16 major forests types & > 200 sub types as per (Champion & Seth 1968).
Sikkim falls under Himalayan (2) Bio-geographic zone & Central Himalaya (2c) biotic province----having about 9 types of forests types (Champion & Seth).
The State is endowed with rich floral and faunal diversity. Species wise, the State harbors over 5500 flowering plants, 557 Orchids, 38 Rhododendrons, 16 Conifers, 28 Bamboos, 362 Ferns and its allies, 9 Tree Ferns, 30 Primulas, 11 Oaks, 1681 Medicinal plants, 144+ mammals, 568 Birds, 48 Fishes, and over 689 Butterflies and 7000 species of Moths. While these figures are still not absolute, it may be kept in mind that this is only the mega-fauna and flora. The tremendous diversity of insects like beetles and moths as well as a host of other life forms is yet to be enumerated. Most of the high altitude medicinal plants are rare and endangered species. Sikkim also has 28 Mountains/Peaks, more than 80 Glaciers, 534 high altitude lakes/wetlands and over 104 rivers and streams.
Nature has been particularly generous in her gift of sylvan treasures to the state of Sikkim. Luxuriant forest, abound in all part of state and variety of medicinal plants, herbs, shrubs, bamboos and trees growing in state is truly rich. In the forest, there are number of plants whose medicinal values have been well recognized by local people as well as by different pharmaceutical, insecticidal and perfumery sectors. Medicinal plants ought to be given the status of a “National Resources” because their sustained availability is essential to sustain one of the world’s oldest medicinal traditions, a priceless legacy of the Indian people. The local inhabitants for treatment of various ailments use numerous herbal remedies. Further more, modern medicines owes to the flora of these mountains. Many inhabitants for treatment of various ailments use numerous herbal remedies. Many species of Himalayan origin have revolutionized the allopathic systems of medicine.
» Biodiversity of Sikkim: Exploring and Conserving a Global Hotspot
(Sikkim Government Publication - June 2011)
Author Name: M. L. Arrawatia, IFS and Sandeep Tambe, IFS
This publication was officially released by the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Sikkim, Shri. Pawan Chamling during the World Environment Day Celebration at Chintan Bhawan, Gangtok on 5th June 2011.
» See the book