Prioritizing High-altitude Ramsar Wetlands in the Eastern Himalayas
Repository Usage Stats
Himalayan high-altitude wetlands are some of the most iconic and hydrologically dynamic ecosystems in South and Central Asia. Yet little is known about their historical ecology; less is reported on their management. To aid their conservation, I review available knowledge and prioritize high-altitude sites as potential Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance. Focusing on the Sikkim Eastern Himalayas, I: 1) delineate the area and extent of high-altitude wetlands using maximum entropy models; 2) describe HAW ecological communities through systematic review; 3) identify conservation targets based on a multi-criteria decision framework; and, 4) assess policy mechanisms buttressing Ramsar Convention objectives. My analysis indicates that high-altitude wetlands occupy a core area of 69,430 ha in Sikkim, India, with marginal, fringe, or seasonal extents expanding outward to 170,700 ha. Published records suggest that these systems support 803 species representing 5 kingdoms, 172 families, and 377 genera. Approximately 11% of these species are considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Using model and literature output, several conservation scenarios were generated to support wetland management. Overall, delineated wetlands met Ramsar Convention criteria, and are protected by national, state, and local polices and practices. This report's interdisciplinary approach exemplifies the utility of applied decision-support techniques for land-use planning aimed at biological conservation.
CitationO'Neill, Alexander (2019). Prioritizing High-altitude Ramsar Wetlands in the Eastern Himalayas. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18412.
More InfoShow full item record
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment