An overview : on diversity of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP) in Sikkim HimalayaTika Prasad Sharma
Department of Forest, Env.& W/L Management, Deorali- 737102, Gangtok, Sikkim
Sikkim, lies in the Eastern Himalaya between 27°5’-28°9’N latitude and 87°9’ to 88°56’E longitude, covering an area of 7096 Sq km with an elevation ranging from 250 to 8595m above alms. Due to its unique geographical position, varied topography, high annual precipitation, and maximum humidity make one of the richest botanical areas of the country. Nearly 46% of the total geographical area of the state is covered by forest (Forest survey of India, 2003). These forest posses a very wide range of biological diversity not only in the variety of trees and wild life but also in the species of Non –timber forest products (NTFPs).
Non-timber forest products (NTFPs) have been defined as all goods of biological origin other than wood in all its forms, as well as services derived from forests or any other land under similar use. The NTFPS being mostly short rotation species can also be termed as the cash crop of the forestry sector in the sense that while tree crops take a long time to mature and yield. NTFPs play a significant role in the rural economy and daily livelihood of the rural communities, which have been used commonly as medicine, fiber, food, vegetable, agricultural implements, construction of houses, making rope, handicrafts, household articles etc. The use of NTFPs is intergral part of our traditional and cultural systems and practice that have developed and accumulated over generation. And it is one of the most important components for creating employment opportunities and providing a sustainable source of livelihood to the rural communities in our state. Although a very wide range of NTFPs are being used in Sikkim, but major among them are bamboo, medicinal plant and rattans.