Restoring hornbill habitats in Arunachal Pradesh

  • Focal species: Great Hornbill, hornbills, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill
  • Secondary species: Assamese Macaque, barking deer, Capped langur, elephant, forest birds, herpetofauna, invertebrates, sambar, tree squirrels
  • Countries: India
  • Name of organisation: Nature Conservation Foundation
  • Support requested:
    contributions for specific items >1000 euro,
    contributions to running of project <1000 euro
  • Does this project benefit local people through employment and/or capacity building: yes
  • Does this project benefit local people in other ways: The rainforest nursery employs local community members. A signficant proportion of saplings of commercially important native plant species are distributed to local villagers at a minimal cost of Rs.10. The funds generated after the sale are distributed amongst the nursery staff and used used for nursery maintenance. There is a high demand of species like Livistona jenkinsiana, which is used for thatching roofs of traditional bamboo houses; fast growing species like Chukrasia tabularis, Gmelina arborea, Phoebe cooperiana, which are commercially important timber species with the latter two being also important food plants of ungulates and birds thereby being also ecologically important. The local community members plant these trees in areas adjoining to the Pakke Tiger Reseve in their farmlands or house gardens.
  • This project concept is endorsed by:
    • the IUCN-SSC Specialist Group(s) relevant to the focal species

Project Description

Pakke Tiger Reserve and the adjoining Reserved Forests in Arunachal Pradesh, India are spread over an area of more than 2000 km2 and harbor a diverse array of plant and animal species. It is known as a haven for 4 hornbill species in India. Human activities like hunting, illegal logging, particularly outside Pakke, are negatively affecting hornbill populations and their habitat. Habitat loss due to logging is a major threat to hornbills that are dependent on large trees for nesting. This area has experienced amongst the highest rates of forest loss for India in the recent past.

With the restoration program, we hope to bring back some of the lost hornbill habitats (by bringing back hornbill food and nest trees) and secure the long-term future of these birds and other wildlife. To this end, rainforest nursery was set up in 2013 in a village near Pakke, with an aim of raising native rainforest tree species and using them to restore the degraded forest patches in and around the area. The tree species selected are important food and nest trees of hornbills and for other birds and mammals and also includes economically important species for planting by the local communities. In the past four years, we have raised around 17,000 saplings of 60 native tree species. Planting began in 2016 and a total area of 11 ha has been covered so far. Survival monitoring indicates 45-85% survival across the sites in a year’s time. Some sites show higher survival (84%) due to controlled conditions like fencing and deweeding. With such successful rate of establishment of the saplings, there is a hope for recovery of these habitats in the long-term. We hope to expand this program and cover more degraded patches in and around Pakke in the coming years.

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