Panchase Biodiversity Information Centre a ‘hub for biodiversity’

The heart of biodiversity, Panchase watershed area is a haven for countless floral and faunal species. Such ecological abundance is seen in this watershed area because of climatic diversity, inaccessible forest location with limited road access and less human interference. This area is habitat for wild plants and wild animals and most importantly, it is home to 143 species of orchids where 2 species are considered epidemic. Likewise, there are diverse species and varieties of indigenous crops cultivated by the farmers. This watershed area is a hot spot for different species of birds and butterflies too. With a concept to showcase the value of this area to the local community as well as the visitors, Panchase Biodiversity Information Centre (PBIC) has been established at Bhadaure, Deurali, of Ward No 4 of Annapurna Rural Municipality. The information centre lies at the entrance of Panchase forest area and its main objective is to give information to the tourists, school students, and academics regarding the biodiversity of that area and show its cultural, religious, and historical importance. The information regarding orchid diversity, agriculture diversity and cultural/religious diversity are displayed in the information centre so the visitors understand the value of the Panchase watershed area.  Moreover, to spur the local economy of the village, visitors/tourists can stay in one of the three homestays, which can accommodate around 150 people at a time, and enjoy the local food and explore local culture.

The Panchase Biodiversity Information Centre (PBIC) was inaugurated on 11 March 2022 by Honorable Minister Chandra Bahadur Buda, Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMACPV). The PBIC has been established in collaboration with Agriculture Development Directorate, Gandaki Province; Panchadham Agriculture Development Cooperative; Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD); Macchhapuchre Development Organization (MDO); and Annapurna Rural Municipality.

Inauguration of Panchase Biodiversity Information Centre by Honorable Minister Chandra Bahadur Buda, Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MoLMACPV).

During the inauguration, the welcome remarks was given by Ash Bahadur Gurung, Secretary, Panchadham Cooperative. After the welcoming remarks, the main objective of establishment of information centre was shared by Tejaswee Shiwakoti, Senior Programme Officer, LI-BIRD. Other distinguished guests of the inauguration programme were: Ram Kaji Gurung, Secretary of Macchapuchre Development Organization; Sagun Gurung, Vice chairperson of Annapurna Rural Municipality; Basu Dev Regmi, Director of Agriculture Development Directorate; Prof. Dr. Nabaraj Devkota, Vice chancellor of Gandaki University; Dr. Hari Bahadur K.C., Secretary of Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperative; and Badri Prasad Dhungana, Secretary Ministry of  Forest, Environment and Soil Conservation.  

Ms Sagun Gurung, who is the Vice chairperson of Annapurna Rural Municipality shared that, “We are like musk deer who is in search of its own scent. We have resources but we don’t know its importance. This biodiversity information centre is going to teach us and also the visitors coming to this area about the importance of this place and our natural resources.”

Dr. Balaram Thapa, Executive Director, LI-BIRD also shared, “Biodiversity conservation is necessary but focus should also be in research to utilize biodiversity in uplifting the economic conditions of communities. A strong collaboration amongst local communities, universities like Gandaki University and Forestry University along with the involvement of other stakeholders should be the priority in coming days”.

Project team showing around the information centre to the distinguished guest present during the inauguration

The chief guest of the programme, Honorable Minister Chandra Bahadur Buda, said: “The youth is the pillar of the nation so the local government, provincial government and relevant organizations should put combined efforts for creating environment to keep the youths in the village by generating local employment opportunities. He further said, “PBIC plays a major role for adding value for the tourism promotion of Bhadaure so the provincial government attention is important for supporting the information centre to function properly”.

During the inauguration, local people also displayed various local products of Panchase area such as Finger millet, maize, vegetables, honey, dried vegetables, etc. Mr. Buda further suggested, “We also need to focus on our local crops and create a brand by value addition. For this to happen, a combined effort is needed from all the sectors”.