Hills waking up to birds' role in economics of biodiversity
Source: Hueiyen News Service / Sobhapati Samom

Imphal, December 17 2013: For Kanrei Horam, banning of bird hunting in and around his native Kharasom village in Ukhrul district of Manipur is simply good news.

Because it will help in regenerating Yongchak trees and other agro-resources besides reviving loss habitat of the rare birds in his hill village which is located about 160 kg to the north of state capital, Imphal.

Large scale hunting, use of pesticides, loss of habitat due to deforestation to meet the growing demands of an ever expanding population coupled with changing climatic condition has threatened the rich biodiversity of Manipur hills and rendered certain bird species vanished from existence in the region.

The ban on bird hunting was in force following the village's yearly public sitting in January this year.

"The reason behind the ban is related with attack on our village crops mostly Yongchak (Perkia Timoriana) trees by unknown insects", says 58-year old Kanrei, a key functionary of Kharasom village authority.

"The incident (insect invasion) has severely affected Yongchak business last year," he recalled.

Kaichui, a farmer from Phellong, showing his oranges
Kaichui, a farmer from Phellong, showing his oranges

The insects which attacked Yongchak include Asian long horn beetle, according to Entomologist Kh Ibohal of Central Agriculture University in Imphal.

Yongchak or tree bean is a favourite delicacy of the Manipuris and one of the most delicious and sought dishes during winter.

It is sold at Rs 20 a piece in Imphal market in December.

Every year, the villagers used to earn a very good income from the Yongchak business as most of the Yongchak trees are booked in advance by traders at the rate of Rs 10,000 to 30,000 per tree, in accordance to the number of Yongchak on the trees.

The decline in Yongchak production has directly affected the economy of the villages which have around 400 households and most of them entirely depend their livelihood on the agro resources.

Like Kharasom, the production of Mandarin Orange (Citrus Reticulata), grown in Manipur's orange belt Tamenglong, another hill district, has been declined due to insect invasion and poor management of orange trees this year too.

"Half of our (orange) trees die this year, If it continues we may look for an alternative," says 22-year old cultivator Kaichung of Phellong upper village in Tamenglong, who annually earns around Rs 50,000 to 70,000 from his orange orchard.

Now Kaichung expects only about Rs 10,000 from the remaining 40-50 orange trees in his orchard.

Manipur produced 28,739 metric tones of oranges cultivated in an area of 4,658 hectares in 2011-12 against 31,968 metric tones of oranges (in an area of 4,138 hectares) in 2008-09, as per the State Horticulture Department records.

Of this, Tamenglong district alone produced 17,293 metric tones in 2011-12 against 17,311 metric tones in 2008-09."In view of the killing of Amur falcons and many other endangered bird species such as hornbill, pheasants etc(in Tamenglong), the number of Amur falcons visiting the district has drastically reduced this winter," says environment activist Dr Chambo of Tamenglong district.

The decline of orange production in Tamenglong may also have a direct or indirect connection with birds' biodiversity in the district.

On the other hand, Kharasom villagers used to kill 20 to 30 birds belonging to different species including the migratory ones on daily basis.

In view of the development, the ecological cycle of the village environment has been disturbed and subsequently helps in increasing the number of insects and affects the forest and other agricultural crops.

"Suspecting that the disappearance of birds from the village could be one of the reasons for the sudden increase of insect population and subsequent attack on Yongchak, the village authority takes up steps to ban hunting of birds," Kanrei Horam explained, adding, "Because birds are insect eaters" .

Owing to extensive deforestation in Kharasom area (for cutting timbers) five years ago and subsequent indiscriminate killing, some of the colourful birds which were seen in the past have vanished from the village, according to a 45 year old housewife of new Kharasom village, who doesn't want to be named.

"We don't have the English names of those birds," she said.

Ornithologist RK Birjit of Center for Conservation of Nature and Cultivation of Science of Manipur University when contacted said that hill ranges under Ukhrul district bordering Myanmar are the habitat of Pheasant species including state bird Nongngin or Hume's bar-tailed pheasant (Syrmaticus humiae) .

A British civil officer Allan Octavian Hume named the bird after his wife Mary Ann Grindall Hume during their stay in Manipur in 1883.Though the Nongngin was declared as State bird of Manipur in 1989, the bird itself has not been sighted in most parts of the state not to speak of Kharasom village.

The little known pheasant is classified as Near Threatened by International Union for Conservation of Nature, according to a report by state coordinator Dr RK Ranjan of Indian bird conservation network.

There are two sub-species of Hume's pheasant, one of which namly Syrmaticus humiae is found in north east India in eastern parts of Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram through western Myanmar south of the Irrawady river while the other Syrmaticus burmanicus, occurs in southern China, northern and eastern Myanmar and extreme northern Thailand.

Besides the Pheasant species, the villagers of Kharasom have also not noticed some of the smaller birds such as Swallow known as Sembang in local tongue in their courtyards since the last 5-6 years.

"The loss of their habitat could be the reason for not sighting the bird in the village," says Mungchan Zimik, a resident of Ukhrul town.

"Earlier most of the houses in the villages have thatch roofs wherein the bird built their nests", he pointed out, and added that now there are not many thatch-roofed houses as brick and mortar buildings have substituted.

The decease of the crow population in Manipur has led to the sudden decline of Heikreng commonly known as Stinkwood(Celtis timorensis), an important tree which is used as lighter during the funeral rites of the majority Meitei community since the time immemorial, according to environmentalist Dr Kh Shamungou.

Heikreng seeds germinate very fast after they are softened inside the stomach of the crows.

This indicates that birds play an important role in maintaining the economics of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the respective areas.

But widespread deforestation has been reported due to lack of awareness in Manipur which has a forest covering area of 17,219 sq km which is 77.12 per cent of the total geographical area of the state (22,327 sq km) as per the state forest report 2003 .

A small Siberian migratory bird locally known as shiri (grey sided thrush) have stopped visiting Shirui hills in Ukhrul district following large scale felling of fruit- bearing trees including leihao leishang (michelia doltsopa) and poaching, researchers said.

"Manipur is the favourite habitat of more than 500 rare birds.

But so far we have recorded only half of them", researcher RK Birjit said.

Around 57 species including 27 migratory and 30 resident birds and two nearly threatened species Ferrigunous Pocchard (Aytha nyroca), Darter (Ahimsa melonogaster) visited the Loktak, the largest fresh water lake in eastern India last year, he added.

Interestingly, in a recent study on the IBA of Manipur on December 11 this year, Dr Raju Kasambe of the Bombay Natural History Society's Important Bird Area (IBA) programme and Birjit led team of ornithologists, researchers and environmentalist sighted 'Sana Manbi Nganu' or Mandarin duck (Aix galericulata) with concrete scientific evidence in Loktak.

The rare duck was once found in marsh area of Mayangkhang in Manipur's Senapati, another hill district as per India's birdman Salim Moizuddin Abdul Ali's 1939 report.

But now it was sighted in a lake in the Manipur valley.

If the urgent step for the birds' location and conservation is not taken up, some species are certain to vanish from Manipur.

The state's hill districts are no exception to the loss and drifting pattern of biodiversity.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

  • CAB Protest #1 [21 Jan] : Gallery
  • Words of caution for the expendable citizens
  • 11 in line for Congress ticket
  • Gaan-Ngai @Majorkhul #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • CAB, 2016: Ethnocide of Indigenous People
  • When 7th Pay & UGC regulations for college
  • Truthfully Yours :: Poem
  • Detox your hair
  • Job Openings at PR Enterprises, Imphal
  • Police action to protestors in Tripura
  • India in grave danger
  • Issues, issues everywhere, anytime
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #1: Gallery
  • CAB Protest [17 Jan] : Gallery
  • Ranjit Ningthouja : Profile of a playwright
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #3
  • Bird's Eye view at 'Go To School' Mission
  • 10 % reservation & ST demand ?
  • Poetic Justice - III :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Legislative Assistant to MP- Fellowship
  • The changing face of Manipuri youths
  • Rolling up sleeves for ST tag
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #1
  • Chongdeinem, Abothem :: eMing
  • ST Demand - Poster Campaign : Gallery
  • Retrospective View On Driver's Day
  • Integrated farming & its importance
  • Nightingales in winter :: Poem
  • Tour to Delhi for border area students
  • Nagaland Cabinet Meeting on CAB
  • Gaan-Ngai @Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai - festival of Kabui #1
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #2: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai, Festival of Zeliangrong
  • Understanding Mao Tse-Tung
  • Of Vernacular & my Enlightenment..
  • Teacher wanted at Tekcham High School
  • Demanding release of Kishorechandra
  • BJP's Agenda : Curtain raised
  • Topping in enrolment in pvt schools
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai :: Flash Presentation
  • CAB Protest [16 Jan] : Gallery
  • Dr Thokchom Asha: Teacher Award
  • Cry of a Dying River - 62 :: Poem
  • Occasion & festivity as career choice
  • Rejoinder to NDPP on CAB by NPF
  • Saving tomorrow for our children
  • Open invitation to Mission schools
  • Women's Intl Polo [Jan 17] : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Manipur tops enrolment in private schools
  • Variance of laboratory results
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #2
  • Naga International Trade Fair at Dimapur
  • Has Loktak mortgaged to Company
  • CAB: Lining up public convention on Jan 20
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #2
  • CAB & scoring 21 out of 25 ?
  • Complications :: Poem
  • North East Business Summit at Delhi
  • Almond oil is the ultimate skin care
  • The Bill that haunt the government
  • Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted
  • Insurgency related incidents in NE states
  • Myanmar border fence going nowhere
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #1: Gallery
  • Crop diseases & organic way of managing
  • War and Poetry :: Poem
  • Landeng-Pena yakaiduna Poster Campaign
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Condemns communal nature of CAB 2016
  • PCC, Arunachal Pradesh on CAB, 2016
  • CAB and other issues before LS polls
  • Sit-In against CAB [Jan 14] : Gallery
  • CAB : Our Identity & Culture is at stake
  • Re-Imagining the Naga Peace Process
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Northeast Startup Summit 2019
  • Ponder them to live like human beings
  • No Shield for Manipur against CAB
  • Missing link: NE, CAB & obscure assurance
  • JCILPS Protest against CAB : Gallery
  • AMUCO Rally against CAB : Gallery
  • Poetic Justice - II :: Poem
  • Makar Sankranti Musing
  • Biren should release Kishorchandra
  • New archaeological site in Senapati
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #1
  • New craft gallery to promote NE products
  • Rights body warns Nagas on Article 371 (A)
  • NE Black Day against CAB : Gallery
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Myanmar-India Business Summit, Sagaing
  • Cry of a Dying River - 61 :: Poem
  • Preventing the Dengue threat
  • NPF on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
  • Nagaland Chief Minister On CAB 2016
  • Hijacking by pseudoscience
  • Mr. CM, you can't fool people on CAB
  • CAB 2016: Adoption of foreign citizens
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • CAB & question of India's North East
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #1
  • Local actions for #GlobalGoals
  • Know your HIV status
  • Pope Francis - the last Pope!
  • CAB is unsecular discriminatory bill
  • When Govt. disregard Constitutions...
  • Citizenship Bill: An exceptional exception
  • The Walking Lady : A Short Story
  • 4th Convocation Ceremony of CAU
  • The Voice of Silence :: Poem
  • Against CAB 2016 : 6 Student Bodies
  • Need for a separate time zone
  • BOOM MMA : 'Manipur Top Team' members
  • Against Citizenship Bill Act 2016
  • Lt Gen Rajeev Sirohi at Spear Corps
  • Is the middle man responsible
  • Economically weak at Rs 8 lakh per annum ?
  • Umanglai Haraoba: Traditional Institution
  • Strike against CAB : Gallery
  • People - animal conflict
  • Fine on relieving in public
  • Flawed/divisive Citizenship Bill dangerous
  • Broken :: Poem
  • Meetei gi mayokta leiba Political party..
  • NE uniting under shutdown call : CAB
  • Trains in NE to get 'glass-top' coaches
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • Freedom's fault lines
  • Traditional Manipuri Curries
  • Governance in Multi-Ethnic States
  • Understanding animal welfare
  • Unite against corruption for development
  • Manipurgi Maraibk Kari Oihougani
  • On restoring of director of CBI
  • Citizenship Bill : scourge for NE
  • Feel good factor from UNC
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • A tale of two falcons
  • Artificial Insemination in livestock
  • The Naked Truth :: Poem
  • My itinerary visit to Veeranapalya
  • Test for Free Coaching for IIT/AIIMS
  • Critique of Transgender Persons Bill
  • Press Rejoinder from NPF [7 Jan]
  • Nagaland Cabinet on Citizenship Bill
  • Can we expect something from govt
  • Mova Cave, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Sumo Wrestling #2 :: Gallery
  • Maipaksana RK: Entrepreneurship Award
  • Poetic Justice - I
  • IIT-G Technology Incubation Centre
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #2
  • Economics of climate change & growth
  • Singhat Students tour to Delhi & Agra
  • Congress against Modi on Rafale Deal
  • Press Club celebrates foundation day
  • NSF to impose 11-hr bandh on Jan 8
  • 518 drug traffickers arrested in 2018
  • Gangmumei Kamei Memorial lecture
  • Taking the Street Vendor seriously #1
  • WWII museums in Japan: Gallery
  • Schedule : HSLC Examination 2019
  • Schedule : Class XI Examination 2019
  • Schedule : HSE Examination 2019
  • Caste System in Contemporary India: Book
  • Save energy and save your skin
  • Benefits of henna for beauty
  • Coronary In-stent obstruction treated
  • A take on PM visit to Imphal
  • No over the top promises, assurances
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Management of commercial broiler farming
  • 61st CC Meet Football Tournament 2019
  • Noise Ruins & Blights Lives
  • Social media & freedom of speech
  • Cry of a Dying River - 60 :: Poem
  • Declare war against air pollution
  • Winter relief at Thanga
  • Of monologues and conveniences
  • Raising posers before PM's arrival: Cong
  • Irengbam Bedamani :: eRang Photos
  • Poireiton Chakhao at Loktak Lake
  • Hojang :: Poem
  • New Year: Challenges & opportunities
  • One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP)
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • May the Year 2019 bring integrity of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest: Evening Prog #2: Gallery
  • What I learned from Kishorchandra detention
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #4: Gallery
  • Village Authority in Hill Areas of Manipur #2
  • From nomenclature conflict of oral tradition
  • Bye Bye 2018 !!! : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba
  • Certificate distribution at Namsai, ArP
  • Top 5 Indie/Alternative Picks of 2018
  • Sangaithel Park @Sangai: Gallery
  • A view of Ukhrul Town #1: Gallery
  • January Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • National Mathematics Day & Ramanujan
  • Thougal Jagoi @Sangai: Gallery
  • Snowfall @Tamei, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • China spreads across Indochina Peninsula
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #2: Gallery
  • Xmas: Churches @Lamphel : Gallery
  • 27th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • The Crying Call of Motherland :: Poem
  • Kwatha Festival #3 : Gallery
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #2 : Gallery
  • Harvard Leadership Program at Don Bosco
  • Christmas @Churachandpur : Gallery
  • UN Rapporteur briefed on Kishorechand
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #3: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic