Conservation of Singalila National Park by Singalila Sangrachan Samiti

The Singalila National Park (SNP) is situated in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal. The park lies within the Kangchenjunga-Singalila Complex, a critical transboundary in Nepal, Bhutan and India. Due to its altitudinal gradient, the ecosystem in SNP ranges from sub-tropical to sub-alpine biomes, encompassing Eastern Himalaya broadleaf and sub-alpine conifer forests between 2,200 - 3,636 meters. SNP is an important bird area and harbours key species such as red panda (Ailurus fulgens), snow leopard (Panthera uncia), clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa), satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra) and chestnut-breasted partridge (Arborophila mandellii).

Need for the Initiative

SNP has some of the region’s least disturbed forest covers and provides multiple ecosystem; however, in recent decades, the area has undergone extensive degradation degraded due to the excessive use of chemicals in agriculture, in turn polluting soil and water sources.

Conservation Initiatives and Impacts

Darjeeling Singalila Sangrachan Samity (Mahasang), is a network of 5 forest villages in the fringes of the Singalila National Park, namely – Namla, Gurdum, Bich Gaon, Dara Gaon and Samanden. The villages are inhabited by subsistence marginal farmers most of whom are Nepali, with a sizeable Sherpa population. The Mahasang is governed by a board of elected executives and include representatives from community-based organisations (samajs) and Forest Protection Committees. Community-based organisations (CBOs), are also involved in decision making and have been being facilitated strengthened to enhance participation and include biodiversity management for the sustainable use of natural resource resources. Decision making is occasionally referred to the forest protection committee. The Mahasang developed a conservation policy to address core issues of conservation, namely, agro-forestry, sustainable livelihoods, tourism and disaster management. This policy was implemented through cross-learning and monitoring within members and through linkage and networking. The initiative resulted in contiguity of forests and reduces use of agro-chemicals, consequently increasing agro-biodiversity and enhancing sustainable agricultural practices. Through this intervention, fragmented protected areas have increased connectivity to the community lands. Community participation in joint forest management, planning and implementation has improved due to decentralised governance. DLR Prerna and the Mahsang are continuing the partnership with a study on bird population and community mitigation of Human Wildlife Conflict.

Recognition in India Biodiversity Awards

Darjeeling Singalila Sangrachan Samity (Mahasang) was nominated in the India Biodiversity Award under the category ‘Community Stewardship’ in 2012.

Contact - DLR Prerna, Roshan Rai, Programme Officer Tel. +91 354 2255894 Email:,,