|Central coordinates||88o 19.80' East 27o 9.27' North|
|IBA criteria||A1, A2, A3|
|Altitude||400 - 1,000m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2004|
Site description Much of the South District of Sikkim is populated with townships, villages and agriculture holdings. The lowland forests of Sikkim lie at the southern end of the South District, bound to the south by the Great Rangit river, extending roughly from the foothills of the outer Himalayas to an altitude of about 1,000 m. This IBA includes the river valleys of Ramam, Rangit, Great Rangit and Tista and adjoins the Maenam-Tendong (an IBA) to its north. Various species of orchids, Rhapidophora, wild banana, screwpines, nettles and giant bamboo are characteristic of this site. The Rangit Valley Sal Shorea robusta shows a unique association with the Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii (Bejoy Gurung pers. comm. 2003). In patches of protected forest, it is possible to see Sal being slowly dominated by Pine. Such patches are relatively poor in bird life (U. Lachungpa pers. comm. 2003).
AVIFAUNA: Despite being the lowest altitude IBA in Sikkim, this site has records of birds restricted to biomes 9, 8, 7 as well as 5, perhaps due to seasonal altitudinal migration as well as the telescoping effect of the Sikkim Himalaya, where in a distance of c. 100 km, habitats ranging from lowland subtropical forests to high cold desert can be seen (Ali 1962). Hence, as many as 14 globally threatened and restricted range species and at least four Biome-5 species, 15 Biome-7 species, 33 Biome-8 species and seven Biome-9 species have been recorded from this IBA. The lowland forests of Sikkim are home to several species identified as Near Threatened by BirdLife International (2001): Great Pied Hornbill Buceros bicornis now restricted to few sightings over tea estates, Red-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandelli (not recorded recently) and Ward’s Trogon Harpactes wardi. The Nepal Wren-Babbler Pnoepyga immaculata could also occur here. During a survey conducted here in 1996, no potential habitat was found for the Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis. Biome-5 species like Ibisbill Ibidorhyncha struthersii are regularly recorded in winter on the banks of the Great Rangit river; Wallcreeper Tichodroma muraria recorded from Trans-Himalayan Lhonak Valley (at Green Lake) and other high altitude sites is also recorded from this IBA. The Collared Falconet Microhierax caerulescens was found breeding in 1996 very close to human habitation, hawking dragonflies around the Fisheries Department pond at Baguwa but cleverly avoiding the mist-nets set around it. Ward’s Trogon was sighted at Baguwa and Jorethang in October 1996 (Ganguli-Lachungpa 1996). All these records make this IBA a very interesting bird watching and conservation area.
OTHER KEY FAUNA: The lowland fauna includes Golden Jackal Canis aureus, Leopard Cat Prionailurus bengalensis, Himalayan Crestless Porcupine Hystrix brachyura, Assamese Macaque Macaca assamensis, Barking Deer Muntiacus muntjak, Tree Shrew Tupaia belangeri, squirrels, fruit bats, a host of butterflies and other invertebrates, riverine fish (over 40 species), Indian Rock Python Python molurus, geckos, freshwater frogs and toads.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Chestnut-breasted Partridge Arborophila mandellii||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis||non-breeding||2004||present||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris||non-breeding||2004||present||-||A1||Critically Endangered|
|Ward's Trogon Harpactes wardi||resident||2004||present||-||A2||Near Threatened|
|Rufous-necked Hornbill Aceros nipalensis||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Grey-crowned Prinia Prinia cinereocapilla||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Yellow-vented Warbler Phylloscopus cantator||-||2004||present||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Rufous-throated Wren-babbler Spelaeornis caudatus||resident||2004||present||-||A2||Near Threatened|
|Sphenocichla humei||resident||2004||present||-||A2||Not Recognised|
|Slender-billed Babbler Turdoides longirostris||resident||2004||present||-||A1||Vulnerable|
|White-naped Yuhina Yuhina bakeri||-||2004||present||-||A2, A3||Least Concern|
|Black-breasted Parrotbill Paradoxornis flavirostris||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2||Vulnerable|
|Beautiful Nuthatch Sitta formosa||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A3||Vulnerable|
|Rusty-bellied Shortwing Brachypteryx hyperythra||resident||2004||present||-||A1, A2||Near Threatened|
|2003||very high||not assessed||not assessed|
|Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data|
|Agriculture and aquaculture||livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming||past (and unlikely to return) and no longer limiting||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Biological resource use||fishing & harvesting aquatic resources - unintentional effects: large scale||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||low|
|Biological resource use||logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: large scale||happening now||majority/most of area/population (50-90%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||very high|
|Human intrusions and disturbance||work and other activities||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases||invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Natural system modifications||dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown)||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||moderate to rapid deterioration||high|
|Natural system modifications||fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||slow but significant deterioration||medium|
|Pollution||agricultural & forestry effluents - herbicides and pesticides||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|Residential and commercial development||commercial and industrial development||happening now||some of area/population (10-49%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||high|
|Residential and commercial development||housing and urban areas||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||very rapid to severe deterioration||low|
|Transportation and service corridors||roads and railroads||happening now||small area/few individuals (<10%)||slow but significant deterioration||low|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||-|
|Notes: Nature conservation and research|
|Notes: Urban / Industrial / Transport|
|Notes: Watershed management|
Acknowledgements Key contributors: Usha Lachungpa and Sandeep Tambe.
Ali, S. (1962) The Birds of Sikkim. Oxford University Press, Madras.
BirdLife International (2001)Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data Book. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK.
Ganguli-Lachungpa, U. (1996) Baseline Bird Survey in Proposed Kitam Wildlife Sanctuary and other low-land forests of South Sikkim. Report submitted to Oriental Bird Club (Unpublished).
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2015) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lowland forests of South Sikkim (Melli-Baguwa-Kitam, Jorethang-Namchi, Sombarey). Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 08/10/2015
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