Rhododendron Park in Tawang – A solution to threatened species of eastern Himalayas

TAWANG, May 14: Over 300 species of rhododendrons were planted at the newly established Rhododendron Park here on Monday with the support of the TMES group and faculty members of Tawang Government College.
Some of the species planted include R arboreum, R fulgens, R nerifolium, R campanulatum, R hookeri, and R hodgsonii.
DFO Abdul Qayum informed that the divisional forest office had been waiting for the right time to carry out the plantation in the park, “which would prove to be an effective means of both ex-situ and in-situ conservation, and serve as an important tourist attraction.”
Tawang is home to over 60 varying species and sub-species of rhododendrons (which means ‘Rose flower’). Many of them are vulnerable, and some are nearing extinction.
Since no proper documentation or scientific research has been done earlier, it is difficult to comment on the exact status of the flower. “However, locals report that rhododendrons are seen less these days due to uncontrolled habitat loss,” the forest department informed.
The department also said that proper scientific study is required to put forward a comprehensive conservation plan, along with creation of suitable infrastructure to integrate the park with Tawang’s tourism circuit.
The foundation stone for the park was laid by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on 6 February.