Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Biology/Environmental Biology

First Advisor

Kamaljit S. Bawa

Second Advisor

Garrison Wilkes

Third Advisor

Robert D. Stevenson


The Kanchenjunga Transboundary Conservation Landscape, that lies in the lap of a global biodiversity hotspot, the Eastern Himalayas, is facing pressing challenges of land use change, resource degradation, and climate change. People living along the Indo-Nepal borders in the region share ethnicity, language, culture, and religion, just as they share landscape and resources produced therein. Hence, decisions and actions--either self-determined or motivated or coerced by market and policy incentives--of people on one side cause impacts on both sides of the borders. Besides cross-border social networks, government policies also influence decisions on the use of land and resources at the trans-national level. As government policy, support and subsidies on two sides of the borders are dissimilar, land use change, resource use patterns, and community participation in two sides also differ. People on the two sides also perceive conservation and climate change problems differently.

The nature of the problems facing the region demands a transboundary level effort, as singular effort of any country is insufficient. For transboundary conservation effort to succeed, it is important to examine how land and resource use patterns and perceptions about climate change differ on each side of the border, and how social networks and policies of the two countries impact on local resources and land use.

Along the borders, as socioeconomic, institutional and policy factors vary, land and resource use patterns also differ. Perceptions about climate change differ for some indicators and are similar for other indicators across geographic regions and across the countries. The challenges facing the region can be addressed by adopting transboundary conservation efforts. This requires combined, collaborative, and coordinated efforts of the governments, NGOs, civil societies, and citizens of the two countries. To strengthen transboundary collaboration and coordination, government policies of the two nations should not contradict each other. They should rather be compatible and cohesive; they should not be competitive, but complementary; they should not be cumbersome, but clear and crisp; and they should not just be in documents, but be translated into action.


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