Posted: July 14, 2017

Directed Research (DR) is considered the trademark of the collaboration between SFS and the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER), and for SFS faculty and students it is the grand finale of the program. This summer we are taking students to two locations, Chumme and Ura Valleys. The students have chosen topics based on the presentation of DR topics by two faculty members, Dr. Purna Chhetri and Dr. Riamsara Knapp, and are evenly distributed between the two. The DR topics are a continuation of the spring 2017 research, but in different locations. Dr. Purna’s group headed to Chumme Valley while Dr. Riam’s students headed to Ura Geog.

At Chumme, six students evaluated and examined different aspects of community forestry (CF) such as carbon sequestration potential, forest structure and sustainability of forest resources, wildlife conservation, human-wildlife conflicts and CF governance. Their days were busy, working at two CFs, namely Domkhar Lhuendupcholing Community Forest in Domkhar and Zingbee Village and Namdrupcholing CF under Chumme Geog in Bumthang Dzongkhag. This group employed social interviews as well as measured forest resources though resource inventory.

At Ura, the student group examined relationships between protected areas and public service delivery since Bhutan’s protected areas differ from those in many countries where nature is separated from people and human culture – in fact, here one of the prime responsibilities of protected areas management is to provide public service delivery to people living in the parks! The group research project called “Mobilities, Memory and Landscape” recognises that good landscape governance must take into account traditional resource dependencies in a migratory culture such as Bhutan’s. It is purpose driven in its aim to develop a better understanding of park-people relationships through description and analysis of selected aspects of community life led by the villagers of Ura, in the buffer-zone of Phrumsengla National Park and park governance as enacted by park staff. The team “YakAttack!” conducted interviews with villagers and park staff on human-wildlife conflict, gendered aspects of knowledge transfer in park services delivery, and what it is like for park staff to fulfill both roles of stewardship as well as mediation in natural resources uses.

The field data collection lasted for four days starting on June 27th and final presentations took place on July 6th.


Photo courtesy of Casey Kohn


Photo courtesy of Casey Kohn


Photo courtesy of Kencho Tshering


Photo courtesy of Kencho Tshering


Photo courtesy of Purna Chhetri


Photo courtesy of Riamsara Knapp


Photo courtesy of Riamsara Knapp


Photo courtesy of Riamsara Knapp

→ Eastern Himalayan Forests and Rural Livelihoods in Bhutan