Analysis of grazing exclusion policy through a climate change mitigation lens: case from Barsey rhododendron sanctuary, West Sikkim

Forest ecosystems assume a significant role in climate change mitigation by the virtue of being one of the largest terrestrial carbon sinks. In India, Sikkim is one of the most pro-active states in leading the implementation of conservation policies and is recognised as a key conservation hub. Sikkim adopted a grazing exclusion policy in 1998 owing to the escalating anthropogenic pressure on the forest ecosystems and their consequent rapid degradation. This provided a chance for the revival of the health of the forest ecosystems. The main focus of this paper is to highlight the net positive impact on forest carbon stocks 12 years after the introduction of grazing exclusion policy in the State of Sikkim. Develop this case based on field work in and around Barsey Rhododendron Sanctuary in the West District of Sikkim. The paper develops this case by comparing two alternative scenarios: forest carbon stocks in the absence of the grazing exclusion policy ; and forest carbon stocks with implementation of the grazing exclusion policy.