Indigenous knowledge of Lepcha community for monitoring and conservation of birds

The non-professional volunteers are commonly used in biodiversity assessment due to lack of experts. The bird identification skills of indigenous Lepcha community have been recognized and the accuracy of data generated by them has been assesed. Bird sampling was done using point count method along the transects in three locations in Dzongu, North Sikkim. Two observers, a trained ‘researcher’ and a local Lepcha folk referred as citizen scientist independently sampled birds (species by former and varieties by the latter). The mean number of species and varieties per point was not significantly different from each other. Gross accuracy of data collected by citizen scientist was high. These results showed that indigenous taxonomic knowledge of Lepcha community can be applied for biodiversity assessment programme provided the individual biasness of lumping and splitting is taken care.