MacArthur has announced 12 grants totaling more than $3.6 million for biodiversity conservation work in the Eastern Himalaya, which stretches nearly 1,000 miles from Nepal to Yunnan Province in China.

There is growing concern about the environment and biodiversity preservation within China, said Jonathan Fanton, President of MacArthur. Some estimates place the number of civil society groups interested in conservation in the hundreds. MacArthur is concentrating its support on the rich forests of western Yunnan Province in China, part of the Himalaya region. The area is rich in species diversity and has some of the best primary forests found anywhere in the country.

This grantmaking is part of the Foundations strategy to conserve the biological diversity of select focal areas in developing countries by helping to create and manage parks, increasing the skills of local governmental and non-governmental institutions and individuals, and strengthening environmental law and policy. In the Eastern Himalaya, grantmaking focuses on three large landscapes: Kangchenjunga-Sikkim landscape in Nepal and India, the Bhutan landscape, and the Arunachal Pradesh-Yunnan landscape that stretches from India into China.

Four grants totaling $1.65 million were awarded to help strengthen management of the Kangchenjung Mountain complex in Nepal and India:

  • The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in Kathmandu, Nepal, received a grant of $315,000, to help strengthen the institutional and policy innovations for conservation across international boundaries in the Eastern Himalayan region, using the Kangchenjunga landscape as the case study. ICIMOD will work with local and national institutions in eastern Nepal, Darjeeling and Sikkim in India, and western Bhutan to conserve the corridor districts in these countries that link protected areas in the landscape.
  • A grant of $300,000 over three years was awarded to the Washington, DC-based Mountain Institute (TMI) to promote effective conservation management of the Kangchenjung landscape in eastern Nepal and the Indian state of Sikkim through direct community participation.
  • A grant of $300,000 over three years was awarded to World Wildlife Funds Nepal Programme in Kathmandu to help establish the first-ever community-managed protected area in Nepal. Grant funds will be used to strengthen the       capacity of the newly established Kangchenjunga Conservation Area management     Council and local civil society institutions.
  • Resources Himalaya, based in Kathmandu, was awarded a grant of $150,000 over three years to upgrade its GIS and mapping facilities and strengthen its ability to provide technical support to conservation organizations in the region.


Two grants totaling $915,000 will help strengthen the protected areas and biological corridor system in Bhutan.

  • The World Wildlife Funds Bhutan Programme, based in Thimphu, Bhutan, received a grant of $700,00 over three years to help the Bhutanese government upgrade the management structure of Bhutans newest protected area in the eastern region of the country: Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary. Grant funds will also be used to survey a new corridor system and develop plans to create the corridors.
  • A grant of $215,000 over three years was awarded to the Thimphu-based Royal Society for the Protection of Nature to work with the Bhutan Government and a community of 4,700 residents to develop a management plan for declaring Phobjikha an official conservation area. The plan is intended to provide a model for the many communities across Bhutan that are located adjacent to protected areas or within biological corridors.


Six grants totaling more than $1.6 million were awarded to help expand protected areas in Northeastern India and for conservation work in Yunnan Province in China.

Northeast India

  • Community Forestry International, based in Santa Barbara, California, received a grant of $350,000 over three years for a project to create new approaches that the state forest departments and local nongovernmental organizations can use to support community-based forest conservation in Northeast India.
  • A grant of $320,000 over three years was awarded to the Hamden, Connecticut-based Inner Asian Conservation to help increase the size of the protected area network in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh and to enhance the management capacity of staff working in two protected areas.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization New Delhi office received a grant of $200,000 over three years to study traditional ecological knowledge systems of the indigenous peoples of Northeast India to learn how these traditional societies can contribute to conservation, ecological balance and sustainable development.

Yunnan Province, China

  • The Center for United States-China Arts Exchange of Columbia University in New York City received a grant of $400,000 over three years to build local capacity to protect the biodiversity of the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve. Grant funds will be used to develop an understanding of the social, cultural and political environment of the nature reserve; build local capacity to protect the Nu River and related resources; and work with local communities to develop ecotourism in the region.
  • The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco received a grant of $225,000 over three years to carry out biodiversity surveys of the Gaoligong Mountain Range in collaboration with Chinese partner agencies in Yunnan Province.
  • A grant of $145,000 over two years was awarded to the Washington, DC-based World Resources Institute to promote improved governance of natural resources and biodiversity in Yunnan. Grant funds will be used for research and analysis on the evolving state of environmental governance in the province and to convene a series of dialogues with local organizations and agencies. Opportunities for international organizations to collaborate with local institutions in natural resources and biodiversity governance will also be identified.

Conservation & Sustainable Development, Asia, Conservation