Sikkim,which is situated in the estern Himalayas, from longitude 88 degree 03'40" to 88 degree 57'19" East and from latitude 27 degree 03'47" to 28 degree 07'34" North, became the twenty second state of India on April 26,1975. It has a total area of 7,096 sq.km., 114 km from north to south and 64 km from east to west. The entire state is mountaneous, with altitudes ranginging from 300 to 8,586 masl. There are 440 villages, eight towns and four districts in Sikkim. The state has four major ethnic groups, namely Lepchas ,Bhutias and Nepalis The climate of the state varies from cold temperate and alpine in norteast to subtropical in the south. Agroclimatically, the state is divided into four zones, viz., the subtropical zone (below 1,000 meters); the humid zone (1,000-1,600 meters); the mid-hill dry zone (again in altitudes ranging from 1,000-1,600 meters); and high hill temperate zone (with an altitude of above 1,600 meters). The genetic diversity, of both forest vegetation and agricultural crops, is enormous. The state has about 600 plant species and more than 4,000 species of flowering plants.

Demographic Features

NUMBER OF DISTRICTS

4

AREA

7,096 sq.Km.

POPULATION

Persons

540,493

Males

288,217

Females

252,276

DENSITY OF POPULATION

76 per sq.Km.4

SEX RATIO

875 Females per 1000 Males

POPULATION IN AGE-GROUPS 0-6

Absolute

Percentage to total Population

Persons

77.170

14.28

Males

38,856

13.48

Females

38,314

15.19

LITERACY

Absolute

Rate

Persons

322,828

69.68

Males

191,326

76.73

Females

131,502

61.46

Macro-ecological Features

Parameters

Features

Rivers

Two major river systems originating from glacers, Rangit (West Sikkim), and Tista (North Sikkim)

Ecological Zones

Alpine (>4,000 m), sub-alpine(3,000-4,000 m), cool temperate (2,200-3,000 m), warm temperate (1,400-2,200 m), and subtropical (300-1,400 m).

Terain

Mostly sloping land only with scarce flat lands in valley. These are marginal lands

Forest

Lush green board-leaved mixed forests in subtropical and temperate zones . Silver fir and rhododendron forests in the sub-alpine zone.

Plants of Special interest

Rhododendrons, orchid, medicinal plants, and a large variety of wild edible olants apart from plants of academic interest.

Issue of concern

Specific habitat degradation and loss have caused a threat to:

  1. Wildlife such as Red Panda,Thar(s), and Musk Deer, etc.
  2. Plant diversity such as medicinal plants (Aconitum sp, Nardostachys jatamansi, Picrorhiza kurrooa, Swertia chirata, Podophyllum hexandrum),wild edibles (Machilus edulis, Bassia buteracea, Elaeocarpus sikkimensis, Elaegnus latifolia, etc.), wild orchids, and some species of rhododendron.

Policy initiatives

Creation of natural coservation areas such as the Kanchanjunga National Park, Sigba Rhododendron Sanctuary, Kyongnosla Alpine Sanctuary