Forest cover in hills is essential to maintain environmental, economic and ecological balances. North Bengal accounts for 3,086 sq km (26 %) of the 11,876 sq km area of classified forests in the state, and for nearly 5,000 sq km (40 %) of all land under tree cover. Upper Chatakpur is one of the emerging ecotourism spots of north Bengal, located at an altitude of 7887 feet in Darjeeling district. It is a 180 years old ethnic village with 19 houses and a population of about 89, and at an altitude of 7887 ft. It is about 8 km. from Sonada (26° 57' N, 88° 16' E), 22 km. from Darjeeling (26° 2' N, 88° 15' E) and 72 km. from Siliguri (26° 42' N, 88° 25' E). Upper Chatakpur Village situated within Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary, Darjeeling. The sanctuary with an area of 38.88 sq. km has an elevation of 1500-2600 m. The survey work was done in December, 2014 by visiting upper Chatakpur village and the primary data were gathered through field survey and direct contact with common people and authorized centers of the region. Surveys on the topography, demography, agriculture, livestock, water management, education, culture, health, waste management, transport, biodiversity, human animal conflict were done in this area. Medicinal plant diversity was studied in the village area and information was gathered from the local forest department centre. Information regarding the transport system was collected from the local transport office and syndicate. Census report was collected from the Sonada Panchayat Office. Health and education information was collected from the local primary school and the local sub health centre. Information on sustainable agricultural practices and waste management policies is collected through surveys in the village houses and agricultural fields. Biodiversity of Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary was documented by visiting the forest areas. Pictorial documentation was done in every phase of study. In spite of getting so much attention in the recent time, the village is not adequately developed. There is an urgent need for implementing sustainable management systems in the areas for the betterment of the socio-environmental structures. Some of the possible management strategies have been suggested for maintaining the social, environmental, economic and ecological balance of the region.
International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 33)
S. Bhattacharya et al., "Socio-Environmental Survey of an Ecologically Important Hamlet of Darjeeling District West Bengal, India", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 33, pp. 51-72, 2015