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Fairrie's Paphiopedilum (Paphiopedilum fairrieanum)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 192521425

Conservation of rare and critically endangered orchid “Paphiopedilum farrienium in Bhutan”. 20 word limit

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 192521425) - Fairrie's Paphiopedilum - Awarded $4,000 on October 17, 2019


The Paphiopedilum fairrieanum is a terrestrial orchid which is critically endangered under IUCN category (IUCN 2009). It is reported from Nepal, and part of India; Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam (Raskoti & Ale, 2011), and from Bhutan (Pradhan, 1976, 1978, 1996; Chowdhery, 1998; Cribb, 1998; Pearce and Cribb, 2002; Rankou and Kumar, 2015). However, in Bhutan its distribution is reported from few selected locations, mostly from eastern and southern part of the country only. The present study provides the distribution of P. fairrieanum and the vegetation composition of its habitat at Taksha Range, Jigme Singye Wangchuck National park, Central Bhutan.



Sampling design was developed following Bhutan Flora Monitoring Protocol, 2020. A grid sized 100m x100m was created in the study area using QGIS fishnet and randomly selected 22 grids, where 20 x 20 m sampling plot in each selected grids was sampled for enumerating target species, trees & shrubs, and established 2 m x 2 m plot for herbs inside that sampling plot. For the target species, a clump was enumerated as a single individual. For trees and shrubs, all the species with a height more than 1.3m were considered under tree and shrub category and recorded the DBH. For herbs, tallest individual of each species was measured and estimated AOO of each species inside the plot.

Diameter at Breast Height of all the individual trees were measured and processed using Microsoft Excel to calculate BA cm2 and RBA in percent. Species diversity (H') index was calculated using Shannon &Weiner equation. The processed data were analyzed using PC-ORD version 5.1. Cluster analysis was performed using the distance measure of Sorensen (Bray-Curtis) with group linkage method to determine the forest types of the Paphiopedilum habitats (Ohsawa, 2002; Dorji et al., 2014). For the herb layer, volume was estimated by multiplying height of the tallest herb species (cm) with its coverage (%) within the sampled quadrat.




In conclusion, 519 individuals or clumps of P. fairrieanum from 22 plots were recorded in Taksha Range, Jigme Singye Wancguck National Park, Wangduephodrang. The habitat of P. fairrieanum was mostly on rugged cliffs in chirpine dominated forests with canopy cover not more than 35%, at an elevation ranging from 980-1540masl on lime stone substrate, irrespective of aspects and inclination. Considering the threats, it is clear that preserving the area is important to protect P. fairrieanum. Its populations are threatened by anthropogenic activities such as constructions of farm roads and irrigation channel, timber harvesting and grazing by wild ungulates. Impacts of forest fire and climate change on the species are poorly understood. Further exploration and research is required in this field to authenticate. Education, awareness campaigns and conservation awareness programs for conservation officials and local communities in the area may prove useful to protect the critically endangered orchid. If possible, the area can be declared as ‘orchid sanctuary’, which will provide extra protection to the orchid and it may also uplift the economy of the local people from small fee collected from the visitors. Moreover, this will make local residents responsible to protect the critically endangered orchid in the area. Finally, the findings were based on data collected from relatively accessible sites, and may not be applicable to generalize other inaccessible locations, which still require further study and exploration.




Project 192521425 location - Bhutan, Asia