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In Letter & Spirit

To Sunday Shillong,
South and South East Asia represent one of the most biodiverse regions in the planet. Each country located in this vast area has varied agro-climatic zones representing unique terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, mesmerising landscapes, majestic virgin forests and spectacular wildlife. The region is home to five megabiodiverse nations of the world; namely China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. If Papua and New Guinea is also included; it is indeed one of the most spectacularly biodiverse part of the globe. The region is also characterised by rich ethnic and socio-cultural diversity, explosive growth of human populations, struggling economy, ethnic conflicts, poverty and political destabilisation in different pockets.
As a consequence it has been a flash point of regional disturbances that have impacted relations between adjoining nations. Further, this is also one of the biggest hotspots in the world with rampart poaching, illegal trafficking of wildlife and wildlife parts, major and minor forest products, drug and human trafficking.
The massive illegal wildlife markets with several million dollar turnover per year in parts of southern China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia and other areas is a serious threat to conservation of endangered wildlife and fragile forest ecosystems across South and South East Asia.
This is a serious issue with cross-border implications and not just the problem of a specific country. If the nations in the region do not cooperate actively with one another on the conservation front, very little success could be expected in terms of protecting the rich forests and wildlife of the region. Both SAARC and ASEAN groups could serve as important platforms to bridge the gap between the nations and cooperate and coordinate better in protecting their precious natural resources and biodiversity; and enhance better security along vulnerable international borders.
Thanking you
Saikat Basu
To Sunday Shillong,
The article ‘Watching rain drops in EKH village’ was an informative write-up. Many people in the district do not know about these obscure villages, their characteristics and people. Especially those living in the city are far away from the reality in rural pockets and have little or no knowledge of the several picturesque and serene hamlets scattered on the hills of Meghalaya. The write-up was a valuable source of information about one such place and it will be really a joyful read if more such articles are published. For so long we knew only Cherrapunjee and Mawsynram as the two areas in the state which receive the maximum rainfall and did not know that there is a close contestant of these places. I would like to know more about the nature of the research work that the author did in the village and what does the study say. Maybe this research will open up another window of information for all of us. I would also like to request the author to provide more details of her work in the hamlet in East Khasi Hills and some more unique places, if she is in the knowhow.
Thanking you
TV Lyngdoh Nonglait

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