Nepal's nature
Nepal's Nature
Plants, Birds and Mammalian Species
Nepal Nature
New Plant, Bird and Mammalian Species
New Plant, Bird and Mammalian Species and More Protected Areas in Nepal

Twenty new bird species and four mammals, and more than 700 flowering species were found in Nepal between 1996 and 2006, according to the Nepal Biodiversity Resource Book, released in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The new bird species include the Moustached Warbler, Greater White-fronted Goose, Spot-winged Rosefinch, Pallas's Bunting, Red-throated Loon, Black-and-yellow Grosbeak, and Rufous-tailed Wheatear; the new mammal species are the Binturong, Indian Mongoose, Himalayan Marmot, and the Tibetan gazelle.

In addition, Nepal has increased its protected areas by nearly 9,000 sq km. These include the Shivapuri National Park, the Kangchenjunga and Manaslu conservation areas, and 11 buffer zones. Three sites - Bishazarital, Jagdishpur reservoir, and Ghodaghodital - were designated Ramsar sites in 2003.

"Protected areas cover nearly 20% of the country's land. Under the Forest Act 1993, the Government of Nepal has banned the collection use, sale, distribution, transportation and export of three species since 2001. They are the Pancha ounle, Okhar ko bokara bark, and Kutaki. Similarly, the government has banned the export of eight species of plants and rock as well as the transportation, export, and felling of seven tree species for commercial purpose," the report says.

The network of protected areas includes 9 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 3 conservation areas and a hunting reserve. Four sites - the Sagarmatha and Chitwan national parks and the Lumbini and the Kathmandu Valleys - have been included in UNESCO's List of World Heritage Sites. Apart from conservation of species in the wild, efforts have been made towards ex-situ conservation and specimen preservation.

While Nepal has only 0.1% of the global landmass, it has a disproportionately rich diversity of flora and fauna. It has the 10th richest flowering plant diversity in Asia, and ranks 31st globally. Mammal species comprise almost 4% of the global total, and bird species almost 9%. There are 11 bio-climatic zones and 9 land-based ecoregions. Of these, three are classified under critical/endangered, vulnerable and stable/intact.

Nepal's natural resources are important for its economy. These include agricultural land, wetlands, forests, and protected areas. Agricultural, which covers 20% of land area, is the major determinant of economic activities. Forests cover 29% of land area.

"The high demand for agricultural land, however, has led to considerable deforestation and loss of land cover. Forest cover in the Terai and hill areas decreased at an annual rate of 1.3% and 2.3% respectively between 1978/79 and 1990/91. Despite this, forest areas do contribute to the national economy. For example, the majority of protected areas comprise forested land and their contribution to the national economy is of major importance," the report added.

A number of legal instruments govern management of protected areas. Of these, the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1973 is the principal legal instrument. The Act prohibits the hunting of any animals or birds, building any house, hut, or other structure, clearing or cultivation or harvesting, cutting, burning, or damaging any tree, bush, or other forest product, and mining in national parks, or protected areas. Additionally, 26 mammal species, 9 bird species, and 3 reptile species are protected under the Act.

Despite this, several species are listed as threatened. Among these, the pigmy hog the slender-billed vulture, pink-headed duck, and the white-rumped vulture are listed as critically endangered. It is believed that the pigmy hog and the Indian Chevrotain have probably become extinct in Nepal. Of plant species, the Andrewsianthus ferrugineus and Diplocolea sikkimensis are considered endangered.

The Nepal Biodiversity Resource Book was jointly produced by the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and the United Nations Environment Programme and prepared by The report focuses on the flora and fauna diversity in the Protected Areas, Ramsar Sites, and World Heritage Sites of Nepal as a means of having updated and comprehensive information on Nepal's biodiversity profile.

Source: ICIMOD, UNEP 2007


more information
Weather in Nepal Nepal Maps
National Parks & Wildlife Reserves
Chitwan National Park
Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve
External link
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
United Nations Environment Programme