Status and Trends of Biodiversity
Nepal, situated in the Central Himalaya, has diverse physiographic zones, climatic contrasts and altitudinal variations, which provide habitats for biological species of both Indo-Malayan and Palaeoarctic realms, including endemic Himalayan flora and fauna. A total of 118 ecosystems with 75 vegetation types and 35 forest types have been identified in these realms. The major ecosystems include mountain, forest, rangeland, wetland and agricultural ecosystems. Nepal has only about 0.1% of the world’s total land area but harbors over 2% of the flowering plants, 3% of pteridophytes and 6% of bryophytes of the world’s flora. In addition, about 5% (246 species) of the total flora known is endemic, which accounts for about 30% of the whole Himalayan regions. Nepal also has more than 4.2% and 8.5% of the world’s total mammals and birds known so far. Nepal possesses more than 400 species of agricultural crops, 50 of which have been domesticated for commercial and household consumption. The total known species in Nepal (1992-2002) include 6,937 higher plants, 181 mammals, 274 breeding birds, 119 reptiles, 5 amphibians and 13 fishes. Among them, 6 higher plants, 31 mammals and 25 birds are threatened species.
Number and Extent of Protected Areas
Over 19% of the total country's land (147181 sq. km), has been designated as protected areas, representing all ecological regions (Terai, Mid-hills, High Mountains and Himalayas). Nepal has so far established 9 national parks, 3 wildlife reserves, 3 conservation areas, 1 hunting reserve and 9 buffer zones. Forests outside the protected areas system are being managed under various forms of community based natural resource management regimes including the community forestry programmes.
Percentage of Forest Cover
The total forest area (2000) is 3,900,000 ha, with 3,767,000 ha for natural forest area and 133,000 ha for plantations.