Posted on 03 October 2012
Nepal is a highly diverse and unique country harbouring an extraordinary variety of landscapes, cultures and wildlife. Despite making up less than 1% of the world’s total land mass, its physiographic features range from the highest terrestrial ecosystem in the world, the Himalayas, to the subtropical lowlands of the Terai.
This contrast makes Nepal one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, containing within its small area of 141,181 km²: 4.2% of all mammals, 8.5% of all birds and 2.2% of all flowering plants on Earth, including threatened flagship species such as the Royal Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Greater One-horned Rhino (Rhinoceros unicornis) and South Asian River Dolphin (Platanista gangetica) (Shrestha et al. 2001). In addition to the vast faunal diversity, 35 forest types and 118 ecosystems are present in Nepal (GoN, MoFSC 2009). Almost 25% of the country’s landmass is designated as protected area, with 10 national parks, three wildlife reserves, five conservation areas and one hunting reserve