Terai Arc Landscape (TAL)

 / ©: Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK
Grasslands managed by the Community Co-ordination Forest Committee (CFCC) in Khata, on the border of Bardia National Park. The land was previously grazed on, leaving it barren and bereft of life. Through sustainable management the area has now been regenerated. The committee was established with the help of WWF and allows communities to manage their own forests/grasslands in a sustainable manner. Khata, Bardia National Park buffer zone, western Terai, Nepal.
© Simon de TREY-WHITE / WWF-UK

The Terai is a stretch of lowlands in the southernmost part of Nepal. This is the area with the highest biodiversity in the country.

The Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) program is WWF Nepal’s largest landscape level initiative supporting the government’s TAL program and involves a large number of partner organisations, donor agencies, stakeholders, community-based organisations and local people. The TAL programme was initiated in Nepal in 2001 by the Government of Nepal with the collaboration of WWF Nepal and Department of Forests (DoF) and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.

The TAL program is an exemplary model in conservation marking a shift from site-based conservation to a landscape-based one. TAL was conceived as a system of corridors and protected areas for landscape-scale conservation of tigers, rhinos and elephants. In order to attain this goal of connecting the core areas, the TAL program focuses on restoring the corridors and bottlenecks between important protected areas of Nepal and India using the primary strategy of community forestry.

Currently, the Corridors and Bottlenecks Restoration Project (CBRP) and Protected Area and Buffer zone (PABZ) projects are being implemented under this program. Over time, the TAL programme has grown to serve the dual purpose of restoring habitat that facilitates wildlife movement. The protected areas in the Terai are an important foothold for many large mammals, like tigers, leopards, elephants, rhinos and sloth bears. Some of the protected areas, like Chitwan National Park, are considered to be among the best sites for wildlife viewing in Asia.


Grasslands and Forests in TAL

The climate in Terai ranges from tropical to subtropical. From April to June, the maximum daily temperature is around 35°C. Nights are a little cooler, around 20°C. The rainy season lasts from June to September and is characterized by heavy downpours that often cause severe flooding. In winter - especially from December to January - the daily maximum remains around 25°C. During nights, the temperature may fall below 10°C.

Grasslands and forests are two main habitats of Terai. Lakes are small and scarce, but the area does have several wide, shallow rivers - ones that give birth to the mighty Ganges River. A typical species in grasslands is the elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Growing to an amazing height of four metres, it is the tallest grass species in the world. Forests of Terai vary from lush and dense jungles to open forests with more sunlight. In the lowland areas, the latter are often dominated by thesal tree (Shorea robusta).