Over the past few years Nepal has experienced enormous challenges in conserving the country’s biodiversity, from the mountains to the Terai. Globally significant wildlife species such as Bengal tiger, greater one-horned rhinoceros, Asian elephant, gharial, Gangetic river dolphin and giant hornbill in Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) and snow leopard, red panda and musk deer in the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) are under threat. Species-specific regional conservation strategies are required to ensure their long-term survival. There are also major forest ecosystems in both TAL and CHAL that require protection. TAL supports tall alluvial floodplain grasslands, riverine forest, and khari-sissoo (Dalbergia-Acacia) association in the riverbeds, to mixed hardwood and Sal forests in the drier uplands. CHAL vegetation includes a narrow section of lowland TAL vegetation in the southern proximity, dry deciduous sal forest in the Churia foothills; broadleaf subtropical forests with sal and pine forest in the middle mountain; temperate forest in the high mountain; and birch dominated alpine forest and open rangelands in the high Himalayan region.
The main threats to Nepal's biodiversity are (Nepal Biodiversity Strategy, 2002):
• Encroachment/fragmentation and degradation of habitat
• Poaching and illegal trade of key wild animals and plants
• Unsustainable use of natural resources
• Spread of invasive alien plant species
• Human-wildlife conflict
• Climate change (direct impacts)
• Overgrazing by livestock
• Fire, flood and landslide
• Pollution of aquatic environments and changes in river flows
• Large infrastructure development
While the above mentioned are direct threats, there are number of indirect drivers and root causes that interact in complex ways to cause human induced changes in biodiversity. Indirect drivers including inequitable access to forest benefits, lack of economic alternatives, population growth, and cultural and religious factors that influence local communities' behavior in ways that impact biodiversity. And climate change is having increasing impacts on people and nature, in some cases exacerbating indirect drivers of biodiversity loss.