Biodiversity Conservation

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.
The Hariyo Ban Program recognizes the key role that local communities play in biodiversity conservation. Hence the biodiversity component aims to strengthen governance in natural resource management, improve livelihoods of forest dependent communities and improve local stewardship in conserving natural resources. This includes promoting meaningful participation and equitable benefit sharing for poor and marginalized groups, and for women. The program will focus efforts in areas critical for biodiversity including biological corridors, catchments and refugia, working to link protected areas through corridors to meet the ecological requirements of focal species. The program will also work to reduce threats to biological resources by improving understanding of the ecology and behavior of focal species and applying it in management; addressing site specific threats to species and habitats; strengthening anti-poaching operations; improving habitats; and creating a more enabling policy environment. Since this component is very closely linked with the REDD+ and climate change adaptation work, it will work to establish climate-resilient conservation landscapes for biodiversity conservation.
 Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this website are the responsibility of WWF and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.