© WWF Nepal/Hariyo Ban Program

Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL)

The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) contains the deepest terrestrial gorge in the world, where the Gandaki River cuts through the Himalayan range on its way to the low-lying Terai.
The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape transcends a range of eco-physiographic zones in Nepal and has rich floral and faunal diversity. TBound by the Gandaki River Basin, the landscape includes seven major sub-river basins and their tributaries—Kali Gandaki, Seti, Marsyangdi, Daraudi, Budhi Gandaki, Trishuli, East Rapti and Narayani. 

The landscape has high biodiversity value and a rich natural and cultural heritage. It is also an important transit route for migratory birds and is home to endangered species like the snow leopard, red panda and Himalayan black bear. It includes parts of four Global 200 Ecoregions; namely the Eastern Himalayan Alpine Scrub and Meadows, Eastern Himalayan Broadleaf and Conifer Forests, Terai-Duar Savannas and Grasslands, and Western Himalayan Temperate Forests. The landscape represents subtropical forests, temperate broadleaf forests, conifer forests, alpine ecosystems and semi-desert in the rain shadow of the Himalaya range. Over 104 species of mammals, 500 species of birds and 3,430 plant species have been recorded in this landscape.

WHY CHAL

The landscape faces a range of threats and climate hazards that impact both biodiversity and people. Major threats include, poaching and illegal trade, proliferation of invasive species, agricultural expansion and landuse change, unsustainable harvesting of natural resources, uncontrolled forest fires, negative-human wildlife interactions, as well as climate induced disasters such as landslides, riverbank erosion, flash floods, prolonged droughts, and more.

HISTORY

The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape covers 32,090 km2 ranging from the tropical lowlands of Terai (200m asl) bordering India in the south, to high mountains of the Annapurna range (8000m asl) bordering China in the north. 


The landscape is home to over 4.5 million people of diverse ethnicities, cultures, and religions. Natural resource dependence is relatively high in the landcape, with remittances still forming a major source of income, followed by agriculture, tourism, salaried jobs/services, and wage labor. The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape has been a priority region for WWF Nepal, under the USAID funded Hariyo Ban Program; a unique showcase of bringing together diverse partnerships for the well-being of people and nature.  

PROTECTED AREAS AND CORRIDORS

About 35.5% of the landscape is covered by forests, of which 29% is managed by communities as community forests. These include the following

Protected Areas: Chitwan National Park, Langtang National Park, Parsa National Park, Shivpuri-Nagarjun National Park,  Annapurna Conservation Area, Manaslu Conservation Area, and Annapurna Conservation Area.
 
Protected Forests: Panchase Protected Forest, Madane Protected Forest, Resunga Protected Forest.

© WWF Nepal, Hariyo Ban Program, Jyoti Shrestha

FOSTERING CHANGE

The Chitwan Annapurna Landscape has a human population of over four million, many of whom live in isolated places with poor access to markets, with a heavy dependence on forest resources and ecosystem services for their livelihoods and wellbeing. 

The landscape is a priority region under USAID's Hariyo Ban Program, which adopted a river basin/watershed approach at multiple scales in CHAL, focusing on three Sub-River basins (Seti, Marshyangdi, and Daraundi), and working on key north–south corridors and biodiversity-important areas. The first phase supported the development and implementation of community adaptation plans for action (CAPAs) and local adaptation plans for action (LAPAs) in areas thought to be particularly vulnerable, and also supported climate-smarting of the Manaslu Conservation Area (MCA) management plan.

HARIYO BAN PROGRAM
WWF