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Biodiversity Conservation

 

National Research Foundation Nepal is the well- established, highly prestigious Biodiversity Research Institute in Nepal.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 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.

 

The main objectives of the Status of Nepal’s Mammals were to form a comprehensive list of mammals that occur in Nepal, to evaluate the status of each species and to identify specific threats to the species and make conservation recommendations. As part of this process, the species list was reviewed in accordance with the international rules of zoological nomenclature. A Nepal biodiversity databank was established with information on point localities and corresponding dates, species names, synonyms, potential threats, conservation measures, habitat preferences and other fields which were deemed useful for conservation assessments. This data was taken from published reports and past museum records, unpublished project reports and field surveys, as well as expert opinion. This databank provides a baseline for future Red List assessments.

 

Whilst Nepal is rich in biodiversity, it is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world,ranked 138th in Human Development Index and in the 10 least developed countries in Asia and Oceania (UNDP 2010, IMF 2010). The country’s rapidly increasing human population is putting huge pressure on natural resources and wildlife and even basic human needs struggle to be met with shortages of water and electricity. In addition to the direct anthropogenic pressures, invasive alien plant species are rapidly destroying prime habitat and the increasing temperatures of climate change are likely to exert severe effects on the world’s highest mountain habitats. These combined pressures are pushing many species towards extinction.

Although the declines of many species, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger and Greater One-horned Rhino are well known, it has been a challenge to address them with expanding human settlements compounded with inadequate human and financial resources. However for the majority of species in Nepal, baseline information is still lacking, including information on Nepal’s two endemic mammal species, the Himalayan Field Mouse (Apodemus gurkha) and Csorba’s Mouse-eared Myotis (Myotis csorbai).ed reports and past museum records, unpublished project reports and field surveys, as well as expert opinion. This databank provides a baseline for future Red List assessments.

 

Whilst Nepal is rich in biodiversity, it is one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world,ranked 138th in Human Development Index and in the 10 least developed countries in Asia and Oceania (UNDP 2010, IMF 2010). The country’s rapidly increasing human population is putting huge pressure on natural resources and wildlife and even basic human needs struggle to be met with shortages of water and electricity. In addition to the direct anthropogenic pressures, invasive alien plant species are rapidly destroying prime habitat and the increasing temperatures of climate change are likely to exert severe effects on the world’s highest mountain habitats. These combined pressures are pushing many species towards extinction.

 

 

Although the declines of many species, such as the Royal Bengal Tiger and Greater One-horned Rhino are well known, it has been a challenge to address them with expanding human settlements compounded with inadequate human and financial resources. However for the majority of species in Nepal, baseline information is still lacking, including information on Nepal’s two endemic mammal species, the Himalayan Field Mouse (Apodemus gurkha) and Csorba’s Mouse-eared Myotis (Myotis csorbai).