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Existing protective mechanisms

A number of successes have been recorded over the years in the protection and management of biological resources and their diversity, particularly with protected ecosystems and species, community forestry, agrobiodiversity and mountain biodiversity. The impetus for this has been the recognition that Nepal’s biodiversity is the mainstay of the country’s economy and the well being of its people. While the Nepal Biodiversity Strategy will build on the legacy of enlightened environmental planning that has resulted in several successful conservation stories, the present institutional structure of the country does require strengthening for its effective implementation. The NBS will facilitate this with a review of past achievements and lessons learned and identification of the major constraints and existing gaps which need to be addressed.


Threats to biodiversity

In the NBS, existing weaknesses, gaps, difficulties and other problems that threaten Nepal’s biological diversity are analysed to determine the major causes of these problems. Immediate and the root causes are identified.


It must be stressed that this causal chain analysis is only preliminary and that NBS Implementation Plan will provide an opportunity for this analysis to be reviewed, with the broad participation of all stakeholders. However, the results so far are considered as indicative of some of the basic origins of the threats to Nepal’s biodiversity, and can be summarised as follows:


  • Low levels of public awareness and participation;

  • High population pressures and prevailing poverty;

  • Weak institutional, administrative, planning and management capacity;

  • Lack of integrated land and water use planning;

  • Inadequate data and information management; and

  • Inadequate policies and strategies for biodiversity conservation.

These and other fundamental problems that may be identified through a broad-based analysis hold the key to successful biodiversity conservation in Nepal. Until these fundamental problems and root causes are addressed, success is not likely to be sustainable and the threats will reappear.


The NBS seeks to consolidate and build on past successful efforts and prescribes additional interventions required to address the root causes of the major threats to Nepal’s biodiversity. In addition, since human and financial resources are limited, criteria are proposed for ranking problems and root causes identified according to their overall impact on biodiversity and priority for remediation.

Implementation mechanisms

Mechanisms for the implementation of the NBS, roles and responsibilities of various Government ministries, the private sector and the People of Nepal are outlined in the NBS.


The NBS will be implemented through the project activities that comprise the NBS Implementation Plan. In addition to the teams responsible for specific projects and activities, effective implementation will require the creation of the following two bodies and NBU as a secretariat of the NBCC:


  • National Biodiversity Co-ordination Committee (NBCC)

  • Thematic Sub-Committees

There is a strong commitment to make the implementation of the NBS a participatory approach. Public participation will be based on effective public information and education campaigns aimed at raising environmental sensitivity and awareness. In addition to the usual invitations for dialogue, submissions, objections and other reactions, the NBS seeks to involve the public in the early planning stages of resource use as well as in the bioresources management process. This will avoid confrontations and transform opposition into co-operation. The NBS will be implemented through a series of partnership arrangements.


Financial support for the implementation of the NBS will be sought from traditional and new sources and managed by the Nepal Biodiversity Trust Fund. The fund will support conservation education, training, applied research, sustainable income-generating activities, anti-poaching control, women-focused programmes, indigenous knowledge and practices, and policy development in accordance with national priorities identified in the NBS. Trust Fund board members will raise funds, manage, provide grants and advocate for biodiversity conservation.
In order to ensure transparency and accountability, an effective monitoring and evaluation process is being established based on quantifiable indicators to assess progress towards achieving the objectives of the NBS. The strategic objective of monitoring and evaluation activities under the NBS is to measure the extent to which the three principles of the Convention on Biological Diversity are being respected, namely the conservation of biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits accrued from them.

Acronyms
ACAP Annapurna Conservation Area Project

ADB Asian Development Bank

NBU National Biodiversity Unit

CA Conservation Area

CF Community Forest

CBD Convention on Biological Diversity

CITES Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna

and Flora

COP Conference of the Parties

DANIDA Danish International Development Agency

DBC District Biodiversity Committee

DDC District Development Committee

DFO District Forest Office

DNA De-ribo Nucleic Acid

DNPWC Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation

DSCWM Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management

EPC Environment Protection Council

EU European Union

FAO Food and Agriculture Organisation

FUG Forest User Group

GEF Global Environment Facility

HR Hunting Reserve

ICIMOD International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

IPR Intellectual Property Rights

IUCN International Union for the Conservation of Nature - World Conservation

Union


HDI Human Development Index

HMGN His Majesty’s Government of Nepal

KMTNC King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation

LU Livestock Unit

MFSC Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation

NBS National Biodiversity Strategy

NBSIP Nepal Biodiversity Implementation Plan

NBU National Biodiversity Unit

NGO Non-Governmental Organisation

NPWC National Parks and Wildlife Conservation

NTFP Non-Timber Forest Product

INGO International Non-Governmental Organisation

ITNC International Trust for Nature Conservation

NBCC National Biodiversity Co-ordination Committee

NP National Park

PA Protected Area

SI Smithsonian Institution

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

USAID United States Agency for International Development

VDC Village Development Committee

WR Wildlife Reserve

WWF World Wildlife Fund



List of Tables

Table 2.1

Physiographic zones of Nepal

5

Table 2.2

Population density and distribution in Nepal

8

Table 2.3

Number of visitors in protected areas (1998/99)

9

Table 2.4

Ecosystems identified by Dobremez (1970) and their representation in protected areas

10

Table 2.5

Number of species of flora and fauna occurring in each physiographic zone

10

Table 2.6

Number of threatened species of fauna according to physiographic zones

11

Table 2.7

Grassland categories according to climatic zones

14

Table 2.8

Plant species in the rangelands of Nepal

15

Table 2.9

Productivity of rangelands in different ecosystems

16

Table 2.10

Total wetland areas of Nepal

16

Table 2.11

Number of wetland sites in Nepal

17

Table 2.12

Wetland sites in the Terai that merit legal protection

17

Table 2.13

Uses of wetlands in the Terai

19

Table 2.14

Major cropping patterns in different physiographic regions of Nepal

21

Table 2.15

Major landraces of important food crops

21

Table 2.16

Crop diversity in selected ecological regions of Nepal

21

Table 2.17

Estimated percentage of botanical sources of cultivated and wild food crops

22

Table 2.18

A few wild species of cultivated food plants

22

Table 2.19

Agroclimatic niche-based selection of fruit crops in the districts of Nepal

23

Table 2.20

Indigenous and exotic livestock genotypes in Nepal

24

Table 2.21

Livestock and poultry populations in Nepal and comparison growth rates with those of the Asia-Pacific region

25

Table 2.22

Livestock density (heads/ha) on cultivated land in Nepal

25

Table 2.23

An overview of species richness in Nepal

26

Table 2.24

Plant species and forest products legally protected under the Forest Regulations

28

Table 2.25

Protected animal species under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act

29

Table 2.26

Nepal’s flora and fauna under CITES appendices, 1995

30

Table 2.27

List of non-endemic threatened plants

32

Table 2.28

Nepal’s threatened animals in the IUCN red list, 1994

33

Table 2.29

Numbers of threatened plant and animal species in Nepal

34

Table 2.30

Endemic species in Nepal

35

Table 3.1

Protected areas of Nepal

38

Table 3.2

Number of flowering plants and endemic species in protected areas

39

Table 3.3

Buffer zones of parks and reserves

39

Table 3.4

Classification of forests, management objectives and responsible institutions

45

Table 3.5

Districts with Operational Forest Management Plan

46

Table 3.6

Leasehold forests in the mid-hills of Nepal up to the end of 1998/99 fiscal year

47

Table 3.7

Community forests in Nepal up to the end of year 2001

49

Table 3.8

Number of forest user groups and total area of community forestry in the mid-hills and Terai

49

Table 3.9

Number of registered private forests and total area by physiographic region

50

Table 3.10

Production of forage / pasture seeds by the Department of Livestock Services

54

Table 4.1

Biological and cultural significance of protected areas and their major problems

69

Table 4.2

Weaknesses, gaps, difficulties and other problems and the likely threats they pose to biological diversity in Nepal

70

Table 4.3

Changes in forest and shrubland in Nepal between 1978/79 and 1990/91

72

Table 4.4

Estimated annual financial losses due to deforestation

72

Table 4.5

Population change in the different regions of Nepal between 1971 and 2001

77


Table of Contents


NEPAL BIODIVERSITY STRATEGY 1

Supported by 1

Global Environment Facility and UNDP 1

Acknowledgements 1



Existing protective mechanisms 4

Threats to biodiversity 5

Implementation mechanisms 5

1 INTRODUCTION 1

1.1 OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF THE STRATEGY 1

1.2 PRINCIPLES AND DEFINITIONS 2

1.2.1 PRINCIPLES 2

1.2.2 DEFINITIONS AND CONCEPTS 3

Biological resources includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity. 3

1.3 METHODOLOGY 4

2 NEPAL’S BIODIVERSITY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE 5

2.1 PHYSICAL SETTING 5

2.1.1 Location 5

2.1.2 Physiography 5

2.1.4 Soil 7

2.1.5 River systems 7

2.1.6 Land use 7

2.2 SOCIO-ECONOMIC SETTING 7

2.2.1 Population and human development 7

7


Table 2.2 Population density and distribution in Nepal 8

2.2.2 Natural resources of economic significance 8

2.3 NEPAL’S ECOSYSTEMS AND SPECIES 9

2.3.1 DIVERSITY AT DIFFERENT ALTITUDES 9

2.3.1.1 Lowlands (Terai and Siwalik Hills, below 1,000m) 9

2.3.1.2 Mid-hills (1,000-3,000m) 10

2.3.1.3 Highlands (above 3,000m) 11

2.3.2 ECOSYSTEMS DIVERSITY 11

2.3.2.1 Forest ecosystems 11

Plantation Forests 13

2.3.2.3 Wetland ecosystems 16

2.3.2.4 Mountain ecosystems 19

2.3.2.5 Agroecosystems 20

Chyangra 24

Lampuchhre 24

2.3.3 SPECIES DIVERSITY 25

2.3.3.1 Diversity of flora 25

2.3.3.2 Diversity of fauna 27

2.3.3.3 Protected, threatened and endemic species 28

Status 33

2.3.4 GENETIC DIVERSITY 36



3 EXISTING MECHANISMS FOR CONSERVING BIODIVERSITY 37

3.1 INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK 37

3.1.1 PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT 37

3.1.2 ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION COUNCIL 37

3.1.3 LOCAL AUTHORITIES 38

3.2 PROTECTED AREAS 38

3.2.1 BACKGROUND 38

National Park 38

Strict Nature Reserve 38

Total 39


(% of Nepal Territory) 39

3.2.2 POLICY AND LEGISLATION 41

3.2.2.1 Legislation and regulations 41

3.2.2.2 International conventions and other obligations 42

3.2.3 MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS 43

3.2.4 LESSONS LEARNED 44

3.2.5 MAJOR CONSTRAINTS 45

3.2.6 GAPS 45

3.3 FORESTS 46

3.3.1 NATIONAL AND LEASEHOLD FORESTRY PROGRAMME 47

3.3.1.1 Policy and legislation 47

3.3.1.2 Major achievements 48



Total 48

3.3.1.3 Lessons learned 49

3.3.1.4 Major constraints 49

3.3.1.5 Gaps 49

3.3.2 COMMUNITY AND PRIVATE FORESTRY PROGRAMMES 50

3.3.2.1 Policy and legislation 51

3.3.2.2 Major achievements 51

3.3.2.3 Lessons learned 52

3.3.2.4 Major constraints 52

3.3.2.5 Gaps 53

3.3.3 NON-TIMBER FOREST PRODUCTS 53

3.3.3.1 Policy and legislation 53

3.3.3.2 Major achievements 54

3.3.3.3 Lessons learned 54

3.3.3.4 Major constraints 54

3.3.3.5 Gaps 55

3.4 RANGELANDS 56

3.4.1 POLICY AND LEGISLATION 56

3.4.2 MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS 56

3.4.3 LESSONS LEARNED 56

3.4.4 MAJOR CONSTRAINTS 57

3.4.5 GAPS 57

3.5 AGROBIODIVERSITY 58

3.5.1 CROPS 58

3.5.1.1 Policy and legislation 58

3.5.1.2 Major achievements 59



Box 3.1 Agricultural Research Stations in Nepal 60

3.5.1.3 Lessons learned 60

3.5.1.4 Major constraints 61

3.5.1.5 Gaps 61

3.5.2 LIVESTOCK 62

3.5.2.1 Policy and legislation 62

3.5.2.2 Major achievements 64

3.5.2.3 Lessons learned 64

3.5.2.4 Major constraints 64

3.5.2.5 Gaps 64

3.6 WETLANDS 65

3.6.1 POLICY AND LEGISLATION 65

3.6.2 MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS 67

3.6.3 LESSONS LEARNED 67

3.6.4 MAJOR CONSTRAINTS 67

3.6.5 GAPS 67

3.7 MOUNTAIN BIODIVERSITY 68

BOX 3.2 Participation of User Groups/Communities in Catchment Management 69

3.7.1 MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS 69



4 MAJOR THREATS FACING NEPAL’S BIODIVERSITY AND THEIR ROOT CAUSES 71

4.1 MAJOR EXISTING AND EMERGING PROBLEMS 71

4.1.1 WEAKNESSES, GAPS, DIFFICULTIES, AND OTHER PROBLEMS 71

4.1.2 MAJOR THREATS TO BIODIVERSITY 73

4.1.2.1 The threats of ecosystems loss 73

Table 4.3 Changes in forest and shrubland in Nepal between 1978/79 and 1990/91 74

4.1.2.2 The threat of species loss 76

4.1.2.3 The threat of loss of agrobiodiversity and genetic resources 77

4.2 IMMEDIATE AND ROOT CAUSES 78

4.2.1 SOCIO-ECONOMIC CAUSES 78

4.2.2 NATURAL CAUSES 79

4.2.3 ANTHROPOGENIC CAUSES 79

4.2.3.1 Pollution 79

4.2.3.2 Fire 80

4.2.3.3 Overgrazing 80

4.2.3.4 Introduction of alien species 80

4.2.3.5 Illegal trade and hunting 80

4.2.4 PRELIMINARY CAUSAL CHAIN ANALYSIS 82

4.2.4.1 Root causes of the threats to ecosystem loss 82

IMMEDIATE CAUSES 82

4.2.4.2 Root causes of the threats to species loss 83



IMMEDIATE CAUSES 83

4.2.4.3 Root causes of the threats to genetic resources loss 84



IMMEDIATE CAUSES 84

It must be stressed that the above causal chain analysis is very preliminary, and the Nepal Biodiversity Strategy Implementation Plan will provide an opportunity for the analysis to be reviewed with the broad participation of stakeholders, including local communities. However, the results obtained above are very indicative of some of the origins of the threats to biodiversity in Nepal. These can be summarised as follows: 85



5 STRATEGIES TO CONSERVE BIODIVERSITY 86

5.1 Cross-Sectoral Strategies 86

5.1.1 Landscape Planning approach 86

5.1.2 Integrating local participation 86

5.1.3 Institutional Strengthening 86

5.1.4 In-situ Conservation 86

5.1.5 Strengthening the National Biodiversity Unit 87

5.1.6 Increasing Support for Biodiversity Research and Conservation 87

5.1.7 Endorsing Indigenous Knowledge and Innovations 87

5.1.8 Cross-Sectoral Co-ordination and Implementation of Policies 87

5.1.9 Enhancing National Capacity 87

5.1.10 Ex-situ Conservation and Biotechnology 87

5.1.11 Securing Intellectual Property and Farmer Property Rights 87

5.1.12 Biodiversity Prospecting 88

5.1.13 Environmental Impact Assessment 88

5.1.14 Women in Biodiversity Conservation 88

5.1.15 Developing Eco-tourism 88

5.1.16 Increasing Conservation Awareness 88

5.1.17 Biodiversity Registration 88

5.2 Sectoral Strategies 89

5.2.1 Protected areas 89

5.2.1.1 New Models of Protection and Management 89

5.2.1.2 Inadequate Co-ordination 89

5.2.1.3 Capacity enhancement 89

5.2.1.4 Representation of all ecosystems in PAs 89

5.2.1.5 Biodiversity Inventories 89

5.2.1.6 Exchange of Information 89

5.2.1.7 Species Conservation Plan 89

5.2.1.8 Management of Protected Area Tourism 90

5.2.2 Forests 90

5.2.2.1 Forest Rehabilitation 90

5.2.2.2 Inventory of Flora and Fauna 90

5.2.2.3 Ecosystem Network and Representation 90

5.2.2.4 Understanding Forest Resilience and Biodiversity 90

5.2.2.5 Local Participation 90

5.2.2.6 Strengthening Management Practices 90

5.2.2.7 Sustainable Harvesting 91

5.2.2.8 Non-Timber Forest Products 91

5.2.1.9 Religious Forests Management 91

5.2.3 Rangelands 91

5.2.3.1 Need for a National Rangeland Policy 91

5.2.3.2 Conservation of Rangeland Biodiversity 91

5.2.3.3 Pastoral Development and Management in the Himalayas 91

5.2.3.4 Forage Development through Integrated Management Planning 92

5.2.4 Agrobiodiversity 92

5.2.4.1 Participatory Plant Breeding 92

5.2.4.2 Participatory Variety Selection 92

5.2.4.3 Gene Bank 92

5.2.5 Wetlands 92

5.2.5.1 Management of Wetlands 92

5.2.6 Mountain Biodiversity 92

5.2.6.1 National Mountain Policy 92

5.2.6.2 Integrated Management 93

5.3 Commitments to address the most serious threats to biodiversity 93

5.4 Criteria for ranking existing threats and prioritising action 93

6 MECHANISMS FOR ACTION 95

6.1 THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT 95

6.2 ORGANISATIONAL STRUCTURE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STRATEGY 95

6.2.1 THE NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY CO-ORDINATION COMMITTEE 95

6.2.2 THEMATIC SUB-COMMITTEES 96

6.2.3 NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY UNIT 97

6.2.4 BIODIVERSITY CO-ORDINATOR 97

6.2.5 THE ROLE OF NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS 97

6.2.6 THE ROLE OF UNIVERSITIES AND RESEARCH INSTITUTES 97

6.3 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 98

6.3.1 THE ROLE OF THE PUBLIC 98

6.3.2 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF PUBLIC PARTICIPATION 98

6.3.2.1 Rights and responsibilities 98

6.3.2.2 Public participation policy 99

6.3.2.3 Framework for participation 99

6.3.2.4 Protected Areas and Buffer Zone management 99

6.3.2.5 Ecosystem landscape management 100

6.3.3 INVOLVING NGOS AND CIVIL SOCIETY 100

6.4 FINANCIAL RESOURCES 101

6.4.1 Nepal Trust Fund for Biodiversity 101

6.4.2 Other funding mechanisms 101

6.5 MONITORING AND PROGRESS INDICATORS 102

6.5.1 Biodiversity Monitoring 102

6.6 TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY 102

REFERENCES 107

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