Flora and Fauna in Nepal

Nepal is a tiny country but it has a vast diverse geographical structure. The landform is 60m sea level to until top of the world at 8,848.86m and other gorges, plan, Pathar, Trans Himalayan barren land, etc. Ranging from the subtropical forests of the Terai to the great peaks of the Himalayas in the north, Nepal abounds with a variety of flora and fauna also unparalleled elsewhere in the world. Nepal is geographically extremes; one may find every vegetation type, from the treeless steppes of the Trans-Himalayan region in the extreme north and the birch, silver fir, larch, and hemlock of the higher valleys to the oak, pine, and rhododendron of the intermediate altitudes and the great Sal and Sissau forests of the south.

Nepal's extraordinary geography, characterized by diverse physiographic and climatic conditions, has led to the development of a remarkable array of biodiversity. The country, covering a mere 0.1 percent of the global area, harbors an impressive share of the world's known flora and fauna, with over three percent of the flora and one percent of the fauna found in Nepal. This is due to the rapid changes observed along the environmental gradient, resulting in a significant presence of unique species and high beta diversity. Nepal boasts an extensive biodiversity profile, boasting 208 mammal species, 867 bird species, 123 reptile species, approximately 55 amphibian species, 230 freshwater fish species, and 651 butterfly species. This diverse range of species is accompanied by a remarkable level of endemism. As one ascends from lower to higher elevations, the endemism gradually increases. Nepal can proudly claim 284 flowering plant species and 160 animal species, including one mammal species, one bird species, and 24 herpetofauna species, as unique to its territory.

The rolling densely forested hills and broad Dun valleys of the Terai along with other parts of the country were formerly, renowned for their abundance and variety of flora and fauna. Even though depleted as a result of agricultural settlements, deforestation, poaching, and other causes, Nepal can still boast richer and more varied flora and fauna than any other area in Asia. For practical purposes, Nepal’s flora and fauna can be divided into four sections:

1. Tropical Deciduous Monsoon Zone (up to 100m)

This includes the Terai plains and the broad flat valleys or Duns found between successive hill series. The dominant tree species of this area are Sal (Shorea Robusta), sometimes associated with Semal (Bombax manubrium), Asna (Terminalia Termentosa), Dalbergia spp and other species, and Pinus Rosburghi occurring on the higher ridges of the Churia hills, which in places reach at 1800m elevation. Tall coarse two-meter-high elephant grass previously covered much of the Dun valleys has been largely replaced by migration. The tropical zone is Nepal’s richest area for wildlife, with gaurs, buffaloes, four species of deer, tigers, leopards, and other animals found in the forest areas rhinoceros, swamp deer, and hot deer found in the valley grasslands and two species of crocodile and the genetic dolphin inhabiting the rivers. The main birds here are the peacock, jungle fowl, and black partridge, while migratory ducks and geese swarm on the ponds and lakes and big rivers of Terai. The forests of Terai are full of Jasmin, mimosa, acacia reeds, and bamboo tree.

2. Subtropical Mixed Evergreen Zone (1100m to 2400m)

Subtropical Monsoon Zone consists of the Mahabharat Lekh, which rises to a height of about 2400m and comprises the outer wall of the great Himalayan range. The main rivers such as the Karnali, Narayani, and Sapta Koshi flow through this area into the broad plains of the Terai. This is including so-called middle hills, which extend northwards in a somewhat confused maze of ridges and valleys to the foot of the great Himalayas. Among the tree species characteristic of this region are Castenopsis indicia in association with Schima Wallichii, and other species such as Alnus Nepalensis, Acer oblongum, and various species of oak and rhododendron which cover the higher slopes, where deforestation has not taken yet. The orchids clothe the stems of trees and massive climbers smother their heads. Variety and abundance of the flora and fauna increase increasingly with diminishing altitude and increasing luxuriance of the vegetation. This zone is generally poor in wildlife. The only mammals, which are at all widely distributed, are wild boar, barking deer, serow, Ghoral, bears, etc. And varieties of birds are also found in this zone.

3. Temperate Evergreen Zone (2500m to 4000m)

Northward, on the lower slopes and spurs of the great Himalayas, oaks, and pines are the dominant species up to an altitude of about 2400m above found dense conifer forests including Picea, Tusga, Larix, Abies spp, etc. Later on is usually limited to higher elevations with Betula typically marking the upper limit of the tree line. The rhododendron, bamboo, and maples are commonly associated with the coniferous zone at about 3600m - 3900m. The forest's various composition is noticeable with coniferous dominating in the west and ericaceous in the east. Includes the Himalayan bear, serow, goral, barking deer, and wild boar, with Himalayan tahr wildlife sometimes being seen on steep rocky faces above 2400m in this region. The rare red panda is among the more interesting of the mammals found in this zone; it appears to be fairly distributed in suitable areas of the forest above 1800m altitude. The rich and varied fauna of this region includes several spectacular and beautiful pheasants, including Nepal's National bird Danfe (pheasant).

4. Subalpine and Alpine Zone (above 4000m)

Above the tree line, rhododendron, juniper scrub, and other procumbent woody vegetation may extend to about 4200m. It is succeeded by t a tundra-like association of short grasses, sedge mosses, and alpine plants everywhere in sufficient soil. Then it continues up to the lower limit of perpetual snow and ice at about 5100m. The mammalian fauna is sparse and unlikely to include any species other than Himalayan marmots, mouse hare, thar, musk deer, snow leopard, and occasionally blue sheep. In former times, the wild Yak and great Tibetan sheep could also be sighted in this region. Here is possible that a few of them may still be surviving in areas such as Dolpa and Humla. The bird life at such as lammergeyer, snowcock, snow partridge, choughs, and bunting, with redstarts and dippers often seen along the streams and rivulets are finding this zone. Yaks are the only livestock, which thrive at this high elevation. The cheeses prepared out of the milk are edible for months. By the Yak milk, Sherpa people make cheese and other verities. The wonderful unique bio-diversity & an ideal destination must suffice to indicate Nepal's Paradise to nature and wildlife lovers.