Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP) is named after Mt. Kanchenjunga (8,586m) - the second-highest mountain in Nepal and the third-highest in the world. Kanchenjunga was designated as a conservation area in March 1998. It covers an area of 2035 sq. km. in Taplejung district, which lies in the northeast corner of Nepal.
Taplejung district is also renowned for high peaks (eleven peaks higher than 7,000 m) and glaciers. The conservation area with unique mountain ecosystems is envisioned as a tri-national peace park with the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) of China to the north and Sikkim, India, in the east. Sikkim already has Khangchenzonga National Park adjoining KCA whereas the extension of Qomolungma Nature Reserve in TAR, to cover the land bordering KCA, is in progress.
In April 1997, the Government of Nepal declared the Kanchenjunga region as a Gift to the Earth as part of WWF’s Living Planet Campaign 2000.
How to get there?
Kathmandu - Suketar by air Illam - Phidim - Taplejung Bazar by bus.
Heritage Significance of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the eastern Himalayas comprises some of the most stunning scenery in all of Nepal. Not only does this region host the third-highest peak in the world (Mt. Kangchenjunga), but it is also a global hotspot for plant biodiversity. Botanist has identified twenty-three species of rhododendrons growing in the area. In this eastern Himalayan setting, glacial streams cut through high ridges creating remote and steep valleys where traditional farming practices are a way of life. Tucked within these hidden valleys, one can encounter rich forests that support more than 250 species of birds and endangered wildlife. A few days of walking will lead you to high-elevation pastures where yaks graze languidly and colorful alpine flowers bloom. Throughout the KCA, you will encounter a medley of ethnicities that continue to practice traditional subsistence lifestyles, their cultural and religious practices adding to the area's rich cultural heritage.
Vegetation of Kanchenjunga Conservation Area
Subtropical Evergreen Forest: 800-1,200m Evergreen tree species characterized by Schima wallichii, Engelhardtia spicata, and Castanopsis indica. However, much of the original forests have been converted to agricultural land. Lower Temperate Forest: 1,200-2,500m. Also, it is known as the Lower Temperate Mixed Broadleaf Forest. Home to broadleaf deciduous trees represented by Quercus, Castanopsis, Rhododendron arboretum, and some members of the laurel family. Trees shed their leaves in the spring as a result of drought stress. Upper Temperate Forest: 2,500-3,500m. Also called Upper Temperate Mixed Forest or Temeperate Cloud Forest. Floristic influences from both lower and higher zones. Here, deciduous oaks, maples, laurels, and branches intersperse with evergreen firs, magnolias, junipers, and rhododendrons. Most trees are deciduous. Trees are covered in mosses and epiphytic plants due to the high moister content in this zone. Daphe Bholua ( locally known as Lokta ) is harvested from these forests. Sub-alpine Zone: 3, 500-3,900m. Mostly evergreen conifers interspersed with a few cold-hardy deciduous species. South-facing slopes are usually tree-less or contain pure stands of stunned rhododendrons. North-facing slopes have juniper, fir, willow, birch, and rhododendrons. In Ghunsa Valley, look out for extensive stands of the spectacular Himalayan larches (Larix griffithiana) that turn the hillsides a golden-yellow in the fall.
Most Popular Trekking List of Kanchenjunga Region
- Kanchenjunga Circuit Trek -17 Days
- Kanchenjunga Base Camp Trek -22 Days
- Kanchenjunga South Base Camp Trek -17 Days
Alpine Zone: 3,900-4,600m. Woody vegetation in this zone of moist alpine scrub consists of stunned junipers, roses, rhododendron, gentian, and saxifrage abound. Hardy alpine grasses include Carex, Juncus, and Poa. Look out for herds of blue sheep foraging on hillsides above the treeline. Perhaps, you may see signs of snow leopards that prey on these she.