International Biological Diversity Day marked

Kathmandu, May 22

The Ministry of Forests and Environment on the occasion of International Biological Diversity Day today claimed that Nepal had achieved significant progress in conserving biodiversity since it signed the Convention on Biological Diversity in the UN General Assembly in 1993.

As per the CBD, each member country should introduce conservation programmes and allocating 17 per cent of total land area for protection of biodiversity.

The Ministry of Forests and Environment stated that 23.39 per cent of total land area is occupied by the various national parks and conservation areas in the country.

According to secretary at the MoFE  Biswonath Oli, conservation areas have helped protect thousands of species of flora and fauna and maintain ecological balance.

There are 12 national parks, one wildlife reserve, one hunting reserve,  six conservation areas, 13 buffer zones  and 10 Ramsar sites in the country.

Similarly, six departments — Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Department of Forests, Department of Forest Research and Survey, Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management, Department of Plant Resources, and Department of Environment are working to conserve biodiversity in the country.

A book titled ‘25 Years of Achievement on Biodiversity Conservation in Nepal’ was also released by the Ministry of Forests and Environment. As per the book, a total of 118 ecosystems and 11 bio-climatic zones are located in the country.

According to the book, Nepal is home to 3.2 per cent and 1.1 per cent of world’s known flora and fauna respectively.

There are 11,971 kinds of flora species and 11,861 kinds of fauna species. Among these, there are 284 kinds of endemic flowing plants that are found only in the country and 160 kinds of animal species are found only in Nepal, including a mammal called Himalayan field mouse and a bird species called Kandevyakur (Spiny Babbler).

Out of the total faunas, there are 208 species of mammals, 867 species of birds, 123 species of reptiles, 651 species of butterflies, 175 species of spiders and so on. Of which, 54 species of wild mammals and 18 species of trees are listed as endangered species.

Similarly, forest and shrub land area cover almost 45 per cent of total land area of the country. The forest area is five per cent higher than envisioned by the Forest Policy-2015, which requires 40 per cent forest cover. Of the total forest area, 67.80 per cent of forest lies in mid-mountainous area, 32.25 in high mountainous area, 23.04 per cent in Chure area and 6.90 per cent in the Tarai.

The book has also stated that the research carried out from 2001 to 2010 indicated that forests are being cleared at an alarming rate of 0.44 per cent per annum in the Tarai region.

Secretary Oli said, “Biodiversity is maintained well in the country due to active participation of local communities in specific programmes like species conservation, ecology conservation and landscape conservation.” He also said that they had also been successful in protecting animals like tigers, elephants and rhinoceros.