Nepal told to submit sixth biodiversity report

Kathmandu, December 21

The 13th conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity has urged Nepal to submit its sixth national report by 2018, before the 14th conference of parties scheduled to be held in Egypt.

Director General of the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management Bijaya Raj Poudyal said the government would start preparing the report after it received the CBD format and submit it by 2018. “The 13th conference has expanded the scope of the report by adding fishery, agriculture and tourism under the umbrella of biodiversity,” he said.

Previously forests and other natural phenomena were put under biodiversity umbrella. But the 13th conference equally stressed on promoting fishery, agriculture and tourism. “Not only that, the conference recognised the role of indigenous people and their knowledge,” added Poudyal.

The 13th conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity was organised in Cancun of Mexico from December 4 to 17.

Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Shankar Prasad Bhandari, forest secretary, parliamentarians and representatives from different government agencies had participated in the conference.

According to the fifth national report, a total of 118 ecosystems have been identified in Nepal, including 112 forest ecosystems, four cultivation ecosystems, one water body ecosystem and one glacier/snow/rock ecosystem.

These ecosystems range from the tall grasslands, marshlands and tropical and sub-tropical broadleaf forests along the Tarai and Siwalik hills to the sub-tropical and tropical broadleaf and conifer forests in the middle mountains. Furthermore, there are mixed and conifer forests in the high mountains and alpine meadows above the tree line.

Among the rangeland ecosystems, the tropical savannas and alpine meadows are exceptionally rich in biodiversity. Wetlands in Nepal have very significant ecological significance, as they provide habitat for many threatened and endemic species of flora and fauna and serve as resting places for many migratory and globally threatened birds.

The wetlands also have high cultural and economic significance. Nepal also has a high degree of agro-ecological diversity.

Many species of plants and animals are threatened. These include 55 species of wild mammals and 18 species of trees found in the mountains. Birds are among the most threatened group.

Fourteen bird species have not been recorded in the country for at least 10 years, and the number of threatened, endangered, and critically endangered species have significantly increased between 2004 and 2010.

Birds relying on wetlands that inhabit the tropical and subtropical and lower temperate zones are particularly at risk.