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Botany & Zoology Research

Nepal is a land of geographical extremes, ranging from near sea- level elevations in the southern Terai to the world’s highest mountains. The country contains a variety of ecosystems, treeless sub – alpine pastures and dense dir dorests of the high valleys, oak and Rhododendron woods of the middle hill and tall sal forests of the south. Along the southern borders of Nepal are preserved much of the lowland jungles and grasslands that once covered this part of the sub continent. Here one can see birds and mammals found nowhere else. Although animal habitat has been somewhat depleted as a result of agriculture, deforestation and other causes, through Nepal’s extensive and effective park and reserve system, the country still has more varied flora and fauna than any other area in Asia.    

Tropical Deciduous Forest

This includes the Terai plains and the broad flat valleys or Duns found between hill ranges. The dominant tree species of this area are Sal (Shorea ronusta), sometimes associated with Semal (Bombax malabricum), Asna (terminalia termentosa), Dalleergia spp, and other species and Pinus roxburghi occurring on the higher ridges of the Churia hills, which is places reach an altitude of 1800m. Tall coarse two meter high elephants grass originally covered much of the Dun Valleys, but has now been largely replaced by agricultural settlements. This tropical zone is the area for wildlife, with gaurs, wild buffalos. Four species of deer, tiger, leopard, and often other animals. Rhinoceros, swamp deer and hog deer are found on the grasslands and two species of crocodiles and the gigantic dolphin inhabit the rivers.  

Subtropical Mixed Evergreen Forest

This includes the Mahabharat Lekh which rises to the height of about 2400m and comprises of the outer wall of the Himalayan range. Great rivers such as the Karnali, narayani, and Sapta Kosi flow through this area into the plains of the Terai. This zone also includes the so called “middle hills”, which extends northward in a somewhat confused maze of ridges and valley to the foot of great Himalaya. Among the tree species such as characteristic of the region are Castenopsis indica in association with Sschima wallichi, and other species such as Alnus nepalensis. Acer oblongum and various specie sof oaks and Rhododendron, which cover the higher slopes where deforestation has not taken place yet. This sone is generally poor in wildlife. The only mammal which are at a widely distributed are wild boar, barking deer, serow, ghoral and bear. Different varieties of birds are found in the region.  

Terminal Evergreen Forest, Northward

On the lower slopes and spurs of the Green Himalaya, oaks and pines are the dominant species upto an altitude of about 2400m. Above these are found dense conifer forests of Picea. Tsuga, Larix, and Betula. Abies and Betula are usually confined to higher elevations, with Betula making the upper limit of the three line. At about 3600 to 3900m rhododendron, bamboo, and maples commonly mingle with the coniferous, predominating the west and ericaceous in the east. The wildlife of this region includes the Himalayan bear, serow, ghoral, barking deer, wild boar, with the Himalayan tahr sometimes being seen on the steep rocky faces above 2400m. The red panda is among the more interesting of the smaller mammals found in the zone. It appears to be fairly well, distributed in suitable areas of the forests above 1800m The rich and varied avifauna of this region includes several spectacular and beautiful pheasants, including the Damphe pheasant Nepal’s national bird.  

Subalpine and Alpine zones

Above the tree line, rhododendron, juniper, scrub, and other procumbent, woody vegetation may extend to about 4200m where they are then succeeded by tundra – like associations of short grasses, sedge mosses and alpine plants wherever there is sufficient soil. This continues up to the lower limit of the perpetual snow and ice above 5100m. The mammals fauna is sparse and unlikely to include any species other than the Himalayan marmot, mouse hare, tahr, 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 and it’s possible that a few may still be surviving in the areas scuh as Dolpa and Humla. The bird life at these altitudes includes several interesting species as the lammergeyer, snowcock, snowpartridge, chough, and bunting, with redstarts and dippers often seen along the streams and rivulets.

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