Climate Change Impacts on the Biodiversity of the Terai Arc Landscape and the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape
WWF’s report assesses the expected impacts of climate change on forest vegetation in Nepal, with a focus on the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) and the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL), to help guide conservation planning.
The Eastern Himalayas are a region of global importance for biodiversity, from the terai-duar grasslands and savannas at the base of the Himalayas to the alpine grasslands at the top. These landscapes have been heavily converted, fragmented, and degraded with the result that many species are under threat from local extinction. This degradation also affects local communities, which heavily depend on sustainable water sources.
The IPCC projects that climate change in South Asia will lead to a 3-4°C increase in annual temperatures by 2080-2099 under a medium-high emissions scenario. Shifts in vegetation, species extinctions and changes to ecosystem service delivery are expected, with consequential cascading, downstream impacts on human livelihoods and lives.
In Nepal, annual precipitation is rising and glacier melt and retreat have been documented. The WWF study found that most lower and mid-hill forests are vulnerable to climate change, while the upper montane and subalpine forests will be more climate resilient.