Tree of the Year Nepal is affiliated to the Asian Tree of the Year. It is a continent wide competition with a focus on starting a conversation amongst citizens on the importance of protecting trees and the importance to preserving Asian biodiversity. Nepal is at crucial cross roads in its development, having to balance the need for industrial growth and economic progress while maintaining crucial aspects of social and environmental sustainability. Our aim is to create and enhance a nationwide conversation on the importance of recognizing and protecting our vial trees.
Asian Tree of the Year is organized by the Carbon Consulting Company (CCC), South Asia's foremost provider in integrated sustainability services. Asia faces a tricky crossroad- the need to balance economic development whilst maintaining its unique forest coverage. Our contest aims to highlight trees which are of special importance to individuals and communities to kick start a conversation about the necessity of safeguarding our biodiversity heritage.
The contest originated with the Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation and is the main organizer of the European Tree of the Year. The aim is to empower the community in environmental and local heritage protection as an important part of European biodiversity. Since 2011, the contest has had 14 participating countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, England, Estonia, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Scotland, Slovakia, Spain and Wales.
Nepal is a landlocked country situated in the central part of the Himalayas between India and China. It has tremendous geographic diversity that ranges from tropical alluvial plains in the south to the very rugged and permanently snow and ice covered Himalayan Mountains in the north. The country can be divided into five major physiographic zones, namely, from north to south, the High Himal, High Mountains, Middle Mountains, Siwalik Hills and Terai Plains. All five zones extend lengthwise from east to west across the country. The climate varies from alpine cold semi-desert type in the trans-Himalayan zone to tropical humid type in the tropical lowlands in the south.
The economy of Nepal is very much dependent on the use of natural resources. Biodiversity is closely linked to the livelihoods and economic well-being of most Nepalese people. The subject relates to almost every aspect of Nepalese life, including agricultural productivity, food security, human health and nutrition, indigenous knowledge, gender equality, culture, climate, water resources and aesthetic value to the society. The country’s biodiversity is also an important source of revenue.
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.
The country occupies about 0.1 percent of global area, but harbors 3.2 percent and 1.1 percent of the world’s known flora and fauna, respectively
Many species of plants and animals are threatened. This includes 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 ten years, and the number of Threatened, Endangered, and Critically Endangered species significantly increased between 2004 and 2010. Birds relying on wetlands that inhabit the tropical and subtropical and lower temperate zones are particularly at risk. Given that 56% of Nepal’s nationally threatened bird species inhabit lowland forests where forest loss and degradation is high, this is a worrying trend. Among the known species of domestic animals, achhami cattle (Bos indicus) and lampuchhre sheep (Capra ovis) are near endangered. Very limited information exists regarding the genetic diversity of specific species in Nepal. Nine species of plants, 55 mammals, 149 birds, 64 herpetofauna, and 21 fish are included in the IUCN Red List. Similarly, 15 groups and species of plants, 52 mammals, 108 birds and 19 reptiles and three insects have been listed in the CITES Appendices. Several species of plants and animals, including 27 mammals, nine birds, 14 angiosperms, and four gymnosperms have been declared as protected species by the government.
Meaningful participation of local communities in the management of natural resources is a key to ensuring success and sustainability of program interventions.
In this regard the initiative of European Tree of the Year and Asian Tree of the Year is praiseworthy that makes us support their footsteps through Tree of the Year Nepal.
Source: NEPAL FIFTH NATIONAL REPORT TO CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation