25.4% —or about 3,636,000 hectares—of Nepal is forested. Of this, 9.6% —or roughly 349,000 hectares—is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse form of forest.

Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2000, Nepal lost an average of 91,700 hectares of forest per year. The amounts to an average annual deforestation rate of 1.90%. Between 2000 and 2005, the rate of forest change decreased by 28.9% to 1.35% per annum. In total, between 1990 and 2005, Nepal lost 24.5% of its forest cover, or around 1,181,000 hectares. Nepal lost -42,000 hectares—0—of its primary forest cover during that time. Deforestation rates of primary cover have decreased 10.7% since the close of the 1990s. Measuring the total rate of habitat conversion (defined as change in forest area plus change in woodland area minus net plantation expansion) for the 1990-2005 interval, Nepal lost 7.9% of its forest and woodland habitat.

Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Nepal has some 1240 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Of these, 2.9% are endemic, meaning they exist in no other country, and 5.6% are threatened. Nepal is home to at least 6973 species of vascular plants, of which 4.5% are endemic. 7.6% of Nepal is protected under IUCN categories I-V.

Nepal Environmental profile | Nepal pictures


Nepal: Forest Cover, 2005
Total Land Area (ha)14,300,000
Total Forest Area (ha)3,636,000
Percent Forest Cover25.43%
Primary Forest Cover (ha)349,000
Primary Forest, % total forest9.60%
Primary Forest, % total land2.44%
Other wooded land (ha)1,897,000

Nepal : Forest types
Tropical (% forest area)58%
Subtropical (% forest area)42%
Temperate (% forest area)0%
Boreal/polar (% forest area)0%

Nepal: Breakdown of forest types, 2005
Primary forest (ha | %)349,0009.6%
Modified natural (ha | %)384,00010.6%
Semi-natural (ha | %)2,850,00078.4%
Production plantation (ha | %)43,0001.2%
Production plantation (ha | %)10,0000.3%

Nepal: Change in Forest Cover
Forest 1990 (ha)4,817,000
Forest 2000 (ha)3,900,000
Forest 2005 (ha)3,636,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(91,700)-1.90%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(52,800)-1.35%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(1,181,000)-24.52%
Change in rate (%)-28.88%
Primary 1990 (ha)391,000
Primary 2000 (ha)384,000
Primary 2005 (ha)349,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(700)-0.18%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(7,000)-1.82%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(42,000)-10.74%
Change in rate (%)918.23%
Other 1990 (ha)1,180,000
Other 2000 (ha)1,753,000
Other 2005 (ha)1,897,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)57,3004.86%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)28,8001.64%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)717,00060.76%
Change in rate (%)-66.17%
Other 1990 (ha)49,000
Other 2000 (ha)52,000
Other 2005 (ha)53,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)3000.61%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)2000.38%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)4,0008.16%
Change in rate (%)-37.18%
Forest area+Wooded Area-Plantations
Other 1990 (ha)5,948,000
Other 2000 (ha)5,601,000
Other 2005 (ha)5,480,000
Annual Change 1990-2000 (ha | %)(34,700)-0.58%
Annual Change 2000-2005 (ha | %)(24,200)-0.43%
Total Change 1990-2005 (ha | %)(468,000)-7.87%
Change in rate (%)-25.94%

Nepal: Primary
Primary or "old-growth" vegetation
Primary Forest 2005 (ha)349,000
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)-
Other primary wooded land 2005 (ha)349,000
Undisturbed vegetation 2005 (% land area)2.44%

Nepal: Forest designation
Ownership of forest land, 2000
Public (%)99.9%
Private (%)0.1%
Other (%)-
Ownership of other wooded land, 2000
Public (%)100.0%
Private (%)-
Other (%)-
Designated functions of forest – primary function 2005
Production (%)5.1%
Protection (%)12.1%
Conservation (%)21.4%
Social Services (%)-
Multiple Services (%)14.7%
None of Unknown (%)46.8%

Nepal: Disturbances affecting forest land 2000
Forest Area annually affected by
Fire (%)10.26%
Insects (ha)-
Diseases (ha)0.00%
Other (ha)-

Nepal: Protected areas
Protected areas
Biosphere reserves, 2005
Wetlands of international importance (Ramsar sites), 20054
World Heritage sites, 20044
Protected Areas: IUCN categories I-V, percent of total land7.6%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories Ia, Ib, and II, extent, percent of total land6.99%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories III, IV, and V, percent of total land, 20040.67%
Protected Areas: IUCN categories VI and other, percent of total land, 200410.44%

Nepal: Biodiversity - Wildlife
total species50
endemic species13
threatened species3
total species864
endemic species8
threatened species31
total species203
endemic species4
threatened species29
total species123
endemic species11
threatened species6
Wildlife diversity
total species1240
endemic species36
threatened species69

Nepal: Biodiversity - Plants
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Growing stock composition
3 most common species
% of total growing stock
Number of Native tree species
Native tree species225
Number of tree species in IUCN red list
Critically Endangered0
Vascular Plant Species, 2004
Number endemic315
Number of Threatened Plant Species, 2004
Species threatened7

Nepal: Value of forests
Biomass stock in forest, 2005
Above-ground biomass (M t)718
Below-ground biomass (M t)251
Dead wood (M t)145
Total (M t)1,114
Carbon stock in forest, 2005
Carbon in above-ground biomass (M t)359
Carbon in below-ground biomass (M t)126
Carbon in dead wood (M t)73
Carbon in litter (M t)13
Soil carbon (M t)326
Change in growing stock 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate (1000 cubic m/yr)
Growing stock per hectare 1990 - 2005
Annual change rate ( cubic m/ha per yr)
Wood removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (1000 cubic m)67
Wood fuel (1000 cubic m)52
Total wood removal 2005 (1000 cubic m)119
Total wood removal 2005 (% of growing stock)n.s.
Plant products 2005
Food (t)-
Fodder (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Raw material for utensils, handicrafts & construction (t)-
Ornamental plants (t)-
Exudates (t)-
Other plant products (t)-
Animal products 2005
Living animals (units)-
Hides, skins and trophies (units)-
Wild honey and bee-wax (t)-
Bush meat (t)-
Raw material for medicine and aromatic products (t)-
Raw material for colorants and dyes (t)-
Other edible animal products (t)-
Other non-edible animal products (t)-
Value of wood and non-wood forest product removal 2005
Industrial roundwood (US$)$5,610,000
Wood fuel (US$)-
Non-wood forest products (US$)-
Total value (US$)$5,610,000
Total value ($USD/ha)$2
Employment in forestry 2000
Total people employed110,000

Nepal : Production, trade and consumption of forest products, 2002
Woodfuel ('000 cubic m), 2002
Industrial roundwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Sawnwood ('000 cubic m), 2002
Wood-based panels ('000 cubic m), 2002
Pulp for paper ('000 metric tons), 2002
Paper and paperboard ('000 metric tons), 2002
Nepal: Environment
Environment - current issuesdeforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
Environment - international agreementsparty to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Natural hazardssevere thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons

Nepal: Land use / Resources
Land use (%)arable land: 21.68%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 77.68% (2001)
Natural resourcesquartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore

Nepal: Economy
Economy - overview:Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with 40% of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 40% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns in the wake of the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
GDP - per capita$1,500 (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate (%)2.5% (2005 est.)
Agriculture - productsrice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
GDP - composition by sector (%)agriculture: 40%, industry: 20%, services: 40% (2002 est.)
Industries tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production
Economic aid - recipient$424 million (FY00/01)
Debt - external$2.7 billion (2001)
Population below poverty line (%)42% (1995-96)
Labor force - by occupation (%)agriculture 81%, industry 3%, services 16%

Nepal: Population / Demographics
Population (July 2005)27,676,547
Population growth rate (%) (2005)2.20%
Population density (people/sq km) (2005)202.3
Percent rural (2003)85.0%
Median age (years)total: 20.07 years
Total fertility rate (children born/woman)4.19 (2005 est.)
Ethnic groups (%)Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)

Largest Cities in Nepal

Cities and urban areas in Nepal with population over 100,000 All figures are estimates for 2002.

CityCountryCity PopulationUrban Area Population

 Environment, Land use / Resources, Economy, Population / Demographics, Infrastructure, Health -- CIA World Factbook, 2005
 Forest Cover, Forest types, Breakdown of forest types, Change in Forest Cover, Primary forests, Forest designation, Disturbances affecting forest land, Value of forests, Production, trade and consumption of forest products -- The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS's Global Forest Resources Assessment (2005) and the State of the World’s Forests (2005, 2003, 2001)
 Protected Areas, Plant and animal biodiversity -- United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). 2004. World Database on Protected Areas.
 Biosphere reservers -- United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) - Man and Biosphere Program. 2004. UNESCO - MAB Biosphere Reserves Directory.
 RAMSAR sites -- The Bureau of the Convention on Wetlands . 2005. The Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
 World Resources Institute's EarthTrends web site
 The 2004 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
 Population Data -- United Nations Population Fund
 With additional analysis by Rhett Butler of

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