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Annapurna Conservation Area

Introduction
The Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) contains some of the world’s highest peaks the world’s deepest valley-the Kali Gandaki River Valley. It is the Nepal’s largest protected area of 7629 sq. km. It was established in 1992. The proposed conservation area encompasses the Annapurna range in Western Nepal. It is bounded to the north by the dry alpine deserts of Mustang and Tibet (China), to the west by the Kali Gandaki River, to the east by Marsyandi Valley and to the south by valleys and foothills north of Pokhara (Sherpa et al., 1986).

The nearest town is Pokhara, some 30 km to the south. Access is by road from Pokhara Nandanda, and from then onwards by foot. The ACA has an entire habitats gradient from sub tropical sal forest to perenial snow harboring 22 different forest types with 1226 plant species including 55 endemics, 30 mammals and 456 birds.

Brief History

  • In 1986 ACAP was implemented by MTNC in Ghandruk as a pilot project covering one VDC with area of 200 km2
  • In 1990, it’s work area had expanded to 16 VDCs with an area of 1500 km2
  • Officially gazetted in 1992 covering 55 VDCs with present area

Objectives

ACAP has three primary objectives

  • To conserve the natural resources of the ACA for the benefit of the present and future generations
  • To bring sustainable social and economic development to the local people
  • To develop tourism in such a way that it will have a minimum negative environmental impact

Features

  • Some of the world’s highest peaks (Annapuran I: 8,091m, Machhapuchhere: 6,993)
  • World’s deepest gorge: Kali Gandaki and one of the world’s highest altitude lake Tilicho
  • Most popular trekking destination (76407 in 2000)
  • Two distinct climatic regions (3000mm annual rainfall in south (cis Himalayas) and <500mm annual rainfall in north (trans Himalayas) within a span of 120 km and altitude of 1000-8000m
  • 22 different forest types
  • A total of 1226 species of plants (1140 species in the cis Himalayas) including 38 Orchid species and 9 Rhododendron species
  • 101 species of mammals including snow leopard, Musk deer, Tibetan Argali, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan fox. 474 species of birds including 38 breeding species of birds at risk in Nepal, all six Himalayan pheasants found in Nepal. 39 species of reptiles and 22 species of amphibians.
  • Nepal’s Largest protected area and first conservation area with the entire habitat gradient from sub tropical sal forest to perennial snow.
  • More than 100,000 inhabitants and more than 10 ethnic groups (Tibeto Burbese: Gurung, Thakali, Bhotia, Ethnic Tibetan and Magar and Indo Aryan: Brahmin, Kshetri, Kami, Damai and Sarki)

How to get there
Annnapurna area conservation is located near Pokhara , a town easily accessible from Kathmandu by air and road .Bus or taxi services are available from Pokhara to Jomsom which is located in the northern part of Annapurna Conservation Area. Alternative route is to reach to Phedi by bus or taxi and walk 1.5 days to reach to Ghandruk via Dhampus -Landruk.Annapurna sanctuary and base camp is located at 6-7 days trek from Ghandruk.

Heritage Significance
The Kangchenjunga Conservation Area (KCA) in the eastern Himalaya comprises some of the most stunning scenery in allof Nepal. Not only does this region host the third highest peak in the world(Mt. Kangchenjunga), but it is also a global hotspot for plant biodiversity. Botanist have identified twenty-three species of rhododendrons growing in the area. In this eastern Himalayan setting, glacial streams cut through high ridges creating remote and steep valleys where traditional farming practices are a way of life.

Tuked within these hidden valleys, one can encounter rich forests that support more than 250 species of birds and endangered wildlife. A few days of walking will lead you to high-elevation pastures where yaks graze languidly and colorful alpne flowers bloom. Throughout the KCA, you will encounter a medley of ethnicities that continue to practice traditional subsistence lifestyles, their cultural and religiouu spractices adding to the area’s ricjh cultural heritage.

Land Use Pattern in ACA

Land Uses Area km2 Percentage
Barren land 3,729.07 48.88
Grazing land 2,306.11 30.23
Shrub land 213.57 2.80
Conifer forest 214.93 2.82
Hardwood forest 679.18 8.90
Mixed forest 205.08 2.69
Agricultural land 243.90 3.20
Orchard 0.93 0.01
Waterbodies 36.23 0.47
Total 7,629.00 100.00

Local Institutions
Acap has been mobilizing the local people of the ACA in its conservation and development initiatives since the project inception in 1986. as a result there is a well developed network of local institutions in place that have formed on a VDC basis, where Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC ) is the primary institution. Under the umbrella of the CAMC, other sub committees are formed as per the need.

Administrative Divisions of ACAP
The Annapurna conservation Area has been divided into 7 Unit Conservation Offices (UCOs) for better and efficient administration and program implementation.

UCOs Area (km2) Population VDCs Ethnic group Focused program
Lomanthang 2567.55 5,700 7 (all from mustang) Loba Biodiversity and cultural heritage conservation
Jomsom 994.50 8,600 9 (all from Mustang Thakali Tourism management
Manang 1914.72 5,400 12 (all from Manang ) Manange Gurung Tourism Management
Ghandruk 807.75 21,000 5 (3 from Kaski and 2 from Myagdi) Gurung, Magar, Kshetri and Bahun Tourism Management
Lwang 503.39 20,000 7 ( all from Kaski) Gurung, Bahun and kshetri Agroforestry
Sikless 458.68 22,000 7 (all from Kaski) Gurung, Bahun and kshetri Integrated agriculture
Bhujung 382.42 20,000 8 (all from lamjung Gurung, Bahun and kshetri Poverty alleviati

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