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Protecting the Forests of Nepal

Nepal is often romanticized as a mythical paradise. Its towering peaks and secluded valleys have inspired people for centuries. Yet it is a fragile place that is facing many challenges – one of the biggest being climate change. Nepal is among the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world.

To help address this issue, WWF and several other organizations launched a new initiative called Hariyo Ban on November 8, 2011. Meaning “green forests” in Nepali, the project is funded through a $30 million USAID grant.

The goal of this five-year project is to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change and threats to biodiversity in Nepal. Our approach includes:

  • Effectively managing the landscape, especially through reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) readiness
  • Increasing the ability of people and ecological communities to adapt to climate change impacts

Hariyo Ban will be implemented by WWF, CARE, National Trust for Nature Conservation and the Federation of Community Forest Users Group Nepal in two landscapes:

  • The Terai Arc Landscape, located in southern Nepal, is home to tigers, rhinos and elephants. More than 7 million people live here. It boasts the world’s tallest grasslands and some of the best-known national parks. Its fertile ground has also made it the “rice bowl” of the country.
  • The Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape ties the high Himalayas to the Terai. Within the newly minted landscape lie valuable watersheds that support a rich variety of wildlife, including key areas for snow leopards, red pandas and migratory birds. This landscape also harbors a wide variety of ethnic groups.

The project builds on a long-running relationship between WWF and USAID, which have been active in Nepal for several decades. For WWF, this project also marks a return to the world famous Annapurna Conservation Area, which was created through the pioneering efforts of the late Mingma Sherpa and Dr. Chandra Gurung, both of WWF.

“This ambitious project recognizes that forests are the truly wealth of Nepal, as forests not only support the livelihoods of millions of people and provide a safe haven for endangered species but also are vital to combat the impacts of climate change.”
Judy Oglethorpe
WWF, Chief of Party, Hariyo Ban Program