Forest Type

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Schweinfurth (1957) produced the first vegetation map of the entire Himalayas, and laid the foundations for more detailed work in Nepal by later authors. Stearn (1960) proposed a broad catagorisation of Nepal into three geographic regions: Western Nepal (west of the Karnali River, ca. longitude 83°E), dominated by a western Himalayan flora; Eastern Nepal (east of the Koshi River, ca. 86°30′E), dominated by an eastern Himalayan flora; and Central Nepal (between 83° and 86°30′E), comprising a mixing zone of these two floras. This did not distinguish any altitudinal differences, but was used as the basis for the first comprehensive checklist of the plants of Nepal (Enumeration of the Flowering Plants of Nepal, Hara et al., 1978 et seq.). In contrast zoologists Swan and Leviton (1962) used a system of seven ecological zones based on altitude, but did not differentiate any east-west patterns.

Two landmark publications appeared in 1972; both resulted on many years of fieldwork and the authors combined climatic and phytogeographic regions. These two systems of vegetation classification (Stainton, 1972 and Dobremez, 1972) are widely used today and are outlined below. Other notable contributions to plant ecology and vegetation studies in Nepal have been made by George Meihe (and co workers, 1990 onwards) and Shakya et al. (1997). It should be noted that in all these systems generalizations need to be made as vegetation zones are greatly affected by local conditions, particularly rainfall and aspect. Sometimes the boundaries are abrupt and clear but often they are gradual and intergrade over quite large areas. The vegetation pattern for the whole country is a complex mosaic and the categorization is still open to debate.

Forests types found in Darchula can be divided into five categories viz. subtropical, Hardwood, Mixed forest, Shrub and others. The total forest cover is calculated 72982 ha including subtropical 8217 ha, hardwood forest 28006Ha., mixed forest 26049 ha, mixed forest 26046 ha, shrubs 3644 ha and other 7054 ha (see table). Of this community forest handed over to the communities is 18802.07 ha. Forest species found in Darchula district are Deodar (Cedrus deodara), Banj (Quersus incana), Pine (Pinus wallichiana, P. roxbergii), Sal (Shorea robusta), Tuni (Cedrela toona), Utis (Alnus nepalensis), Simal (Bombex malabericum), Chiuri (Beutia beutiresa), Laligurans (Rhododendron arborium), and Termenilia spp and so on.
Table : Forest and Vegetation types of the District

S.No. Forest Types

Middle Mountain


High Mountain (ha.)

High Himal (ha.)

Total Area

1 Sub Tropical Forest





2 Hardwood Forest





3 Mixed Forest





4 Shrubs





5 Other




The vegetation and forest comprises of sub tropical, temperate, sub alpine and alpine forests within the Api Nampa Conservation Area. Pine and Qurcus forests dominate the vegetation at the lower elevations. Above 3,500m, the forest is dominated with silver fir, birch, rhododendron, and juniper trees. The tree line is at 4,500m, where birch gives way to juniper and rhododendron scrubs. The sub alpine zone represents higher number of flowering plants. The main forest types found in the ANCA are presented below:
(i) Sub tropical Forest
The subtropical forest is found in the lower belt of ANCA below the attitude range of 1600m.  Sal forest is found in four VDCs of the Conservation Area namely Seri, Latinath, Khandesori, and Tapoban. The subtropical forest of ANCA comprises Hill Sal Forest and Shrub land.

(ii)    Temperate Forest (1700m-3000m)
The temperate forest types comprises Western Himali Fir, Hemlok and Oak Forest (Dhari VDC) and Juniperious Forest. The temperate forest species are found in the lower part of the region The main temperate forest species of this region are Oak (Quercus Semecarpifolia), Angari (Lyonia ovalifolia), Bains (Salix spp), Bhote pipal etc.
The Quercus species is the dominant species in the upper mountain zone but former stands of this species like Abies spectabilis have been colonized by Pinus spp. Rhododendron arboreum, R. triflorum, and Taxus baccata, wallichiana are associated with pine at lower altitudes. Shrubs include Pieris Formosa, Cotoneaster microphyllus, R. lepidotum. Vine Parthenocissus Himalayan and Clematis montana are also common and other low altitude trees include maple Acer campbellii and white beam (Sorbus cuspidate).

(iii) Upper Temperate  and Lower Sub Alpine Forests
Upper temperate and Lower Sub Alpine Forest of the region comprises following forest Types:
•    Birch and Rhododendron Forest
•    Fir Hemlok and Oak Forest
•    Lower temperate Oak Forest
•    Pinus Forest
•    Broadleaved Mixed Pinus Forest

Pinus Forest at Brahamdev VDC                                               Taxcus Baccata Forest of Byans VDC

The lower sub-alpine forests above 3,000m altitude represents by blue pine (Pinus wallichiana), silver fir (Abies spectabilis) and fir-juniper (Junipers recur). Upper sub-alpine forest species above 3,600m represents birch-rhododendron forest (Bitola utilize, Rhododendron campanulas and R. campylocarpum).

Fir Hemlok and Oak Forest of Byans VDC                            Broadleaved Mixed Pinus Forest Rapla VDC

(iv) Lower and Upper Alpine Forests
The Lower and Upper Forest types and vegetation of the region are:
•    Upper Grazing area
•    Wet Alpine Shrub area
The lower alpine forest above the timber-line at 3,800-4,000m, represents scrub (Juniperus spp., Rhododendron anthopogon and R. lepidotum); and upper alpine, above 4,500m, represents grassland and dwarf shrubs; and sub-nival Zone with cushion plants from 5,500m to 6,000m. Oak (Qurcus semicarpifolia) was formerly more extensive but now only small area remain (Grenn 1993).

Above 3,000m forms stands with Rhododendron campanulatum or Betula utilis are good sites. Towards the tree line, R. campanulatum is generally dominant. Juniperus indica occurs above 4,000m, where conditions are drier and with dwarf rhododendrons and cotoneasters, shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa var. rigida), willow (Salix sikkimensis) and Cassiope fastigiata.
Deodar Forest of Kuntisau Region                                          Lower Aapine Forest of Byans VDC

In association with the shrub complex there are a variety of herbs as well such as Gentiana prolata, G. stellata, edelweiss (Leontopodium stracheyi, Codonopsis thalictrifolia, and Thalictrum chelidonii), lilies (Lilium nepalense and Notholirion macrophyllum, Fritillaria cirrhosa) and primroses, (Primula denticulate, P. atrodentata, P. wollastonii and P. sikkimensis). The shrub layer diminishes as conditions become cooler and above 5,000m Rhododendron nivale is the sole representative of its genus

Upper Alpine Grazing
Sub Tropical
Birch and Rhododendron Forest
Alpine Scrubs
Fir Hemlock and Oak Forest
Western Fir Hemlock and Oak Forest
Sub Tropical

Hill Sal Forest

Hill Oak and Rhododendron Forest
Shrub Land
Juniperious Forest
Grazing land
Lower Temperate Oak Forest

NTFP found in Api Nampa Conservation Area are : Panchaunle (Dactylorhiza hatagirea), Kutki (Neopicrorhiza scrophulariflora), Yartsagumbu (Cordyceps sinensis), Jatamansi  (Nardostachys grandiflora), Sarpagandha (Rauvolfia serpentine), Sugandhawal (Valeriana jatamansi) and many more. More than 68 types of medicinal plants are recorded from ANCA so far.

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