Nepal’s central situation in the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot combined with its extremely wide elevation and climate gradients gives rise to a unique assemblage of species. However, Nepal’s endemic plant species, predominantly found in the high mountain regions, are thought to be seriously affected by predicted climate change and biological invasion. The threat from invasive species to Nepal’s agricultural sector is among the highest in the world, and many natural habitats and internationally protected sites are also under immediate threat from the spread of alien plant species.
This project aims to mobilize occurrence data of alien and endemic plant species to fill the geographical gaps in biodiversity information and inform policy for national conservation priorities. Utilizing historic data held by the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratory and Tribhuvan University Central Herbarium in Kathmandu, Nepal, more than 9,000 invasive, naturalized and endemic plant species will be digitized. In addition to adding occurrence datasets to GBIF, the project will produce accompanying data papers in peer-reviewed journals. Through these outputs, a catalogue of alien and endemic plant species of Nepal will be prepared with the combined goal to achieve greater accessibility of Nepalese biodiversity information.
Invasion of natural ecosystem by Lantana camara (Verbenaceae), a pervasive species present in western Nepal. Photo by Bharat Babu Shrestha.