About the eastern Himalayas
This is a place of breath-taking beauty, challenging terrain, and a huge variety of wildlife and habitats. It’s a tapestry of temperate forest, sub-tropical jungle, savannah and rich alpine meadows; as well as daunting high mountain snowfields and glaciers.
One of the region’s jewels is the Terai Arc Landscape, a strip of low lying forest and grassland almost 50,000 sq km that runs along the border between India and Nepal. It contains no fewer than 15 protected areas, including Nepal’s oldest national park, Chitwan, which was established in 1973 and India’s famous Corbett tiger reserve which set up in 1936.
The eastern Himalayas are home to iconic species such as the Asian elephant, tiger and greater one-horned rhino. In fact, the region is the only place on Earth you can find these species living together in the wild. The higher mountains are home to the elusive snow leopard.
Discover how you can help protect this amazing place.
Why the eastern Himalayas matter
It’s not just an important region for its natural wonders and rare wildlife. A lot of the local people’s traditions, lifestyles and livelihoods have been shaped by the environment here. It’s an economically poor part of the world, where many communities live in isolation and are deeply dependent on natural resources.
Farmers need grasslands to graze livestock and grow crops, and families fuel their homes using firewood from the forests. Some herbal crops grown here are highly valued, including mentha and chamomile, and medicinal plants such as chiraito.
The Himalayas also contain more ice and permafrost than anywhere outside the polar regions – it’s sometimes referred to as the ‘third pole’. Glaciers and snow-capped peaks here are the source of several of Asia’s great rivers, including the Yangtze, Indus and Ganges. People throughout Asia depend on these vast stores of fresh water for domestic and industrial use, agriculture and power generation.