Annapurna Conservation Area


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

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.

Annapurna Conservation Area Project

The project launched in 1986 as a pilot program, the objective of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project is to integrate the biodiversity conservation and community. ACAP is the first protected area that has allowed local residents to live within the boundaries and maintain their traditional rights and access to the use of natural resources.

The Annapurna Conservation Area Project has completed the preparation of the Management Plan. The Plan focuses on building local institutions to carry out ACAP’s activities. Moreover, it focuses on the withdrawal of the King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation in the future. Local people themselves will mange ACA with minimal interventions from the government or NGOs such as the KMTNC. With the application of participatory approach, the main ACAP activities include natural resources conservation program, conservation and extension program, sustainable community development program, alternative energy program, and agricultural development program. Other areas of focus include programs such as livestock development, sustainable tourism management, motivating women in conservation and development, cultural heritage conservation, and reproductive health.

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