Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services in the Hindu Kush Himalaya


  • Eklabya Sharma International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Nakul Chettri International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal



Mountains, Global Biodiversity Hotspot, Landscape approach, Regional Cooperation.


With 22% global land surface area, the mountains ecosystem is home to 13%
of the total human populations. Evolved as a unique ecosystem, the mountain
adds value with diverse ecosystems; tradition and culture as well as ecosys-
tem services for socio-economic development in the mountain areas and
beyond. As it caters half of the humanity with its diverse types of ecosystem
services, the realization of its significance are still limited in national, regional
and global discourses. In the conservation front, there has been a significant
progress in the concept and practices from species focussed interventions to
habitat and ecosystem/landscape conservation approaches. The Hindu Kush
Himalaya (HKH), known as the highest mountain ecosystems in the world is
also the water tower for the region often referred as the third pole. This unique
ecosystem is an important repository of biological and cultural diversities and
source of varied ecosystems services to 240 million people living within and
about a one third of global population living downstream. The region has
been in spotlight for being part of the 36 ‘Global Biodiversity Hotspot’ as
well as climate change hotspot. However, our understanding the dynamics of
changing landscapes and climate and its linkage to people, mostly challenged
by poverty are limited. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Devel-
opment (ICIMOD), an inter-governmental regional knowledge and enabling centre, has been instrumental in developing knowledge about the dynam-
ics of these fragile ecosystems and support its regional member countries
through science based integrated approaches. Since its inception, ICIMOD
has been engaged in developing knowledge and supporting policies for moun-
tain development focusing on socio-economic, ecological and environmental
dimensions. In this paper, we present the retrospect of our understanding
and learnings in the HKH through transboundary landscape management
and regional cooperation mostly focused on conservation of biodiversity and
ecosystem services perspectives. The paper reflects on changing paradigm
and complex process for strengthening regional cooperation in the HKH.


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Author Biographies

Eklabya Sharma, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal

Eklabya Sharma is Vice Chancellor at TERI University of Advance Studies
since April 2021. Before joining the University, Dr Sharma was the Deputy
Director General of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Develop-
ment (ICIMOD), an intergovernmental regional knowledge centre based in Kathmandu. Dr Sharma has over 35 years of experience in developing, man-
aging, and implementing programmes on sustainable mountain development
in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. His major contributions are in mountain ecosys-
tem studies and ecosystem management, biodiversity conservation, climate
change impact assessments, and adaptation and resilience. PhD in Botany,
Dr Sharma is the recipient of many prestigious national and international
awards including the Eminent Scientist Award from the Government of India
and Excellence Award from the Government of Sikkim. He has authored
more than 200 publications in eminent international journals.

Nakul Chettri, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu, Nepal

Nakul Chettri is the Regional Programme Manager for Transboundary
Landscapes at ICIMOD. He oversees the flagship transboundary land-
scape programme by providing strategic direction and management to
four transboundary landscapes and REDD+ initiatives across the Hindu
Kush Himalaya. With designated expertise as Sr. Biodiversity Specialists,
Dr Chettri has more than 20 years of experience in biodiversity conser-
vation, landscape management, ecosystem services, climate change impact
assessment, biodiversity informatics, and upscaling and promotion of trans-
boundary landscapes. With PhD in Zoology from University of North Bengal,
India, Dr Chettri has been assigned for major biodiversity portfolio of
ICIMOD including as focal person for Convention on Biological Diversity,
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem
Services among others and contributed in number of global assessment
reports including the Global Assessment of IPBES. Before joining ICIMOD,
Dr Chettri served as a Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology
and the Environment in its Eastern Himalayan Programme. He has so far
published 60+ peer review journal articles in international journals, 52 books,
24 book chapters and more than 25 popular articles. Dr Chettri has PhD and
MSc in Zoology from North Bengal University, India.


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How to Cite

Sharma, E., & Chettri, N. (2021). Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services in the Hindu Kush Himalaya. Journal of Graphic Era University, 9(1), 1–18.