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Climate 2017, 5(4), 80; doi:10.3390/cli5040080

The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity in Nepal: Current Knowledge, Lacunae, and Opportunities

1
Department of Biology, Queens College, City University of New York, Flushing, NY 11367, USA
2
The Graduate Center, City University of New York, New York, NY 10016, USA
3
Biology Department, City College of New York, The City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
4
Entomology Section, National Museum of the Philippines, Manila 1000, Philippines
5
Department of Civil Engineering and NOAA-CREST, City College of New York, City University of New York, New York, NY 10031, USA
6
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu 44618, Nepal
7
Directorate of Research and Extension, Agriculture and Forestry University, Chitwan 44200, Nepal
8
Rural Sociology and Development Studies Program, Faculty of Agriculture, Agriculture and Forestry University, Chitwan 44200, Nepal
9
Bio-Protection Research Centre (BPRC), Lincoln University, Canterbury 7647, New Zealand
10
Institute for Global Agriculture and Technology Transfer (IGATT), Fort Collins, CO 80523, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 July 2017 / Revised: 24 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 September 2017 / Published: 11 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Impacts and Resilience in the Developing World)
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Abstract

Nepal has an extreme altitudinal range from 60–8850 m with heterogeneous topography and distinct climatic zones. The country is considered a biodiversity hotspot, with nearly a quarter of the land area located in protected areas. Nepal and the surrounding Himalayan region are particularly vulnerable to climate change because of their abrupt ecological and climatic transitions. Tens of millions of people rely on the region’s ecosystem services, and observed and modeled warming trends predict increased climate extremes in the Himalayas. To study the ecological impacts of climate change in Nepal and inform adaptation planning, we review the literature on past, present, and predicted future climatic changes and their impacts on ecological diversity in Nepal. We found few studies focusing on organisms, while research on species and communities was more common. Most studies document or predict species range shifts and changes in community composition. Results of these few investigations highlight major lacunae in research regarding the effects of changing climate on species comprising the Himalayan biota. Further empirical work is needed at all levels of biological organization to build on information regarding direct ecological impacts of climatic changes in the region. Countries face an ever-increasing threat of climate change, and Nepal has strong physiographic, elevational, and climatic gradients that could provide a useful model for studying the effects of climate change on a mountainous, and highly biodiverse, area. View Full-Text
Keywords: biodiversity; ecological impacts; global change; Himalayas; review biodiversity; ecological impacts; global change; Himalayas; review
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bhattacharjee, A.; Anadón, J.D.; Lohman, D.J.; Doleck, T.; Lakhankar, T.; Shrestha, B.B.; Thapa, P.; Devkota, D.; Tiwari, S.; Jha, A.; Siwakoti, M.; Devkota, N.R.; Jha, P.K.; Krakauer, N.Y. The Impact of Climate Change on Biodiversity in Nepal: Current Knowledge, Lacunae, and Opportunities. Climate 2017, 5, 80.

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