Composition of forests and vegetation in the Kailash Sacred Landscape, Nepal

  • Ripu Mardhan KunwarEmail author
  • Maria Fadiman
  • Tobin Hindle
  • Madan Krishna Suwal
  • Yagya Prasad Adhikari
  • Kedar Baral
  • Rainer Bussmann
Original Paper


A total of 141 quadrats were sampled using stratified random sampling to study forest, environment and human interactions along an elevation gradient 1800 to 3665 m at the remote Kailash Sacred Landscape, Nepal. Eight forest types were identified, including Laurel-Oak to Rhododendron to Blue pine, comprising 191 species including 60 useful from 166 genera and 87 families. The environmental variables elevation, slope, and temperature were significant (p < 0.001) in determining the composition and distribution of forest types. Records of large numbers of useful plants along with diverse forest and vegetation types suggest a strong association between the culture of local villages and nature conservation. Due to changes in climate, socio-culture and land-use, forest degradation is expected to accelerate, thus forcing government and indigenous community forest management measures to acknowledge human, cultural and environmental variables for sustainable forest management.


Phyto-sociological assessment Environmental factors Forest types Culture Kailash Sacred Landscape Nepal 



Author Ripu M Kunwar is thankful to the Rufford Foundation, UK (Grant # 21198-2, 25296-B) and FAU Dissertation Year Support Grant 2018 (GT-001801) for providing support for fieldwork. The authors are grateful to the communities who participated in the fieldwork and dedicated their invaluable time. Laxmi Mahat, Shiv Bhatta, Prem Bhat, Hira Dhami, Prabhat Sapkota and Sanjay Tiwari are recognized for their assistance in field work, and Arjun Adhikari, Shishir Paudel, Keshav Bhattarai, Tulasi Acharya, Chris LeBoa, Bhagawat Rimal and Robbie Hart for helping with data analysis, editing drafts and making graphs. The authors express thanks to anonymous reviewers for their critical remarks on earlier versions of this paper.

Supplementary material

11676_2019_987_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (XLSX 40 kb)


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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ripu Mardhan Kunwar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Maria Fadiman
    • 1
  • Tobin Hindle
    • 1
  • Madan Krishna Suwal
    • 2
  • Yagya Prasad Adhikari
    • 3
  • Kedar Baral
    • 4
  • Rainer Bussmann
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of GeosciencesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of BiogeographyUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany
  4. 4.Department of ForestsKathmanduNepal
  5. 5.Ilia State UniversityTbilisiRepublic of Georgia

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