Over a horizontal distance of approx. 200 km, Nepal has a wide variety of natural areas, from the monsoon tropical jungle and mountain forest to the high mountain tundra to mountain deserts and snow peaks. 64% of the Nepalese national territory is at an altitude of over 1000 meters, more than 28% even higher than 3000 meters.
In terms of landscape, Nepal is divided into three regions, which run parallel to one another from northwest to southeast. In the south, on the edge of the Ganges plain, the fertile plain of the Terai extends, which is only about 100 m above sea level. To the north of it rise the Himalayan foothills: to the west the Siwalik Mountains and to the east the Mahabharat and Churia-Gati Mountains with an average altitude of 2,500 m. This region is criss-crossed by large long valleys, including the Kathmandu Valley. North of the foothills, the high Himalayas rise to an average height of 4,500 m. Eight of the world’s ten eight-thousanders are located here, including Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world at 8,848 mand the Kanchenjunga, the third highest peak at 8,598 m.
All in Himalayas springing rivers flow into the Ganges. The most important rivers are the Karnali in the west of the country, the Kali Gandaki, which makes its way from the Tibetan highlands into the plains between the peaks of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna, and the Sun Kosi, which unites with the Arun in the east. Nepal has great hydropower potential. The high sediment load of the Nepalese rivers makes the construction of dams and bridges a technical problem: reservoirs fill up with sediment within a few years, the structures can be destroyed by the debris carried along. The Kosi Dam, which was broken in August 2008 triggered a flood disaster.
According to militarynous, the climate in Nepal is characterized by monsoon winds: in winter the northwest monsoon brings cool and dry air from Central Asia, in summer the southeast monsoon brings warm and humid air masses.
In the Terai it is tropical hot, the mean annual temperature here is 25 ° C. In the foothills there is a moderately warm climate, in the Front Himalayas temperate and cool, in the high Himalayas high mountain climate. In the capital Kathmandu, mean values of 10 °C are given for January and 24 °C for July. The annual rainfall is 1,400 mm. In the Terai, further south, up to 2,500 mm are measured. The main rainy season is from June to September. The snow line in the Himalayas is 5,000 to 5,800 meters.
Flora and fauna
In the Terai Plains, in southern Nepal, the original populations of moist monsoon forests, which provide habitat for leopards, tigers, monkeys, rhinos, gaurs and almost 500 species of birds, have been severely depleted. In recent years, large parts of the Terai have been cultivated for the commercial cultivation of sugar cane, rice, wheat, and tobacco. To the north the vegetation changes into evergreen mountain and cloud forest. Mixed forests with oak, maple, pine, birch and rhododendron grow at higher altitudes.
In the mountain regions, agriculture has created an old cultural landscape: rice, corn, wheat and millet are grown on the heavily terraced slopes. The tree line is between 3,700 m and 4,200 m. Up to a height of around 5,000 m there are still alpine mats, lichens and mosses, above which there can be no more vegetation in the ice desert. The forests and the uninhabited high mountain regions of Nepal offer a habitat for many different animal species. In the high mountains there is a diverse bird world (white pheasant, snow vulture, rose-tailed trogon). Musk ox, wild sheep, red panda and snow leopard live in the mountain forests, and they are an endangered species. About 23Animal species are under protection in Nepal.
Nepal has a network of nine national parks (Chitwan, Sagramatha, Bardiya, Langtang, Rara, Shey-Phoksundo, Khaptad, Makalu-Barun and Shivapuri), 11 buffer zones, three wildlife parks (Suklaphanta, Koshi-Tappu and Parsa), three protected areas (Annapurna, Manaslu and Kanchenjunga) and a hunting reserve (Dhorpatan). The protected area of Nepal is around 29,000 square kilometers (19.70 percent of the land area).
The Sagarmatha and Chitwan National Parks are part of the UNESCO World Heritage. The Chitwan became Nepal’s first national park in 1973. It is located in the Chitwan lowlands of the Inner Terai. With an area of 932 square kilometers, the park extends over deciduous mountain foothills and floodplains. It is one of the last refuge areas for endangered species such as the Asiatic rhinoceros and the Bengal tiger. The 1,148 square km Sagramatha National Park is located in northeastern Nepal and is home to the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, crowned. Rhododendron forests, birches, blue and silver firs grow here up to an altitude of 4000 m.
The danger of earthquakes
Nepal is very prone to earthquakes. The capital Kathmandu is close to the interface between the Indian and Eurasian plates. Statistically, Nepal is hit by a violent earthquake every 70 to 80 years.
On January 15, 1934, a quake measuring 8.4 on the Richter scale killed around 8,500 people in the Kathmandu Valley. At that time, however, the city only had around 300,000 residents. Since then, the population in the greater Kathmandu area has multiplied. Most people today live in concrete houses that are not earthquake-proof. There is a lack of investment in protective or preventive measures in Nepal.