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Nepal has an extreme altitudinal range from 60–8850m 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.


This article was originally published in Climate, available at doi:10.3390/cli5040080.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license.



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