Non-timber forests are threatened by deforestation, habitat degradation and unsustainable harvesting. Major threats to some protected areas are grazing all year around, poaching for high value products, illegal timber harvesting and unsustainable tourism. Rangelands are suffering from an enormous grazing pressure and wetland biodiversity is threatened by encroachment of wetland habitat, unsustainable harvesting of wetland resources, industrial pollution, agricultural run-off, the introduction of exotic and invasive species into wetland ecosystems, and siltation. Mountain biodiversity is suffering due to ecological fragility and instability of high mountain environments, deforestation, poor management of natural resources, and inappropriate farming practices (MFSC, 2000).

Agrobiodiversity is under threat due to use of high yielding varieties, destruction of natural habitat, overgrazing, land fragmentation, commercialisation of agriculture and the extension of modern highyielding varieties, indiscriminate use of pesticides, population growth and urbanisation, and changes in farmer’s priorities (MFSC, 2000). More factors for loss of biodiversity include landslide and soil erosion, pollution, fire, overgrazing, introduction of alien species, illegal trade, hunting and smuggling.

A major threat factor to the local environment is the growing Nepalese population. According to the 1991 census, the total population of Nepal was around 18.5 million. In 2000, the population was estimated to be 22 million (MFSC, 2000). More than half (53 per cent) of this population lies under the absolute poverty line and is about to double in the next 26 years (MoPE (a), 2000). Poverty has causal effects on population and vice versa, which contributes to environmental deterioration. Fast growth of the population caused an increase in demand for fuel wood, timber, fodder and land to grow more food (MFSC, 2000). More Details