Protected Area Analysis

Growth in number and area coverage of protected areas (1918 to 2007)

The number of protected areas in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas has grown significantly from less than 100 in 1977 to 437 in 2007 (Note: there are 488 in total, but 51 protected areas are not included in this figure due to unavailability of their date of establishment). Area coverage has also significantly increased from nearly 39,000 sq. km in 1977 to more than 1.6 million sq. km in 2007. These figures demonstrate the considerable contribution of the eight countries of the region towards meeting the global commitment for conservation.

Bhutan has added the Wangchuck Centennial Park to their list of protected areas. The park was designated and launched on 12 December 2008 as a tribute to the visionary leadership of Bhutan by the Wangchuck dynasty.

For detail see:

Number of protected areas with respect to IUCN category of HKH region

According to the IUCN protected areas management categories, there are 189 category V protected areas in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas (39%). Category V protected areas are managed mainly for landscape/seascape conservation and recreation. They are described as areas of high biological diversity with significant aesthetic, ecological and/or cultural value. There are 139 category IV protected areas (29%) in the HKH, which are areas managed mainly for conservation through management intervention. Only 3 of the 488 protected areas in the region are managed as category I or strict nature reserves. Thirteen protected areas in the HKH belong to category III, which are natural monuments or areas of special natural features.

Distribution of protected areas by area

The protected areas in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas vary in size. The majority (130 or 27%) are less than 50 sq. km. Only 22 (or 5%) are large, having an area of more than 5000 sq. km.

Trends in protected area establishment

The number of protected areas in all of the IUCN categories increased until the 1980s. Since then, the establishment of category IV (habitat management area) has sharply declined from 45 in 1987 to only 4 in 2007. Similarly, the establishment of category II (national park) increased until 1997, and gradually declined to only 3 between 1998 and 2007.

Category V (protected landscape) substantially increased from 3 to 43 in the 20 years from 1968 to 1987, and again to 61 by the year 2007. This is due to the adoption of the landscape approach to conservation by the countries of the region