The Kailash Sacred Landscape (KSL) Conservation Initiative is a collaborative effort of ICIMOD, UNEP, and regional partners in three countries: China, India and Nepal. It was launched at an Inception Workshop and Regional Consultation held in Kathmandu in July 2009. This initiative seeks to facilitate transboundary and ecosystem management approaches for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development through regional cooperation. The proposed Kailash Sacred Landscape includes an area in the remote southwestern portion of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) of China, adjacent parts of northwestern Nepal, and parts of northern India, and encompasses the cultural geography of the greater Mt Kailash area. Famous from ancient times, this region represents a sacred landscape significant to hundreds of millions of people in Asia, and around the globe. It is an important cultural and religious transboundary landscape with significance to Hindu, Buddhist, Bon Po, Jain, Sikh, and other religions, attracting thousands of pilgrims every year. The Kailash Sacred Landscape contains the source of four of Asia’s great rivers: the Indus, Brahmaputra, Karnali, and Sutlej, which are lifelines for large parts of Asia and the Indian sub-continent. These rivers provide essential transboundary ecosystem goods and services that are vitally important within the greater Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, and beyond.

For detail see: http://www.icimod.org/ksl

Region: Mid-Western Himalayas
Country: Nepal, India, China
Latitude: Min:29.308555346 Max:31.21183832237
Longitude: Min: 79.84997031929 Max: 82.497496451
Total Area: 31175 sq. km.


View more interactive maps.
Base Layers
Other Layers
  • Important Bird Areas
  • Protected Area
  • Corridor
  • Ecology
  • Globe Land Cover
  • Landscape
  • HKH Boundary

Protected Areas:

Protected Area NameIUCNCategoryType
Changthang National Protected AreaVIStrict Nature Reserve
Manasarovar Wetland Natural Reserve Protected Wetland
Khaptad National ParkIINational Park
Api-Nampa Conservation Area Conservation Area
Rara National ParkIINational Park
Askot Musk Deer Wildlife SanctuaryIVWildlife Sanctuary
Nandadevi Biosphere Reserve Biosphere Reserve

Corridor Areas:

Corridor NameAdjacent Protected Areas
KSL Nepal 
KSL India 
KSL China 

Ecosystem Services:

Kailash Sacred landscape comprises of a rich and diverse array of biodiversity, ecosystems, biomes, and ecotypes distributed across the extremely rugged and diverse terrain. It is home to a wide variety of indigenous local cultures, languages, and ethnic communities. The diverse ecosystem (forests, rangeland and wetland) provides various goods and services to the peoples across the three nations sharing the landscape. Some of the ecosystem services include: food crops, fodder, fuel, timber, medicinal plants, NTFPs. Besides, the ecosystem provides various regulatory services such as carbon sequestration, climate regulation, nutrient cycling, soil quality maintenance, irrigation, serves as an important habitat for wild animals and plants of global importance, habitat for endemic flora and fauna; breeding site for several migratory birds, pollination for crop and wild plants, as well as for recreation, aesthetic value etc.  Realizing that the landscape provides a plethora of hitherto unaccounted ecosystem services, there is an urgent need to incorporate values of these services in development and conservation plans and programmes.



The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, with collaboration with UNEP and GTZ, has initiated the Kailash Sacred landscape approach to facilitate transboundary and ecosystem management , biodiversity conservation and sustainable development through regional cooperation. Strategic recommendations on promoting landscape conservation; implementing decisions of CBD; enhancing collaboration for interdisciplinary research, knowledge exchange and information sharing; and addressing climate change impact and identifying adaptation strategy has been made. Considerable progress has been made in promoting biodiversity conservation through an integrated approach linking conservation with socio-cultural and economic elements. The feasibility study has been conducteed by the partners. Synergies have also been built between local, national, and regional stakeholders working in biodiversity conservation. The initiative has improved understanding among the partners in the Kailash Sacred Landscape initiative about the significance of conservation at the landscape level and has created considerable interest among scientists, policy makers, and general public. 

ICIMOD’s partners in the Kailash Sacred Landscape initiative are:


Related Bibliography

Chauhan, NS (1999) Medicinal and aromatic plants of Himachal pradesh. New Delhi: Indus Publishing Company
DMP (1970) Medicinal Plants of Nepal, Bulletin No 3. Kathmandu: Department of Medicinal Plants
DMP (1984) Medicinal Plants of Nepal (Supplement Volume), Bulletin No 10. Kathmandu: Department of Medicinal Plants, Nepal
GoI (2002) National biodiversity strategy and application plan. New Delhi: Government of India, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Natural Terrestrial Ecosystems
HMGN (2001) Flowering plants of Nepal (Phanerogams), DPR bulletin No 18. Kathmandu: Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Department of Plant Resources
HMGN (2002) Forest and vegetation types of Nepal, TISC (Tree Improvement and Silviculture Component, NARMSAP) document series No 105. Kathmandu: His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, Department of Forest
HMGN (2004) MIS database of forest user groups. Kathmandu: His Majesty’s Government of Nepal, Department of Forest, Community Forest Division
Inskipp, C; Inskipp, T; Grimmett, R (1999) Birds of Nepal. New Delhi: Prakash Book
IUCN-Nepal (2004) National register of medicinal and aromatic plants. Kathmandu: IUCN- Nepal
Kayastha, BP (2002) A hand book of trees of Nepal. Kathmandu: Savistry Devi Kayastha
Press, JR; Shrestha, KK; Sutton, DA (2000) Annotated checklist of the flowering plants of Nepal. London: The Natural History Museum
Rajbhandari, KR (2001) Ethnobotany of Nepal. Kathmandu: Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal
Shrestha, K (1998) Dictionary of Nepalese plant names. Kathmandu: Mandala Book
Shrestha, TB; Joshi, RM (1996) Rare, endemic and endangered plants of Nepal. KathmanduL: WWF-Nepal
Shrestha, TK (2000) Birds of Nepal: Field ecology, natural history and conservation. Kathmandu: Mrs. Bimala Shrestha