Gaurishankar Conservation Area
The Government of Nepal, through a Nepal Gazette notice dated July 19, 2010 (Section 60, Number 14, Part 5, 2067/04/03 B.S.), has entrusted the management responsibility of Gaurishankar Conservation Area to the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) for 20 years. Gaurishankar Conservation Area was declared by the Government of Nepal, through a Nepal Gazette notice on January 11, 2010 (Section 59, Number 38, Part 5, 2066/09/27 B.S.). Gaurishankar Conservation Area (GCA) is the third Conservation Area entrusted by the Government of Nepal to NTNC for management. Annapurna Conservation Area and Manaslu Conservation Area are already under NTNC management.
GCA covers an area of 2,179 square kilometers and encompasses 22 Village Development Committees of 3 districts (Alampu, Bigu, Bulung, Chankhu, Chilankha, Gaurishankar, Kalinchok, Khare, Laduk, Lamabagar, Marbu, Orang, Suri and Syama VDCs of Dolakha district; Fulpingkatti, Ghorthali, Gumba, Listikot, Marming and Tatopani VDCs of Sindhupalchok district; Chuchure and Gumdel VDCs of Ramechhap district). 2001 census reveals a population of 56,364 people in 11,582 households. Tamang is the largest ethnic group accounting for 25.84 % of the total population followed by Sherpa with 22.42 %, and Chhetri 18.36 %. Other ethnic groups are: Newar, Thangmi, Gurung, Brahman, Jirel, Kami, Damai and Sarki.
GCA comprises following 16 major vegetation types: Pinus roxburghii forest, Schima-Castanopsis forest, Alnus forest, Pinus wallichiana forest, Pinus patula forest, Rhododendron forest, Quercus lanata forest, Lower temperate oak forest (Quercus semicarpifolia forest), Lower temperate mixed broad leaved forest, Abies forest, Upper temperate mixed forest (Birch-rhododendron forest), Temperate mountain oak forest, East Himalayan Oak forest, Juniperus forest, Shrubland (Rhododendron anthopogon bushes) and Moist alpine scrubs. Confirmed observations of faunal diversity inside GCA totals to 34 species of mammals, 16 species of fishes, 10 species of amphibians, 8 species of lizards, 14 species of snakes, 235 species of birds.
The region is quite rich in water resources and is catchment of Khimti, Bhotekoshi, Sunkoshi, and Tamakoshi rivers which are source of water for some major hydro-power projects in the country. The region is also famous for glacial lakes, particularly the Tso Rolpa which came into limelight with the possibility of its bursting. Glaciers account for 2.77% of the total area of the region. With the issue of climate change becoming prominent in the national and international arena, the region carries special significance.