Dharan forests

Country/territory: Nepal

IBA criteria met: A1, A2, A3, A4i (2005)
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Area: 50,000 ha

Bird Conservation Nepal
IBA conservation status
Year of assessment (most recent) State (condition) Pressure (threat) Response (action)
2011 very unfavourable high negligible
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Site description (2005 baseline)
Dharan forests stretch from east to west in Sunsari and Morang districts, and constitute a significant portion of the forest remaining in Sunsari. Tropical evergreen tree species mixed with Sal Shorea robusta form the main vegetation type. Apart from the lower Mai valley forests, which are more degraded and fragmented, Dharan forests form the only significant area of this forest type that remains in Nepal. The forest is bisected by the major Itahari to Dharan road and lies nearly one hour’s drive from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. In addition five gravelled roads run parallel to the Dharan to Itahari road in the east linking the people of the Siwalik region with the terai.

Key biodiversity
It is estimated that the large number of 300 bird species occurs in this forest, although a complete inventory is still to be made. The globally threatened Lesser Adjutant, White-rumped and Slender-billed Vultures are some of the globally threatened bird species found in the area. The near-threatened Wedge-billed Wren Babbler was recently recorded in Nepal for the first time from Dharan forests; it was probably overlooked previously. There are large areas of tropical forests that are likely to support significant populations of species characteristic of the Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest and Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone biomes.

Non-bird biodiversity: Bengal Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Hanuman Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Chital Axis axis, Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor and Indian Hare Lepus nigricollis are a few of the mammal species found here. The forest is also the main corridor route of the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus which visits east Nepal from India.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Important Bird Area factsheet: Dharan forests. Downloaded from on 24/09/2023.