Langtang National Park was designated in 1976 and lies in the central Himalayan region of Nepal; its southern boundary is as close as 32 km from the Kathmandu Valley. A buffer zone was declared in 1998.
The National Park comprises rocks and ice (60.7%), forests (29.9%), grassland (4.9%), shrubland (2.8%) and cultivation (1.7%). A wide variety of habitats exist within the park. Tropical forest of Sal Shorea robusta covers 0.2 per cent of the park and subtropical forest of Schima wallichii/Castanopsis indica and Chir Pine Pinus roxburghii covers 2 per cent. Higher up lower temperate forests of Quercus lanata, Q. lamellosa and Pinus wallichiana cover 4.8 per cent of the park and upper temperate forests of Q. semecarpifolia (often with Tsuga dumosa) cover 9.9 per cent. The subalpine (21.5 per cent) and alpine (21.5 per cent) zones of the park are by far the most extensive. Subalpine forests are of Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis, Tsuga dumosa, Larix spp., Rhododendron spp., and Juniperus spp. (Green 1993). Larix is restricted to the subalpine area. There are pure rhododendron and mixed oak/rhododendron forests. Hemlock forests characterise the riparian floodplains along the river valley of the Langtang Khola. Higher up, Silver Fir and Blue Pine form large expanses of forests in places.
A total of 347 species has been recorded in the park (Karki and Thapa 2001, Giri and Choudhary 2003, Giri and Choudhary (in prep). Langtang is important for the globally threatened Wood Snipe which breeds, the near-threatened Satyr Tragopan and Yellow-rumped Honeyguide that are both resident and probably breed, and for Hoary-throated Barwing and Nepal Wren Babbler, two breeding restricted-range species that are both fairly common.. The park has the highest known density of Nepal Wren Babbler in Nepal. There are large temperate forest and alpine areas in the park, which are known to support significant populations of characteristic species of the Sino-Himalayan Temperate Forest and Eurasian High Montane biomes.
Non-bird biodiversity: A total of 46 species of mammals has been reported (Karki and Thapa 2001) including the globally threatened Red Panda Ailurus fulgens, Himalayan Tahr Hemitragus jemlahicus, Serow Capricornis sumatrensis, Assam Macaque Macaca assamensis, Asiatic Black Bear Ursus thibetanus and Himalayan Musk Deer Moschus chrysogaster (Hilton-Taylor 2000).
Conservation responses/actions for key biodiversity
Langtang National Park is one of the most popular areas for tourist trekkers in Nepal. It shares similar environmental problems to the Annapurna Conservation Area and Sagarmatha National Park. A rising population of mainly subsistence farmers has impacted the environment chiefly through forest degradation and overgrazing by their livestock. Only a third of the park’s residents are estimated to understand the importance of conservation, but peoples’ participation in conservation efforts is increasing. The 34 villages within the park plan and manage local conservation themselves through forest user groups and and committees (Basnyat 2004). The demands of tourists have increased pressures on forests, especially those close to trails, lodges and villages. The spread of tourist lodges is uncontrolled in the park adding to the negative environmental impacts. Litter and water pollution also continue to be major problems in the park. In response the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation have set up a Lodge Management Committee in the park. Lodge owners and park officials are the Committee members and their aim is to improve lodge management and provide guidelines for the management of lodges. Langtang has seen a sharp decrease in trekkers from 13,500 in 2002 to 6,000 in 2003 (Basynat 2004).
BirdLife International (2017) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Langtang National Park. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2017.