Vegetation of Nepal, it is a mountainous country with a wide range of ecosystems due to a sudden change of topography and then reflecting to climate. Once it was supposed to be a land of magnificent scenery and unique art and architectural wealth. It has become a fairyland with enchanting natural vegetation beauty. Without a doubt, forests are the largest natural resources of Nepal in term of land area coverage. Latest data available reveals that the country has 29.0 percent forest spread over 4.26 million hectare and 10.6 percent shrub land occupying 1.559 million hectare area. Whereas distribution of forest in Nepal is not uniform. Forest are in Nepal has declined considerably; the annual estimation of deforestation rate is 1.7 percent.
Nepal has been divided into six bioclimatic zones
This zone includes Terai, and dun valleys. The vegetation in tropical zone is the dominance of Shorea robusta on flat terraces and alluvium deposits whereas riveine vegetation is grassland and deciduous forest of Acacia Catechu and Dalbergia sisoo along the stream of Bhabar and Dun valleys.
Schima-castanopsis forest categorizes this region in east and central Nepal while Pinus roxburghii is dominant in west (900m-2000m) on both north and south face to the dry situations in central Nepal. Trees such as Engelhardia spicata, Acer oblongum, Micheliasp, etc and Maesa chisia, Euraya Acuminate, Eupatorium adenophorum, etc. dominates under growth surface. These are the association tree species in this zone.
This region shows a great deal of diversity in vegetation types. In eastern and central Nepal, it consists of Laurel mixed broad-leaved deciduous evergreen Oak and Rhododendron forest. While in western Nepal distinct evergreen coniferous forest is dominant.
Silver fir and Birch Rhododendron forest characterizes this region. Abies spectabilis is predominant between 2900m and the tree line 3850m. A continuous belt of this forest covers the central Nepal in between 2900m and 3800m on the south facing slope. The common associations are Rhododendron sp., Viburnum cotonifolium and Lonicer sp. Betula utilis usually occurs in between 33oom-3800m and sometimes penetrates into the fir forest in the landslide areas in deep gullies.
This zone is above 41oom and comprises the association of Rhododendron Sp., Caragana Hippophane Sp., Primula sp., Potentilla sp. And Androsace sp. According to the forest Act (1993) there are five sub categories of National forest they are: Government forest, preserve forest, commonly forest, Leasehold forest and last but not least Religious forest. National forest in Nepal also includes all forests, excluding private forests, whether marked or unmarked with forest boundary markers.
Forest plays an important role in the maintenance of ecological balance and economic balance. Fuel wood, fodder, timber and herbal medicine are supplied from the forest. Rural communities to a large extent depend on the non timber forest products for their subsistence. It can also conserve soil and prevent landslide and flooding.