Western Himalayan BioProvince

This BioProvince (as defined by Armen Takhtajan) includes the Himalayas above about 1000 m in the area westward of the Kali Gandaki River Gorge (the world’s deepest valley) in Central Nepal. It comprises all of the southern slopes and offspurs of the Western Himalayas and the valleys of the rivers Gilgat, Kabul, Kunar, Kurram and Swat. With mountains like Everest, Dhaulagiri and Makalu, it has the tallest peaks on Earth. In terms of its political boundaries it includes Nuristan (Kafiristan), Kashmir, Simila, Mussoovie, Naini Tal and part of Nepal. The area is affected by monsoon rains but less so than the Eastern Himalayas. Consequently the tree line descends from about 4000m in the east to 3300m in the west. The flora includes a monotypic, endemic genus (Parrotiopsis) and a large number of endemic species but unlike the Eastern Himalayan BioProvince, there are far fewer rhododendron species with possibly just three endemic species. The BioProvince is thought have the highest angiosperm in world - the himalayan endemic Christolea himalayensis (Brassicaceae) has been recorded at an altitude of 6300 m on Mount Kamet, although this may have been exceeded by Arenaria bryophyllum in the Eastern Himalayas (see Eastern Himalayan BioProvince). Overall the flora has much in common with the floras of the Iranian Highlands and the western Mediterranean. In fact, it is thought to represent a link between the ancient Mediterranean (Tethyan) flora and the flora of eastern Asia.

The following accounts for this BioProvince have been written or will be written with particular reference to endemic and locally important species. Accounts available are displayed in green or yellow. Those displayed in red are either in the pipeline or awaiting expert contributions.


Major Ecosystems
Endemic Flora West Himalayas
Endemic Flora (Himalayas)
Bryophyte Flora
Fungus Flora
Lichen Flora
Invertebrate Fauna
Amphibian Fauna
Reptile Fauna
Bird Fauna
Mammal Fauna
Conservation Status