Topography and human disturbances are major controlling factors in treeline pattern at Barun and Manang area in the Nepal Himalaya Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017, Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. The alpine treeline ecotone is an important component of mountain ecosystems of the Nepal Himalaya; it plays a vital role in the livelihood of indigenous people, and provides ecosystem services. However, the region faces a problem of paucity of data on treeline characteristics at the regional and landscape scales. Therefore, we used Remote Sensing (RS), and Geographic Information Science (GIS) approaches to investigate cross-scale interactions in the treeline ecotone. Additionally, European Space Agency land cover map, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) land cover map, ecological map of Nepal, and United States Geological Survey Shuttle Radar Topography Mission-Digital Elevation Model were used to analyze treeline pattern at the regional scale. Digital Globe high-resolution satellite imagery of Barun (eastern Nepal) and Manang (central Nepal) were used to study treeline patterns at the landscape scale. Treeline elevation ranges from 3300-4300 m above sea level. Abies spectabilis, Betula utilis, and Pinus wallichiana are the main treeline-forming species in the Nepal Himalaya. There is an east to west treeline elevation gradient at the regional scale. No slope exposure is observed at the regional scale; however, at the landscape scale, slope exposure is present only in a disturbed area (Manang). Topography and human disturbance are the main treeline controlling factor in Barun and Manang respectively.

author list (cited authors)

  • Chhetri, P. K., Shrestha, K. B., & Cairns, D. M.

citation count

  • 15

publication date

  • January 2017