Sitting at the juncture between Asia and the Indian subcontinent, the Eastern Himalayas includes Bhutan, northeastern India and southern, central and eastern Nepal. Previously classified as a region within the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot, the Eastern Himalayas Region now stretches across the Indo-Burma and Himalaya hotspots, with the latter being identified as a new hotspot in 2005.
Among the important globally threatened mammals found here are Asia’s three largest herbivores—Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), greater one-horned rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis) and wild water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)—and its largest carnivore, the tiger (Panthera tigris), as well as several large birds such as vultures, adjutant storks and hornbills.
The top predators, large herbivores and specialized pollinators that inhabit the Eastern Himalayas play critical roles in maintaining the health of the varied ecosystems.
Throughout the rugged landscape, traditional village-level and other community-level institutions have played dominant roles in protecting community resources. Even today, most local communities are heavily dependent on forest products, natural resources and ecological services for their livelihoods and daily subsistence. However, chronic collection of non-timber forest products; harvest of trees for fuel, fodder and lumber; and conversion of forests for agriculture have contributed to ecosystem degradation and habitat loss across the Himalayas.