Nepal possesses an astonishing variety of floral and faunal species due to the diversity of its topography and habitat types. Nevertheless, Nepal´s biodiversity is declining due to anthropological stressors including rapid human population and settlement growth along with human-wildlife conflict. Furthermore, it has been stated that climate change is already having an impact on biodiversity and is projected to become a progressively significant threat in the coming days. However, scientific research on the distribution patterns of biodiversity and habitat suitability for species with respect to climate change are still scarce in conservation science. Information regarding the distribution patterns of biodiversity must be known to make effective conservation planning, management and decision making.
With view of all this, JabikMap: Nepal´s Biodiversity and Climate Change Tool for the Future has been started in Nepal from December 2016. This is a two-years project funded by USAID “Partnership for Enhanced Engagement in Research” (PEER) with a total budget of $ 200,000. This project is being led by IUCN-Nepal and jointly implemented by multiple institutions - Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC)/Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Central Department of Botany/TU and Kathmandu Living Labs and is also backed by the USG-supported partner, Map of Life and the Jetz Lab at Yale University. It is expected that the JabikMap project will add tremendous value to conservation science by linking it to climate science.
The Inception Workshop for the JabikMap project was held on May 19, 2017 at Hotel Himalaya, Lalitpur, Nepal. The secretary of Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation Mr. Prakash Mathema launched the project at this event. Mr. Rishi Ranabhat from DNPWC talked about the need for biodiversity conservation and use of state of the art technologies to aid conservation efforts. This was followed by the presentation given by the JabikMap team where the key persons from the partner organization talked about their roles, methods and expected outputs to fulfill the objectives of the project. The speakers were Dr. Menaka Panta from IUCN, Prof.Pramod Kumar Jha from Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Mr. Hari Basnet from DNPWC and Dr. Nama Raj Budhathoki from Kathmandu Living Labs. The wireframe of the JabikMap tool was also presented in the event. The floor was then opened for queries from the participants which were aptly answered by Prof. Jha and Dr. Maheshwor Dhakal. The event was concluded with the final remarks by IUCN´s country representative Dr. Prahlad Thapa.