red panda sagarmatha national park

Ecology Found on Mt. Everest

  • Trek
  • Jul,24,2022
  • Naveen Poudyal
  • 0

Mt. Everest, a symbolic icon and the most significant heritage of the Nepalese people, stands for its historical, cultural, geographical, and environmental importance. For ages, it has guarded the border between Tibet (an autonomous state of China) and Nepal. Geographically, it remained isolated and untouched until it was discovered as the tallest mountain in the world in 1856, from research led by the British Geographical Survey team under George Everest. Mount Everest has been locally named "Chomolungma" by the Sherpa and Tibetan communities, which means “Goddess of the sky” "Sagarmatha", and “Goddess Mother of the Earth” in Nepali. Everest also has its own cultural importance: the locals regard it as a sacred mountain and worship it. The people in Nepal and the mountains believe that their life springs from the water that originates from the Himalayas. No survival is possible without the mountains; mountains are lifelines to the people, to the organisms from the high Himalayas to the Terai in the south. The trekkers will benefit from the views of the highest atmosphere and get inspired by life in the extreme. Most of the trekkers attend a prayer conducted by the gurus from the Sherpa community so that they remain safe while hiking around the snow-locked area of the Everest Three Pass. Our respect for the mountain ecosystem can benefit many organisms throughout the world. It seems better to understand the ecology of the Everest region before we hike around its route.


Major Peaks in Everest  Region 

The Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas contains At least 25 peaks above 6,000 meters, and seven of them—Baruntse, Lhotse, Nuptse, Pumo Ri, Guachung Kang, Cho-Oyu, and Nangpai Gosum—are over 7,000 meters high. Mount Everest is the mountain on Earth with the highest elevation above sea level. Due to fluctuations in the snow level, gravity departure, and light refraction, among other things, there is debate regarding the exact elevation of Mount Everest. But in 2020, Nepal and China jointly reported Mount Everest was 29,031.69 feet (8,848.86 meters) above sea level. This measurement was subsequently widely regarded.


Sagarmatha National Park 

In 1976, the Khumbu region of Nepal's Himalayan ecological zone covered an area of 1,148 sq km with the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park. The park is mostly made up of rough terrain and gorges of the high Himalayas, extending from 2,845m at Monjo to the peak of the world's highest Himal - Sagarmatha, at 8,848.86m above sea level. The Park covers the higher watershed areas of the Dudhkoshi and Bhotekoshi Rivers, Lhotse, Cho Oyu, and Thamserku are three peaks above 6,000 meters. The renowned Sherpa tribes of Nuptse, Amadablam, and Pumori, whose lives are intricately entwined with Buddhist principles, reside here. Religious festivals like Dumje and Mane Rumdu are frequently celebrated at the famed Tengboche and other monasteries. Other well-known monasteries include Thame, Khumjung, and Pangboche, in addition to Tengboche. SNP was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979 due to its exceptional natural features.


The culture of the Sherpa community and their attachment to nature, including mountains, forests, rivers, and animals, are most significant in the Everest region. Several rules have come into existence to protect the national park since its establishment. Besides mountaineering, one can conduct research regarding ecology (organisms and the physical body of the mountains), including climate change, ecosystems, culture, people, environment, geography, human activities, and many more. The most important things are the permission of the local authorities, the help of the local people, and the security of the national park. Try not to disturb the law: the law of nature and the law of the local communities/authorities. The moments you spend in the Himalayas, in the lap of Mount Everest, can have a lasting impression on you for years and years. Just make your trip, enjoy the serene beauty, glance at the landscapes, and erase your hangover in the pleasing cool atmosphere of visiting Sagarmatha National Park, Everest Base Camp, or the Everest region.


Flora and Fauna Found in Sagarmatha National Park (Everest Region)

 At the park's lower elevations, pine and hemlock woods can be found, while fir, juniper, birch, and rhododendron trees, scrub, and alpine plant groups are more prevalent there. More than 118 different bird species, including the Impeyan pheasant, snow cock, blood pheasant, red billed cough, and others, may be found in the park, along with red pandas, snow leopards, musk deer, Himalayan tahr, martens, and Himalayan mouse hares (pika).


Buffer Zone in Sagarmatha National Park

In order to lessen the biotic strain on the slow-growing plants, the government of Nepal designated a buffer zone inside and outside the park in 2002. Additionally, the government has included a provision for allocating 30 to 50 percent of park revenue to community development initiatives in the buffer zone. It seeks to preserve the area's biodiversity by working with locals. Popular Trails for Trekking it's a very well-known journey from Namche to Kala Pathar also known as Everest three pass. There are also breathtaking vistas from the Chukung and Gokyo valleys. While Phortse is well-known for animal viewing, the Thame Valley is well-known for Sherpa culture. Some high passes are worthwhile traversing. The trekkers must, however, have a guide and the necessary supplies.



Conservation of Biodiversity 

Cooperation between the park and the community for biodiversity conservation is one of the main goals of buffer zone management. The major goal of biodiversity conservation is to involve and actively involve the local population, both in core areas and buffer zones. A number of programs concentrating on various facets of biodiversity conservation will be introduced, and the local population will be made aware of the importance of biodiversity protection.


The ecosystem in Everest Region 

It is set up to protect the highland ecosystems in this area. Everest region trek has rich hydropower, light, and wind energy resources. With its unique biological and geographical features, natural landscape, ethnic culture, and historical sites, the reserve (National Park) is also a top-rated destination for tourists all over the world. The scientific value of the park is incalculable. It is also the study base for the research of plateau ecological geography, plate movement, uplift of the plateau, environmental science, and some other sciences.

The Mount Everest region/ Sagarmatha National Park is a distinct biological and geographical area in the world. The diversified ecosystem in the area is basically in its original state, with abundant species. The scientific and environmental value of the Mount Everest region is priceless, for it is a precious resource for research in highland geography, plate movement, and other subjects. Sagarmatha National Park is a comprehensive nature reserve that aims to fully protect a completely natural ecosystem. 


The region is composed of core zones (science reserves and absolute protected zones), scientific experimental zones (buffer zones), and economic development zones (peripheral zones). To date, 53 species of mammals, 206 species of birds, 8 species of amphibians, 6 species of reptiles, and 10 species of fish have been recorded. Further, there are 2348 species of higher plants, including 2106 species of angiosperms, 20 species of gymnosperms, 222 ferns, 472 species of bryophytes, 172 species of lichens, and 136 species of fungi. Climate change has become an issue in the protection of this world heritage.


Glaciers & Lakes in Everest Region 

Another significant attraction for travelers from all over the world is glaciers. Since snow-capped mountains are connected by glaciers and lakes in the Everest region, tourists are more likely to visit Nepal to view its stunning glaciers. There are numerous glaciers in the Everest region, including the Khumbu Glacier, Imja Glacier, Ngozumpa Glacier, Nangpai Gosum Glacier, and others. At an elevation of 4,700–5,000 m, Everest Gokyo Lake Trek is oligotrophic lake in Nepal's Sagarmatha National Park. The primary lake, Dudh Pokhari, also known as Gokyo Cho, has a surface area of 42.9 ha (106 acres), and the Gokyo hamlet is located on its eastern shore. Imja Tsho, also known as Imja Lake, is a glacial lake that emerged as a result of meltwater accumulating at the Imja Glacier's base. The Dudh Koshi, Bhotekoshi, and Imja Khola are the major rivers flowing towards terai from this region.


The freshwater supply for hundreds of millions of people downstream is provided by the glaciers in the Himalayan region. Glaciers in the region are retreating, however, as a result of rapid global warming and the long-term loss of natural freshwater storage that follows. In the wake of the recently exposed terminal moraine, lakes start to form as the glaciers retreat. Due to the rapid accumulation of water inside of them, the fragile "dams" behind which these lakes are built could abruptly break.

But even this icy expanse of snow and ice, which is home to nine of the world's ten tallest peaks, is suffering from the effects of climate change. Numerous glaciers in the Himalayas are melting, and a recent analysis of 32 glaciers around Mount Everest found that those terminating in lakes lost more ice mass than landlocked glaciers.


Pollution in the Everest Region

Expeditions have removed numerous oxygen cylinders as well as additional supplies and gear that climbers left on Everest's slopes. There are numerous items that have been recycled or dumped that have been carried down from the mountain, including tents, cans, crampons, and human waste. Previous climbers left this trash behind. However, the majority of the over 200 climbers whose bodies were discovered on the upper reaches of Everest have not had their bodies removed because it would be nearly impossible to get them down due to their weight.


Climate Change in the Everest region

Climate Change Has Reached the Top of Mount Everest, Thinning Its Highest Glacier. The highest glacier on the tallest mountain on Earth is rapidly retreating as temperatures rise. The research based on measurements of warming and ice loss found that most of this loss has occurred since the 1990s, and it is human-caused climate change.

Most of the glacier is covered by rocky debris, but there are also areas of exposed ice, called ice cliffs, and it is the melting of the ice cliffs that most destabilizes the glacier. Scientists conducting research over the last thirty years have found that the glacier's thick snowpack has been eroded, exposing the underlying black ice to the sun and accelerating the melting process. Millions of people depend on the Himalayan mountain range for drinking water, and if other glaciers in the region - and worldwide - follow Everest's example, their capacity to provide water for drinking and irrigation could fall significantly.

The decline could also provide a challenge for climbers, as future expeditions to the mountain could face more exposed bedrock and ice. cover, making it more difficult to climb. In this respect, the Nepal government is planning to save mountain glaciers and is seeking suggestions from scientists and researchers.


Issues in Everest Region  

The melting of glaciers around the Himalayas in the Everest region is affecting the appearance of the site inscribed for its outstanding universal value; destroying the habitat of endangered wildlife species like the snow leopard, musk deer, and red panda; and the disastrous effects of flooding resulting from GLOFs on human lives and endangering human settlements are the main issues of concern in light of the likely impact of climate change on Sagarmatha National Park.

The World Heritage Site is in danger due to climate change and glacier retreat, which are not adequately addressed by current conservation and management efforts; Garbage/pollution due to increased tourism pressure and development interventions are likely to diminish the value of the World Heritage Site.  Both residents and visitors are currently unaware of the significance of the park's WHS status. Despite numerous programs currently in place, garbage management is a struggle to maintain the Everest region's cleanliness.

Since Sagarmatha National Park is a region of international importance because it has been recognized as a World Heritage Site for its exceptional universal value. Recent calls for the SNP to be added to the list of World Heritage Sites in Danger because its glaciers are continuing to recede as a result of the international community's failure to address global warming have highlighted the importance of the park.

Tourism in protected areas shouldn't be restricted to making the parks more profitable and offering tourists recreational options. It should be a successful strategy for educating tourists about nature and increasing the benefit to the neighborhood by gaining support for conservation from the general population. Therefore, the goal of tourism in the park should be to enhance visitor experiences while also educating them about the need for conservation and their expected role in preserving the natural and cultural heritage for future generations.   


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