(Last Updated on : 11/07/2014)
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are temperate coniferous forest eco-region of the middle and upper elevations of the western Middle Himalayas. The middle Himalayas covers the countries like Nepal, India and Pakistan.
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests is the eco-region that forms a belt of coniferous forest covering 39,700 square kilometres on elevations between 3,000 and 3,500 metres.
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests extend west from the Gandaki River in Nepal, through the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, and into Jammu and Kashmir eastern Pakistan.
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests belt of conifers is the highest woodland of the bands of habitat that cover the Himalayas at different altitudes from the grasslands of the foothills to the high peaks, and above here lies treeless alpine scrub. This is a valuable ecosystem as many Himalayan birds and animals migrate seasonally up and down the mountains spending part of the year in the conifer forests, so conservation is a high priority.
This eco-region of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests is drier than the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, which receive more moisture from cyclonic monsoon of the Bay of Bengal
Several distinct forest types are found in this ecoregion of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests. The trees present in the eco-region of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are Fir trees (Abies spectabilis
) in places grow in nearly pure stands. In other areas they mix with oaks (Quercus semecarpifolia
). Rhododendron campanulatum, Abies spectabilis
, and birch (Betula utilis
) form another common assemblage in the sphere of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests.
The mixed-conifer forests of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are made up of Abies spectabilis, Blue Pine and spruce. Cupressus torulosa and Cedrus deodara are also found here.
This eco-region is dwelling place to some fifty-eight species of mammals. These are present in the countries like Nepal, India and Pakistan. The important inhabitants of Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests include the brown bear and threatened or endangered species such as Himalayan Serow, Himalayan Tahr
, and the markhor
goat, the national symbol of Pakistan. The only endemic mammal is a rodent, the Murree Vole.
Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are the abode of 285 species of birds. So,me of the birds are local and some are migratory. In Western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests, the status recorded in this eco-region, includes 9 endemic species and a number of birds that are sensitive to habitat disturbance and therefore likely to be vulnerable to further forest clearance. The endemic birds and other bird species include the Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha
), Western Tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus
), and the Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus