Vegetation Zones in Nepal

As you travel here, you will notice that there are different vegetation zones in Nepal. These changes areĀ in the surrounding trees, plants and shrubs as you gain altitude. The vegetation in the Himalayas can be broken up into six categories.

Tracking in the jungle by Steve H.

Tropical
(<1000m)

Below 1000m, forests are dominated by sal trees. Other signature plants found in the tropical zone include tall elephant grasses, acacia and rosewood trees and silky cotton trees, which produce bright red flowers every spring.

Paddy ricefields by Sharada P.

Subtropical
(1000m to 2000m)

As you start to gain altitude, the sal forests give way to the more cold-tolerant species, including the distinctive chir pine. Deciduous trees include autumn-blooming chestnuts and the spring-blooming schima, a fruiting tree species distantly related to the tea bush.

Gosainkund Helambu by Rick McCharles

Lower Temperate
(1700m to 2700m)

As you climb above 1700m, evergreen oaks start to appear. Where there is sufficient water, you may also spot horse chestnut, maple, walnut, alder and birch trees. The deciduous forests are broken up by swathes of blue pines, which flourish on south-facing slopes.

Upper Temperate by Gavin Y.

Upper Temperate
(2400m to 3000m)

In the upper temperate zone, the brown oaks are joined by dozens of species of rhododendron, the most distinctive plant of the Himalaya. Pin forests at this elevation are made up of blue pines, spruces, firs and hemlocks.

Sunrise at Tengboche by Ivan B.

Subalpine
(3000m to 4000m)

As you approach the treeline, silver fir, birch and oak trees dominate the forest. Exposed ridges and passes are dominated by shrub rhododendrons and dwarf bamboo. On dry slopes you may see stands of twisted junipers, though this species has been almost eradicated in many areas by harvesting for firewood.

Gokyo trekking trail by Akunamatata

Alpine
(4000m to snowline)

There are almost no trees at all above 4000m, though a few species of ground-hugging rhododendrons persist almost as far as the snowline. In the alpine meadows that define this elevation, you will see distinctive alpine flowers like edelweiss, gentians, anemones and stellara, which can survive up to 5500m.