This mountainous landscape, squeezed up between northern India and western China, is breathtakingly beautiful. As well as being a sacred or mystical place for people, the area has environmental depths too.
One of the region’s jewels is the Terai Arc Landscape, a long strip of low-lying forest and grassland, almost 50,000sq km, that runs along the border between India and Nepal. It contains 17 protected areas, including Nepal’s oldest national park, Chitwan, established in 1973, and India’s famous Corbett tiger reserve set up in the 1930s.
The glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the eastern Himalayas are the source of several of Asia’s great rivers, including the Yangtze, Indus and Ganges. People all across Asia depend on these vast stores of fresh water for drinking, irrigation, industry and power generation.
But because global warming has been impacting on monsoons and speeding up the melting of ice and snow in the Himalayas, glacial lakes have been filling up and threatening to burst. These glacial lakes are being monitored to avoid disastrous flooding downstream, which could destroy forests, farms, homes and lives.