Climate Change and Mountain Environment in Context of Sustainable Development Goals in Nepal

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Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences

Climate has significantly changed during last few decades. The mountain environmental change is the visible indicator of climate change. Being, Nepal is a mountainous country, the temperature and precipitation change during last three decades were studied using in-situ meteorological data sets. The Mann-Kendall Test and Sen's slope method were used to find out the changing trend of climate in time series temperature and precipitation data sets in response to different ecological zones. The missing data obtained from stations record were filled using nearest average weighted method in XLSTAT Software. The field survey was conducted in Gorkha (Highland district) and Chitwan (Lowland district) to find out climate change impact on existing environment. The Human foot print pressure on mountain environment was also analyzed using satellite HFP data sets for the period of 1993 and 2009. In the meantime, the nexus between climate change and sustainable development goals were evaluated. The results showed that annual temperature has significantly increased by 0.002°C yr-1 but precipitation has decreased by 3.957 mm yr-1 in Nepal during 1990-2020. During the same time span, temperature in hills and mountain showed significantly increased with positive but insignificant change in Terai. Similarly, all ecological regions were found negative precipitation trends though it was found insignificant. The field survey in Gorkha and Chitwan as vulnerable districts indicated significant climate change impacts in existing environment. Human foot print pressure was also found increased towards central regions and moving northward in 16-years interval. These changes in temperature and precipitation have affected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) i.e. People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership related goals in Nepal. This study helps to know the climate change pattern, mountain environment and its nexus with SDGs which is very useful to built up sustainable integrated mountain development framework and environment management in Nepal.

Jaya Ram Karki, Prabhat Kumar, Binod Baniya