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Location Nepal, Koshi
Central coordinates 87o 17.00' East  26o 49.00' North
IBA criteria A1, A2, A3, A4i
Area 50,000 ha
Altitude 100 - 1,300m
Year of IBA assessment 2005

Bird Conservation Nepal (Partner Designate)



Site description Dharan forests stretch from east to west in Sunsari and Morang districts, and constitute a significant portion of the forest remaining in Sunsari. Tropical evergreen tree species mixed with Sal Shorea robusta form the main vegetation type. Apart from the lower Mai valley forests, which are more degraded and fragmented, Dharan forests form the only significant area of this forest type that remains in Nepal. The forest is bisected by the major Itahari to Dharan road and lies nearly one hour’s drive from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve. In addition five gravelled roads run parallel to the Dharan to Itahari road in the east linking the people of the Siwalik region with the terai.

Key Biodiversity It is estimated that the large number of 300 bird species occurs in this forest, although a complete inventory is still to be made. The globally threatened Lesser Adjutant, White-rumped and Slender-billed Vultures are some of the globally threatened bird species found in the area. The near-threatened Wedge-billed Wren Babbler was recently recorded in Nepal for the first time from Dharan forests; it was probably overlooked previously. There are large areas of tropical forests that are likely to support significant populations of species characteristic of the Indo-Chinese Tropical Moist Forest and Indo-Malayan Tropical Dry Zone biomes.

Non-bird biodiversity: Bengal Fox Vulpes bengalensis, Hanuman Langur Semnopithecus entellus, Wild Boar Sus scrofa, Chital Axis axis, Black Giant Squirrel Ratufa bicolor and Indian Hare Lepus nigricollis are a few of the mammal species found here. The forest is also the main corridor route of the Asian Elephant Elephas maximus which visits east Nepal from India.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Brown-headed Barbet Psilopogon zeylanicus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Lesser Adjutant Leptoptilos javanicus resident  2004  frequent  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Red-naped Ibis Pseudibis papillosa unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Red-headed Vulture Sarcogyps calvus unknown  2004  present  A3  Critically Endangered 
White-rumped Vulture Gyps bengalensis resident  2004  rare  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Slender-billed Vulture Gyps tenuirostris resident  2004  rare  A1, A3  Critically Endangered 
Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus winter  2004  uncommon  A1  Near Threatened 
Plum-headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Sirkeer Malkoha Taccocua leschenaultii unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Indian Grey Hornbill Ocyceros birostris unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Dinopium benghalense unknown  2004  present  A3  Not Recognised 
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Leiopicus mahrattensis unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Himalayan Flameback Dinopium shorii unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Common Woodshrike Tephrodornis pondicerianus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Rufous-winged Lark Mirafra assamica unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark Eremopterix griseus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Blackish-breasted Babbler Sphenocichla humei unknown  2004  rare  A1, A2  Near Threatened 
Spiny Babbler Turdoides nipalensis resident  2004  present  A2  Least Concern 
Jungle Babbler Turdoides striata unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 
Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicatus unknown  2004  present  A3  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2011 high very unfavourable negligible
  Habitat
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Agricultural expansion and intensification annual & perennial non-timber crops - small-holder farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Agricultural expansion and intensification livestock farming and ranching (includes forest grazing) - small-holder grazing, ranching or farming happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Invasive and other problematic species and genes invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - increase in fire frequency/intensity happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species gathering terrestrial plants - unintentional effects (species being assessed is not the target) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Over-exploitation, persecution and control of species logging & wood harvesting - unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale happening now some of area/population (10-49%) moderate to rapid deterioration high
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Transportation and service corridors roads and railroads happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Forest   0 0 poor (40-69%) poor (40-69%) very unfavourable

Little/none of site covered (<10%)  No management planning has taken place  Some limited conservation initiatives are in place  negligible 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Phoksundo Lake Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 494 protected area contained by site 494  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest   -
Artificial - terrestrial   -

References Inskipp (1989a), Basnet (2003).

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Dharan forests. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/12/2014

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife