Publication of biodiversity data from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region to enhance its use and application for effective biodiversity conservation and management.


Ecosystem services


Scope of HKHBIF

The Hindu Kush Himalayan Biodiversity Information Facility (HKHBIF) is dedicated to the collection, publication, and dissemination of biodiversity data from the Hindu Kush Himalayan region.

ICIMOD is an associate member of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and HKHBIF is the GBIF-mediated publishing platform that is hosted by ICIMOD. It is a regional node of GBIF that caters to ICIMOD’s eight regional member countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan. The aim is to sensitize biodiversity data holders on the importance of biodiversity data publishing globally, build a network of data holders and publishers from the region, and motivate them to contribute to building biodiversity data for the HKH.

HKHBIF strategies

  • Increase awareness of the importance of biodiversity information in the HKH region.
  • Communicate the importance of global publishing of biodiversity data and information to the public and decision makers.
  • Strengthen the HKHBIF organizational presence and its network of data holders and publishers from the HKH.
  • Seek out partnerships with other Asian regional nodes
  • Highlight biodiversity information from the HKH member countries.

HKHBIF timeline journey

2009: Participated as an observer at the GBIF

2012: Installation of Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) and became an associate participant

2013-2017: Capacity strengthening of data holders; promotion of HKHBIF across the region; compilation of datasets from different landscape initiatives of ICIMOD

2018: Publication of biodiversity data from ICIMOD’s Regional Programme on Transboundary Landscapes; embedding within ICIMOD RDS

2019: Reactivated HKHBIF (reregistration with GBIF); migration of 14 checklist datasets from earlier HKHBIF IPT; publication of datasets by other data holders and publishers; publication support to 2019 Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA) grantee

Be a publisher!

Let your data be known globally! Let your data find wider research use!

biodiversity observer
long term biodiversity observer
hkhbif museum specimens
hkhbif herbarium

Call to action

Publish with HKHBIF

Step 1: Download appropriate excel template (checklist, occurrence, sampling data) from GBIF

Step 2: Fill in data and metadata sheet as suggested

Step 3: Send the completed excel sheet to HKHBIF@icimod.org for validation and publishing

Step 4: Once published a link with citation and DOI will be sent to the data publisher

Darwin Core is a standard maintained by the Darwin Core maintenance group. It includes a glossary of terms (in other contexts these might be called properties, elements, fields, columns, attributes, or concepts) intended to facilitate the sharing of information about biological diversity by providing identifiers, labels, and definitions. Darwin Core is primarily based on taxa, their occurrence in nature as documented by observations, specimens, samples, and related information.
Darwin core quick reference guide: https://dwc.tdwg.org/terms/

GBIF’s Integrated Publishing Toolkit: Read more 

Know other publishers for HKH member countries in GBIF

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Hi risk India
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HKH baseline GBIF

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Meet the data contributors

National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH), Nepal

National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH), Nepal

A team from National Herbrium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) and the Department of Plant Resources, MoFE, Government of Nepal, published an occurrence dataset of Alien Flora of Nepal and Endemic Flora of Nepal  based on the herbarium specimens that have been deposited at the National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories (KATH) of the Department of Plant Resources, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Kathmandu, Nepal. The digitization and publication process of this database was supported by Biodiversity Information Fund for Asia (BIFA; project no. BIFA3_025) programme of Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) funded by Ministry of Environment, Government of Japan.

Bishnu Shrestha (Nepal) info@dnpwc.gov.np

Bishnu Shrestha

Bishnu Shrestha works with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). He has published a checklist of the flora (angiosperms, gymnosperms, pteridophytes) and fauna (birds and insects) of Api Nampa Conservation Area. A total of 940 species are listed (https://www.gbif.org/dataset/565158dd-9feb-40a8-bb50-4830be6bbc5d#description).

Bharat Babu Shrestha (Nepal)

Bharat Babu Shrestha
Dr. Bharat Babu Shrestha is an Associate Professor at the Ecology and Resource Management Unit of the Central Department of Botany in Tribhuvan University. He published an occurrence dataset of alien and endemic plant species of Nepal. The database contains occurrence records of 119 alien species included in 1753 herbarium specimens (https://www.gbif.org/dataset/8af571a4-135f-4ca0-acd8-16983cf6ee77) and 13 endemic species included in 30 herbarium specimens (https://www.gbif.org/dataset/de7fe7a1-1ceb-4302-adb6-f7b64686a86f) that have been deposited at the Tribhuvan University Central Herbarium (TUCH) of the Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Nepal.

Photo slider

Biodiversity of the HKH region

Red panda
Red Panda – Cherub of mountain forest, Nepal. Photo credit: Sonam Tashi Lama
Fire-tailed sunbird (Aethopyga ignicauda
Fire-tailed sunbird (Aethopyga ignicauda). Photo credit: Karen Conniff.
Laccaria amethystina. Photo credit: Shiva Devkota
An important wintering habitat for the black-necked crane (Grus nigricollis). Photo: Alex Treadway/ICIMOD.
Sapria himalayana rare root parasite. Photo credit: Aparajitta Dutta

Species of the month: Mar 2021

Helixanthera parasitica Lour.

Commonly known as mistletoe, this plant is a highly specialized aerial flowering parasite. All mistletoes are strictly aerial parasites, some of them are hemiparasites (leafy) whereas others are holoparasites (without leaves). They extract nutrients or their food from the host plants through a special organ called haustorium. There are nearly 1,400 mistletoe species in the world, exclusively distributed within four families of flowering plants in the order Santalales. These species grow in diverse forest types – from tropical to upper cold temperate forests at an elevation of 3,000 masl. Mistletoes provide essential ecosystem services such as food, shelter, and breeding sites to a variety of animals, birds, and insects. They are an indicator of good forest health. In Nepal, mistletoes have been misunderstood as invasive and pest species. Although a parasitic plant, they have their own ecological functions in nature and contribute to ecosystem functioning as a part of natural plant communities. Their physiology is fascinating; for example, their succulent leaves enhance water storage and allow them to rehydrate before their hosts do.


Past species of the month

Budorcas whitei
Budorcas whitei
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Phallus indusiatus
Phallus indusiatus
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The Gaoligong hoolock gibbon
Hoolock tianxing
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Biodiversity and Species of the month


Biodiversity (photographs)

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The Gaoligong hoolock gibbon

Species of the month

Do you want to highlight biodiversity of your region through "Species of the Month". Send your contribution through the form.

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Featured publications

Biology of mistletoes and their status in Nepal Himalaya
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Elevation and body size drive convergent
Elevation and body size drive convergent variation in thermo‐insulative feather structure of Himalayan birds
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Bird diversity in northern Myanmar and conservation implications
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The Hand Book of Flowering Plants of Nepal
The handbook of flowering plants of Nepal
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Checklist of the dragonflies and damselflies (Insecta: Odonata) of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
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Meet the team

Dr Pema Gyamtsho

Pema Gyamtsho

Director General

Bandana Shakya

Bandana Shakya

Agro-biodiversity Specialist

Sameer Bajracharya

Sameer Bajracharya

Research Associate GIS Developer

Nakul Chettri

Nakul Chettri

Regional Programme Manager – Transboundary Landscapes

Sudip Pradhan

Sudip Pradhan

Programme Coordinator, Regional Database System

Purnamita Dasgupta

Purnamita Dasgupta

Theme Leader-Ecosystems Services