Annapurna Conservation Area was initiated in 1996 from Ghandruk village. It is a pilot project integrating nature conservation and sustainable development. Annapurna Conservation Area is the finale initiative in conservation history of Nepal where locally community are directly involved in the management of project area. It has trust development and tested integrated conservation and development project (ICDP) model of conservation. It has now become the role model for various developing countries. A special designation of a conservation area was given to the Annapurna region by Nepal Government. In 1992, Annapurna region was notified in the gazette as Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA). Since then, the trust has been managing the area focusing on integrated conservation and development programmes.
Diversity of Annapurna Conservation Area
Annapurna Conservation Area is the first conservation Area and the largest area in Nepal. It covers an area of 7629 sq.km and home to around 100000 people belonging to different ethnic, culture and linguistics groups. Thakali, Manange and Loba are dominant in the north. Whereas Gurung and Magar are dominant groups in the South. Brahmin, Chettri, Damai and Kami in comparatively smaller numbers. Hindu, Buddhist and pre Buddhist religions and a mixture of all these are prevalent across te region. The cultural diversity of Annapurna Conservation Area is rivaled by its biodiversity. There is a treasure house of 1,233 flowering plants, 102 mammals, 488 birds, 40 reptiles, 23 amphibian and 332 butterflies’ species. The area is one of the most popular trekking destinations for visitors from all over the world.
In ACA local populations manage their traditional rights and access to natural resources. Security forces are not deployed for protection of the natural resources in Annapurna Conservation Area region. The tourism revenue is pressed back within the region for conservation and sustainable development activities. For management purpose, Annapurna Conservation Area is divided into seven Unit Conservation Offices. Ghandruk, Lwang, Sikles, Bhujung, Jomsom and Lo-Manthang. Nepal Government extended the management of Annapurna Conservation Area, including the collection of entry fee from tourists visiting the region to the Trust till 2015.