Himachal Pradesh is a state in the northern part of India. Situated in the Western Himalayas, it is one of the thirteen mountain states and is characterized by an extreme landscape featuring several peaks and extensive river systems. Himachal Pradesh is the northernmost state of India and shares borders with the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to the north, and the states of Punjab to the west, Haryana to the southwest, Uttarakhand to the southeast and a very narrow border with Uttar Pradesh to the south. The state also shares an international border to the east with the Tibet Autonomous Region in China.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the states that lies in the Indian Himalayan Region, one of the richest reservoirs of biological diversity in the world. As of 2002, the IHR is undergoing large scale irrational extraction of wild, medicinal herbs, thus endangering many of its high-value gene stock. To address this, a workshop on ‘Endangered Medicinal Plant Species in Himachal Pradesh’ was held in 2002 and the conference was attended by forty experts from diverse disciplines.
According to 2003 Forest Survey of India report, legally defined forest areas constitute 66.52% of the area of Himachal Pradesh. Vegetation in the state is dictated by elevation and precipitation. The state is endowed with a high diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants. Lahaul-Spiti region of the state, being a cold desert, supports unique plants of medicinal value including Ferula jaeschkeana, Hyoscyamus niger, Lancea tibetica, and Saussurea bracteata.
Himachal is also said to be the fruit bowl of the country, with orchards being widespread. Meadows and pastures are also seen clinging to steep slopes. After the winter season, the hillsides and orchards bloom with wild flowers, while gladiolas, carnations, marigolds, roses, chrysanthemums, tulips and lilies are carefully cultivated. Himachal Pradesh Horticultural Produce Marketing and Processing Corporation Ltd. is a state body that markets fresh and processed fruits.
Himachal Pradesh has around 463 bird, and Tragopan melanocephalus is the state bird of Himanchal Pradesh 77 mammalian, 44 reptile and 80 fish species.Himachal Pradesh has currently five National Parks. Great Himalayan National Park, oldest and largest National park in the state, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pin Valley National Park, Inderkilla, Khirganga and Simbalbara are the other national Parks located in the state. The state also has 30 wildlife sanctuaries and 3 conservation reserves. The state bird of Himachal Pradesh is the Western tragopan, locally known as the jujurana. It is one of the rarest living pheasants in the world. The state animal is the Snow leopard, which is even rarer to find than the jujurana.