The Central Karakoram in the Gilgit-Balitstan of Pakistan is a mountain area endowed with rich biodiversity, natural beauty and important resources. The Park compasses the world’s largest glaciers, outside the Polar Regions. It was declared as the Central Karakoram National Park (CKNP) in 1993: today it is the largest protected area of Pakistan, covering over 10,557.73 km2 in the Central Karakorum mountain range and the highest park all over the world, it is characterized by extremes of altitudes that range from 2,000 m a.s.l. to over 8,000 m a.s.l., including K2, the second highest peak in the world. It falls into four administrative districts of Gilgit-Baltistan Region.
In order to facilitate the maintenance of Central Karakoram National Park ecological integrity while, at the same time, providing sustainable management opportunities for local communities and visitors, a zoning system has been implemented.
This consists of two main zones, the Buffer Zone and the Core Zone, for a total of 10,557.73 Km2. The Buffer Zone, which is part of the Park and the Core Zone, which includes areas with an higher degree of protection and corridors for tourists with basic facilities.
The Buffer Zone (BZ) is supporting a harmonic interaction between nature conservation and the use of the natural renewable resources through a sustainable way. This promotes the conservation of landscapes, traditional forms of land use, together with social and cultural features. It is considered a part of CKNP and is spreading for about 2,950.9 square kilometers. It is not continuous around the whole Park, but it is present mainly near the human settlements and near to the areas where there are unsustainable activities and therefore a transition zone is needed.
The Core Zone (CZ), with a surface of about 7,606.83 square kilometers aims at preserving a unique ecosystem, representative of the CKNP area. It is populated by important species, where long-term conservation and preservation have to be ensured. On the one hand, this area is impressive both for flora and fauna, on the other hand, the presence of a relevant number of high peaks, many of them over 7.000 m, and glaciers covering about the 38% of the whole Park surface, is attracting a relevant number of visitors. To preserve the nature integrity, the Park has designated specific corridors where tourists are allowed to enter, with basic facilities to reduce as much as possible their impact on this fragile, yet highly valuable, zone.