Supported by the MacArthur Foundation, ICIMOD undertook a series of research activities together with partners in the Eastern Himalayas from 2007 to 2008 to provide a preliminary assessment of the impacts and vulnerability of this region to climate change. Activities included rapid surveys at country level, thematic workshops, interaction with stakeholders at national and regional levels, and development of technical papers by individual experts in collaboration with institutions that synthesised the available information on the region. A summary of the findings of the rapid assessment was published in 2009. The present publication is one of six technical papers used in the assessment. The main synthesis report is being published separately.