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Land use dynamics and environmental threats in Mid Western Development Region, Nepal.

Introduction

Land is one of the most fundamental resources in Mid Western development Region (MWDR) where an approximately 78 per cent of land resource characterizes steep hill slopes, hillocks, hill peaks, spur, escarpment, and mountain ranges (Pokhrel, 2004). It is, therefore, important to understand the transformation and its significant role on economy and ecology of the region. Physiography of the study region, the southern lap of the central Himalayas has complex socio-economic relations with land resources based rural economy which is further closely associated with land form evolution and changing land use pattern since the immemorial time. Such complicated but changing relation between landforms and land resource utilization scenario has further been associated with land ecosystem services like forestland, pastureland and farming lands that have been bearing a remarkable change over the decades.

The changing land use pattern in different types of physiographic units clearly indicate a synthesis of physical, chemical, and biological systems and processes on one hand and human/social behaviors on other. The ever-increasing human requirements and subsequent growing numerous anthropogenic cultures have led to progressive deterioration of land resources along with long-term negative impacts on ecologically fragile mountain ecosystems (Nelson and Geoghe, 2002). Thus, the anthropogenic modification of land use change directly relates to population dynamics, technological innovation, choice of land user's, ethical deliberations and, the level of environmental awareness of the local people (LUCC, 1999; Pokhrel, 2010; Sharma, 2008). John (1999) also remarked that the evolution of land use ethics from prehistoric to modern time has closely tied to social behaves and has highly influenced by economic trends. Evidently, landforms characteristics like terrain, slope, altitude, soil status etc have set the ultimate limits upon land capabilities and the tecimogensis of the human endeavor have been stimulating them to gear up the livelihood. It is apparent that the dynamism of society, government policy and technological level play the vital role to determine the land utilization pattern in any location-specific area. It is true that location-specific action plan can maximize the present output of land resources, maintain environmental balance and to promote sustainable livelihoods with an optimum land use plan frame which could be the life blood of a healthy land use policy in the region. Previous studies show that the present era of applied sciences, land forms study and regional integrated approach have a significant role to correlate the land form's role on existing landscape elements i.e. land use pattern, environment and man-land relationship in a given area. As Dikshit (1988) nicely noted that in India and other mountainous countries, the study of applied geomorphology is essential. Landforms study has crucial role for natural resource management it is relevant and essential to study the landform evolution and land use policy analysis e in the region where the land, water, minerals, and biotic resources have indiscriminately exploited, strained and frequently degraded to the point of depletion. It has to be resuscitated and natured through a judious approach that based on our understanding of evolution, growth pattern, and tolerance level of the available resources.

It is evident that landform and land use study can establish an intimate relation among the landscape components. Moreover, the productivity of land resources could also increase by addressing appropriate land use strategy with a view to remove poverty and economic hardship of the rural people. Pointing out the land resources problems in Nepal, Petschel-Held (1999) noted that the converging and diverging coping strategies by small holders are the main causative factors for land degradation. Wolman's study (1993) also corroborated the observation. However, Lambin, (2001) viewed that neither population nor poverty caused of land use changes and land resource degradation rather people's responses to economic opportunities as mediated by institutional factors drive over all environmental changes in the Nepal Himalayas. While Sierra, Tirado and Palacios (2003) have drown poverty driven conclusion for the land resource deterioration in their forest area based study and stated that such changes further trigger with the reaction of extreme bio-physical events like massive deforestation, landslides and soil erosion. The above mentioned studies reveal that different types of man- environment relations react and reshape the impacts of drivers differently and leading to specific pathways of land use change and environmental deterioration. The ruthless exploitation of land resources and execution of ill conceived development activities which knowingly and unknowingly adopted have found the responsible to ignore the age-old concept of biophysical balance that needs to renovate by adopting an innovative policy for promoting the livelihoods of the local inhabitants and to save the geo-ecology of the Himalayan region. What is there fore landforms and land use pattern analysis could be an appreciable action strategy to slow down the adverse effects of land use change on biophysical environments and further to increase the productivity of available resources on judicious basis. Regarding these issues, the present paper is an attempt to map out the present scenario of the land use pattern with changing perspective in the Mid Western Region of Nepal. Pointing out several issues and factors related to environmental resources degradation in depth is the focus of the study.

Study Area

Mid Western Development Region (MWDR) is located in the western part of Nepal and extending from highly elevated mountain range in the north to Indian border to the tarai plain in south (fig-1). It comprises 15 districts, 575 Village Development Committees and 6 municipalities. Topographical features range into several units like southern plain area, a part of Gangetic plain, to mountain range to peaks in the north (fig-2). Several climatic zones, soil groups, vegetation strata have found in the region. The region has been again divided into three ecological regions based on biophysical environments. The region occupies 42, 55,942 ha. land area and accounts for 29 per cent of land and stands as the largest development region in the country. It gives home for 30, 12,000 population (13.5%), number of ecosystems, with a rich bio-diversity and different types of cultural and bio-physical relations. However, majority of population is still below the poverty line having low socioeconomic profile in the country (NPC, 2010).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Data and Methods

The study draws upon the existing scenario of landforms, land use pattern and environmental conditions of MWDR. Both primary and secondary sources of data have been incorporated to analyze the changing pattern of land use and its impacts on environment. Primary data were collected through household respondents and focus group discussion during the months of April-August, 2008. The sample was designed based on proportional allocation methods. Altogether 420 households' were surveyed and 63 key informants interviewed with the purpose of colleting critical information on land resource use, change and management policy. Three different types of maps were used for analyzing the landforms and land utilization pattern. One of them is geological map of 1980 at the scale of 1:300000 for mapping the major landforms of the region. Other two were 1978 air photo at the scale of 1:50000 taken by Topographical Survey Branch, and on 2001 satellite imagery at the scale of 1: 250000 taken by Forest Department (fig-2). Land use data were obtained from the Land Resource Mapping Project (LRMP) Data Bank, 1988, and the Department of Forest, Research Report, 2001. The data for land use and land use changes were found to be confusing and different from one source to another that made us very difficult to arrive at the real picture of existing land use pattern in the region. However, the present paper devotes to present the scenario of land use changes and its ill effects on biophysical environments at the sub- regional level by applying some descriptive statistical tools.

Relief Features

With varied geological structures and rock groups of the region, there is a wide range of relief i.e. from low land plains in the south to perpetual snow ranges above 6000 meters in the north. It, therefore, portrays a combination of different topographic appearances such as highly elevated mountain peaks, ridges, free face slopes gullies, gorges river terraces hillocks valley etc (fig-2a). There is a large variation of elevation ranges from 129 meters above the sea level in the low-lying terrain plain to 7000 meters elevated height of mountain peaks in the north. With the help of topographical survey sheet (1:50,000) the contour (relief map-fig 2b) has been drawn and five categories of height have been classified to show the relief features of the region.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

Land forms and Land Utilization

Based on structural geology and morphological characteristics, the region has been grouped into seven physiographic units namely, tarai, Chure range, inner tarai, Mahabharat range, mid land, mountain region, and high Himalayan region from south to the north respectively (Fig-3).

[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]

Tibetan marginal range and inner mountain valleys were also been included under the head of high Himalayan region. Each physiographic unit presents contrasting picture of land characters, climatic features and land utilization pattern, which further varied accordingly with people's communities and their socio-cultural tradition. Here an attempt has been made to map out the land utilization pattern of each unit in sequential order.

Tarai Plain

The flat plain area formed of alluvial materials stretching from east to west in the southern part of the region. This low-lying physiographic unit has been characterized by shallow to moderately deep-to-deep-alluvial deposits below the altitude of 400 m. Rivers like the Karnali, Babai, and the West Rapti meander sluggishly through the plain and deposit fluvial materials due to loss of gradient and have created a strip of flat alluvial flood plain along the Nepal- India border as an extension of Gangetic plain. It covers about 6 per cent of geographical area and has used for crop cultivation with cereal crops dominance, some patches of forest and human settlements. There is increasing trends of human settlement into highly fertile land of the area.

Chure Range

The Chure/Siwalik/Foot hills lies in the northern edge of the southern tarai plain and composed of sand, conglomerate, quartzite and boulder materials. In some very few sectors of the range clay, alluvium soil has been found. The unit characterized by most sensitive and fragile foothill ecosystems that ranges from altitude of 350 m. to 1300 m. height of elevation with 12 per cent of area. In the past, it was fully covered by forest and known as a thick belt of forest and used to be considered as Paradise of Tiger. However, at present, it has been encroached and subsequently been converted into cultivated land, road alignment area and human settlement. Land utilization scenario of the range has been observed to be gradually declined of forest area and ever increasing in cultivated land. It is interesting to note that most of the human settlement found to be concentrated in the northern side of east-west Highway corridor. Now, heavy landslides, flood destruction, and soil erosion affect the range regularly.

Inner Tarsi (Dun Valley)

Inner tarai or the Dun valley lies between the Chute and Mahabharat ranges as the structural to river valleys with sandy clay soil. From east to west two major inner tarai i.e., the Dun valleys with their respective size are located at the altitude of 800 m. to 1100 m. from the sea level. It occupies about 2 per cent of geographical area of the region with the dominance of food grain production and human settlements. However, this physiographic unit has special significance for commercial wood forest, cash crops farming and off-season vegetable farming. Onward 1980, specially, after the malaria eradication and construction of different north-south roads, Surkhet and Dang both dun valleys have been the hot spots of population concentration from the surrounding hills. Thus, the ecology of inner tarai is under the threat on an account of unsound and unplanned land use practices.

Mahabharat Range

This physiographic unit runs parallel with Chure range in the north with granite, gneiss and limestone bedrocks. The altitude of the range ranges from 1500 m. to above and over 3,000 m. This maze of spur, hillocks, and narrow gorge occupies about 26 per cent of land area of the region. The range has rocky, gray and residual soil and supports moist deciduous degraded forest along with very few patches of cultivated land. Now, rivers that drainage in the region have excavated numerous rocky gorge and developed waterfalls at the knick points wherever they cross the east-west striking geological structure. Rugged topography, weak geological structure, extreme cold climate and other strange biophysical environments all act together and shape it as the barren lands along with some open and degraded grass lands. At present, the ever growing pressure of population (more than 48%) on these land forms which are geologically weak and fragile, people found to be making terraces for cultivation and subsequently suffering from landslides and soil erosion (CBS, 1998).

Mid Land/Pahad

This physiographic unit is known as hills and Pahad as the broad zone between the Mahabharat range and the High mountain region. It further acts the base land of different types of hilly land features and appears as an assemblage of steep hill slopes, ridges, spurs, tectonic valleys and river basins. Elevation of Mid land ranges from 1000m to 3000m by occupying about 18 per cent of land area of the region. It has a complex geophysical structure of high to medium metamorphic rocks, limestone and granite gneiss with grey brown residual to alluvium soils with out water retention capacity. However, this unit is the zone of human occupancy and cultural heartland of the country. It is, therefore, the land use pattern dominated by cultivated land in which local inhabitants are adopting terrace farming. Crop cultivation practice leads the heavy pressure population on land resources and has further resulted in expansion of farming into marginal hill slopes that led to soil erosion, degradation of forest area and depletion of water and other resources. As the direct effects of ever-growing human and livestock population, the demand of land i.e., natural resources is also rising which further leads to the environmental stress since decades.

High Mountain Region

This physiographic unit lies below the snowline with an elevation ranging from 2,000 to 3,500 m. Almost 20 per cent land area of the region was found to be occupied by this physiographic unit along with colluvial deposits of glacier soil in varying depths and underlying different sorts of rock strata. It comprises long straight and steep hill slopes, narrow and inner mountain valleys, rocky barren spurs, and escarpment that are sensitive to erosion and mass movement. About 40 per cent of barren and rocky lands, nearly 30 per cent large grass land communities contain with numerous herbal plants, blue pine forest, and about 5 per cent crude crop cultivation area has been observed at the land use glance of the unit. It has been found that the cultivation land of the high mountain region generally kept fallow for one year to two years aiming to maintain soil fertility in a natural process. Remaining 18 per cent land was observed barren and partly snow covered (JAFTA, 2001). The present land use scenario, thus, tells us that the intensity of crop cultivation is very low and the agricultural production is often inadequate. However, it has high potential for medicinal herbs and curbs cultivation, cold-temperate horticulture development and for animal husbandry.

High Himalayan Region

This physiographic unit occupies about 15 percent of land area which is almost snow covered. The elevation of the unit ranges up to 7,000 meter with bended sedimentary hill range in the south. It composed of high to medium grade metamorphic rocks viz, granite, gneiss etc. snow line observed at 4,500 m. of elevation in the eastern and at 4,300 m. in the western part of the region. It is characterized by rocky landscape, ice-covered massifs, snowfields, valley glaciers and sweeping meadowlands with short and very few shrubs and curbs that have only 3-4 months life cycle. A small portion of land observed to use for cultivation in a primitive way. Human settlement found in a scattered form The landform components i.e., slope, altitude, bedrock structure, and relief features have directly influenced the intensity of land use and crop cultivation in various ways on different types of topographical features. So that the types, evolution and distribution pattern of human settlement, including other anthropogenic activities found to be closely associated with landform nature and characteristics. What is therefore evident that the geo-physical factors related to relief features, soil fertility, topography, hill slopes, depth of underlying materials etc. have been determined the present existing land use pattern in the region.

Land Use and Land Cover Change

Land use system of the study region has presented a strange picture of land utilization in the region. Data flourished from the two contrasting land use maps and the table (1) reveals that nearly 42 per cent of geographical area is under forest including pastureland, shrub land. Likewise more than 24 per cent is under barren and rocky land, about 18 per cent under snow covered land, nearly 12 percent under agricultural land, and rest 2 per cent under road, settlement and water bodies. Regarding sub-regional level, about 40 per cent of land area in mountain region is found under barren lands, 36 per cent snow covered 20 per cent forest, grasslands, shrubs and herbs, and around 31 per cent cultivable land.

In the hill region, forest covered area has the highest percentage of land area (58%) followed by cultivated land (13.99%), barren lands (12.05%), grass land (5.83%), shrubs land (4.50%), settlement and road (3.655%), and water bodies (0.26%). Similarly the tarai region consists of 52.15 per cent forest, 34.13 per cent cultivable land, 4.25 per cent settlement and roads, 3.34 per cent shrub lands 3.06 per cent barren lands, 2.16 per cent grassland, and 0.90 per cent water bodies. The physiographic features show that nearly 45 per cent of land area of the region is not economically suitable for cultivation and other purposes due to its complex and diversified terrain characteristics. Thus the land use is substantially low and the proportion further decreases towards the hill and mountain regions. Similarly, the proportion of forest and grasslands also contrasted from among the sub regions. It can be thus, stated that the land use pattern of the region has highly affected by topographical features, climatic variability and different sorts of anthropogenic activities in the region.

Land Use Change

Land use in the region experienced considerable change during the period of 1981-2001. It is established from the table 2 that forest, cultivated land and pasturelands were highly changed since the last twenty years. For example, agricultural land has been increased by 23.45 per cent while forest decreased by 5.62 per cent. Now, the proportionate change of pasture and barren lands during the period were at a net loss of 14.14 per cent and 15.3 per cent respectively. In case of road and settlement area, it increased by 20.35 per cent. Similarly, shrub land had also increased by 33.33 percent (Table-2).

It appears that about 83,000 ha. of forest converted into farming land, shrub land and for roads and settlements over the last twenty years and consequently large scale of deforestation took place in the region. When we are talking about the rate and intensity of agricultural land over forest has varied as being highest in the tarai as compared to other two regions. Conversely, use of pasture and barren lands for the same purpose was observed greater in hills than tarai and mountain regions. It is thus, implies that the change was largely brought out through the extension of cultivation on forests and barren lands in the region (Fig-4).

[FIGURE 4 OMITTED]

Regarding causative factors of land use changes, number of phenomena like population dynamics, methods of cultivation, government policies, local peoples' reported choice of land user's, extension of roads and other sorts of construction works, and poverty of the region were mostly responsible. Among them, growth of population was found to be the main reason that forces the conversion of forest land into agricultural lands and subsequent extension of farming activities in marginal lands which is intensively seen in Chum range. It is evident from the foregoing discussion that poverty and its allied factors are vital causes of land use changes in the study region where poor people are relying on forest and other natural resources for their livelihoods. Moreover, the government launched construction works such as road, dam etc have also been aggravated the rapid deterioration of environment in the region. After opening the Kohalpur-Surkhet road and extension of Mahendra Highway, many changes were noticed in land use practices. Location change of settlements, increasing volume of migration from hill and mountain regions to the tarai and inner tarai regions, malaria eradication and ever-increasing shortages of fuel, fodder and food in the mountain and hill regions were also found to be responsible factors for land use changes in the region (Singh and Pokhrel, 2002). Consequently, changing land use pattern induces immense effects to environment such as accelerated rate of erosion, degeneration, incidence of drought and floods, drying up of water springs, and depletion of water table. It is imperative from the discussion that the land use pattern and its change both are highly associated with physical, social, economic and technological factors in the region. It is noted that ever-growing population by 2.37 percent per year since the last three decades has led to the progressive deterioration of fragile ecology of the region. Because of the rapid deterioration of environment, different types of ill effects have noticed at different scale in various parts of the region.

Environmental Effects of Land Use Change

The foregoing discussion shows that the rapid changing land use from preservation of forest to development of cultivated land stimulated by an excessive human interference like reckless exploitation of natural resources, application of faulty method of cultivation and overgrazing have severely depleted the quality of land resources. For example, loss of forested area is one of the serious environmental threats to the region. It observed from the table-2 that during the period of last twenty years 83,000 ha of forest area was lost on an account of deforestation, which started along with malaria eradication and resettlement program since the late 1950s in the tarai of the region (Thapa, et.al. 1990). Onward 1960s it rose on in the course of meeting the growing demand of daily needs forest products, conservation of forest area into cropland and use for infrastructural development activities. The enactment of the nationalization of the forest in 1957 was a landmark in rapid deforestation in the Chure range and in the tarai region (Shrestha, 1999). Thus, the tarai region, of mid western region has suffered much more from the damage of forest-covered area. The most possible reasons would be the high rate of forest encroachments by migrated people from hills to tarai and inner tarai. Now, freely extraction of medicinal and aromatic plants is observed as vital cause to forest resource depletion in the region. Geographical region wise the situation is slightly differ in the hill due to positive impact of community forest activities (Singh and Pokhrel, 2003). It is, therefore, evident that the accelerating demographic pressure and government policy both are dominant factors that deplete forest resource rapidly in the region.

Another adverse effect of land use change is losing of organic top soil in the hill and mountain regions where terrace farming commonly practiced. The ever increasing rate of deforestation and the traditional method of cultivation have been observed to be a leading force for the accelerated rate of soil erosion and ultimately more than 5,100 tons of top soil per ha. is annually being transported to the Bay of Bengal as an unreturned ecological wealth loss of the region. Further, it is estimated that an average 15-30 cm rise in the riverbeds is annually taking place in the tarai part because of massive soil erosion in the hilly and mountain regions. The study of Ires and Messerli (1996) also corroborates this observation. The Karnali watershed region is unstable and destructive loses have increased the silt load of Karnali River. Furthermore, they presented their estimation on the annual silt load from the Karnali catchments area at the rate of 75 millions-m3 tones equivalent to a denudation rate of 1.7 million m3 per year. It is clear that lose of soil or damage to the ecological balance is human induced which might probably caused by human negligence. However, the most remarkable factors are seen deforestation, uncontrolled grazing and construction works. Pokhrel (2010) The construction of Kohalpur-Surkhet road found as the main causative factor to result landslides and sedimentation problems in many section of the road alignment area in geologically weak Siwalik range and steep hill slopes area of the region (Pokhrel,2010). Moreover, the rate of soil erosion is proportional to the density of road network in the region (fig-5).

Water resource depletion is next one vulnerable effects of land use change in the region. The extensive rate of deforestation in the Mahabharat and Siwalik regions has resulted into drying up of several water springs, natural wells and water out points that were important sources of water over the decades. The water shortages of West Rapti and Babai rivers during the winter season observed to be increased due to rabid deterioration of water source points in the upper parts of the region (NPC, 2010). At the time of field, study (2008) local people reported that the time spent and travel distance for fetching drinking water has increased by one and half hours in the last twenty years in the hill region. At the same time, ground water table in the tarai had found to deplete at the rate of 1.40 m with wide variation between east and west zones of the mid west tarai (DOI,2005). All these evidences show that sources of water supply i. e., local water springs, natural wells, tube wells, water out points have affected by the land use dynamics. Further, water was observed to be highly polluted from the land use changes in the region.

Desertification process in geologically weak inner mountain valleys and Siwalik range were found to be suffered from the adverse effect of land use changes. Most of the land area of the Siwalik range and Inner valley is not fit for cultivation but fit for pastureland and dense forest preservation. However, the increasing pressure of population has forced people to extend crop farming on marginal lands, steep hill slopes, and dipper into the forest that brought out numerous ecological hazards and natural disasters in inner valleys and Siwalik range.

[FIGURE 5 OMITTED]

These degraded landforms have further aggravated by the climatic variability as extreme cold climate, drought, flood irregular monsoon and sporadic rainfall. Consequently, about 10,000 ha- of land area has deserted in mountain valleys like Dolpa, Mugu and Humla as well as in the Siwalik region of Dang Koilabas.

Conclusion

Forgoing discussion permits to say that there is close relationship between landforms, land use pattern and land use dynamics that we needs to appropriately plan, harness, conserve, and utilize for an optimum utilization of land resources in the region. It is evident that the land use pattern of the region is rapidly changing due to ever-growing pressure of population on land resources and subsequently has led to progressive deterioration of environmental quality of the region. Apparently, anthropogenic activities acted as the responsible factors to over all environmental degradation in mid western region. Thus, government efforts are needed to reevaluate and to re-plan for the scientific land use practices in different types of land forms in order to maximize the productivity of available land resources and to minimize the ill effects of land use and land use changes on local environment. Severely deteriorated biophysical environment of the region by excessive soil erosion, ruthless deforestation and rapidly deterioration of water resources clearly indicate the urgent need to save the geo-ecology through people's participation in land resource planning, conservation and development.

It is therefore, measures are required to change and re-plan the land use system from tradition to new one in order to integrate conservation of regional environments and improvement of livelihoods of the locals by adopting scientific land use planning to restore and preserve ecological balance on the road to sustainable development of the region. Ecological balance with proper care of nature could be appropriate possible measures through application of new philosophy of planning i.e., bottom up approach and modern techniques of resource development that integrate not only conservation and development, intensify the forest, pasture and farm lands utilization but also match the regional economy and ecology in a single window working system.

In above background, it can safely be concluded that the integrated resource utilization, conservation strategies and effective policy could prove fruitful for the sustainable use of land resources through productive participation of local communities in resource planning, conservation and development. For this grass roots effort, watershed management policy has to be framed and implemented to save the livelihood resource base of local communities and to maintain ecological balance in the region.

Acknowledgement

Author would like to express his deep sense of gratitude to Professor Bhim Prasad Subedi for his reflective comments and valuable suggestions.

References

CBS. 1998. A Compendium on Environment Statistics, 1998, Nepal, Kathmandu: CBS-N-PC,

Dikshit, K.R. 1998. Trends in Geomorphology, Key Note Address, in S. Singh and R. C. Tiwari (Eds), Geomorphology and Development, Allahbad: The Allah bad, Geographical Society.

Ires Jack, D. and Messerli. 1996. The Himalayan Dilemma, Reconciling Development and Conservation London : the UNS University, Rutledge,

John, D. P. 1999. Ecosystem Management for Sustainability Principles and Practices. New York:, Lewis publishers,

J.A.F.T.A. 2001. .Activity Report of Wide Area Tropical Forest Resources Survey, Kingdom of Nepal, Katmandu. Katmandu: Information System Development Project, Japan Forest Technology Association,

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Lambin, C.F., et. al. 2001. "The Causes of Land Use and land Cover Changes: Moving Beyond the Myths" in Global Environment Change, Human and Policy Dimensions Vol. 11,: 261-169

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Pokhrel, K.P. 2010. Environment and Development Practice in Nepal: A Geographical Analysis Bank: EDRC

Pokhrel, K.P. 2004. Local Efforts on Resource Conservation and Eco-development: A Case Study of Mid Western Development Region Nepa. Vanarasi: unpublished Ph.D. Thesis, BHU, India

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* This paper was presented on XXV Congress of Indian Geographers hem on 27-29 December 2009, in Allahabad, India
Table 1: Land Use System in MWDR by Sub-regions (Area in hectares)

Land Use            Mountain Area        Hill Area
Indicators          %                    %

Agriculture            68,769     3.21    1,99,545   13.99
forest               2,16,530    10.11    8,23,983   57.76
Pastureland          1,70,131     7.94      83,207    5.83
Shrub land             40,215     1.88      64,207    4.50
Road & Settlement      15,483     0.72      52,053    3.15
Barren Land          8,65,532    40.42    1,71,828   12.05
snow covered         7,61,556    35.56      27,701    1.94
water Bodies            3,139     0.15       3,804    0.26
Total               21,41,355    50.31   14,26,325   33.51

Land Use            Tarai              MWDR Area
Indicators          Area %             %

Agriculture         2,34,918   34.27    5,03,232    11.82
forest              3,58,919   52.15   13,99,429    32.88
Pastureland           14,838    2.16    2,68,176     6.30
Shrub land            22,994    3.34    1,27,416     2.99
Road & Settlement     29,300    4.25      96,836     2.28
Barren Land           21,095    3.06   10,58,455    24.87
snow covered           00.00   00.00    7,89,257    18.54
water Bodies           6,198    0.90      13,141     0.30
Total               6,88,262   16.18   42,55,942   100.00

Source: Topographical Map, 1998; JAFTA, 2001

Table2: Land Use Change in MWDR, 1981-2001 (in percent)

Land Use            Area in   Area      Change       Change      Annual
Indicators          1981      in 2001   between      direction   Change
                    (%)       (%)       1981-01(%)   (%)         Rate

Cultivated land     9.57      11.82     23.45        +Ve 2.25    3.34
Forest land         34.84     32.88     5.62         -Ve 1.96    1.30
Pasture land        7.34      6.30      14.14        -Ve 1.04    1.70
shrub land          2.24      2.99      33.33        +Ve 0.75    15.06
Barren/Rocky land   25.26     24.87     1.53         -Ve 0.39    0.72
Snow covered        18.55     18.54     0.23N        -Ve 0.01    0.09
Road -Settlement    1.89      2.28      20.33        +Ve 0.39    7.18

Source: CBS, 1981, JFTA, 2001
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Title Annotation:RESEARCH NOTES
Author:Pokhrel, Kabi Prasad
Publication:Contributions to Nepalese Studies
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9NEPA
Date:Jan 1, 2012
Words:5744
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