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Himalayan Journal of Sciences Volume 1, Issue 2, July 2003 Mainali, Kumar P Jul 31, 2003

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Volume 1
Issue 2
July 2003
ISSN 1727 5210
Himalayan journal of Sciences
Volume 1, Issue 2, July 2003
Pages: viii-xiv + 69-139
(Cover story: p 87,103)
Renovation and reconstruction of universities
The first and foremost responsibility of a university
is to meet the needs of society
Sanjay N Khanal
Page 69
Flood of discoveries in Nepal!
Access to full text of world's 7000 leading journals
will revalue the role ofTUCL
Krishna M Bhandary
Page 71
Marketing science journals
The wide circulation ofajournal is as important as
its publication
Bharat B Shrestha
Page 71
WTO casts a shadow over Nepal's natural
Can't live with it, can't live without it. Confused?
The golden rule: Economic priorities should not be
allowed to outweigh environmental imperatives
Krishna Roka
Page 72
Basket case science, basket case society
The utter failure of science in Nepal is built into our
own system
Udayaraj Khanal
Page 77
Reasoning for results
A huge collection of data is nothing if we cannot
make a hypothesis. Thinking over the result is as
important as getting the data
Dennis Bray
Page 79
Direct payments to conserve biodiversity
Sometimes it pays to buy what you want rather
than try to finesse it
Paul J Ferraro and Agnes Kiss
Page 81
Biodiversity update — Progress in taxonomy
Global inventory of life can facilitate reconstruction
of'Tree of life'
Stephen Blackmore
Page 83
Rampant poaching, bleak
situation, what next? p 73
Himalayan lournal of
scientific information for 1tte advancement of society
Published by
Himalayan Journal
Publishing Group,
Lalitpur, Nepal
Poaching: Get a grip on it
To prevent wildlife trade, we are limited by our defective activity
Page 73
Why we must fight biopiracy
Through the subtle process ofreverse technology transfer,'rich countries are benefiting unjustly from the
knowledge and technology of poor countries
Martin Khor
SCIENCES)      Pa§e74
Menacing food commodities
Escalating trends of fraudulent practice
in food business has penetrated
the 'wholefood chain'
Rajendra Uprety
Page 75
special announcement
The Rolwaling Mountain Legacy Institute
Mountain Legacy, creater of The Hilary Medal,
purposes a bold initiative in integrated research and
Page 85
 Don't just pile up data;
contemplate your results
research papers
Evaluation of cultivars and land races of Oryzasativalor
restoring and maintaining wild abortive cytoplasm
BalKJoshi, Laxmi P Subedi, Santa B Gurung and Ram C Sharma
Page 87-91
Assessing the land cover situation in Surkhang, Upper
Mustang, Nepal, using an ASTER image
Benktesh D Sharma, fan Clevers, Reitze De Graafand Nawa R
Chapagain, Page 93-98
Effect of gibberellic acid on reserve food mobilization of maize
(Zea mays L. var Arun-2) endosperm during germination
Chandra KSubedi and Tribikram Bhattarai, Page 99-102
GIS-based flood risk zoning of the Khando river basin in the
Terai region of east Nepal
Keshav P Sharma, Naba R Adhikari, PawanKGhimire and Prem S
Chapagain, Page 103-106
Identifying fertility-restoring
and sterility maintaining rice
varieties, p 87
Constructing species-level
phylogenetic reltionship is
seriously hampered by
lagging inventory of life, p 83
Physiochemical characteristics of soil in tropical sal (Shorea
robusta Gaertn.) forests in eastern Nepal
Shishir Paudel andJayPSah, Page 107-110
Control of flea beetle, Phyllotreta nemorumL (Coleoptera:
Chrysomelidae) using locally available natural resources
IndraPSubedi and KaminiVaidya, Page 111-114
Surface modification of polycarbonate (bisphenol A) by low
pressure rf plasma
Deepak P Subedi, Lenka Zajickova, Vilma Bursikova andjanjanca,
Page 115-118
Hydrogeological conditions in the southern part of Dang valley,
mid-western Nepal
Birendra Sapkota, Page 119-122
Silica gel chromatographic study of phenolic compounds in
some cultivated cucurbits
Suresh NBaitha andVijoySPandey, Page 123-125
Invasive alien species can
disrupt ecosystems and
threaten our native
biodiversity p 129
GIS-based analysis finds 26
VDCs in Khando river basin in
Saptari under severe threat of
flood, p 103
Quercus semecarpifoliaSm. in the Himalayan region: Ecology,
exploitation and threats
BharatBShrestha,Page 126-128
Invasive alien plants and Eupatoriunr. Biodiversity and
RipuM Kunwar, Page 129-133
National Seminar on Natural Resource Management
November 6-7, 2003; Kartik 20-21, 2060; Biratnagar, Nepal
Page 134
Mighty oaks are over-
exploited andfailing to
regenerate adequately; how
to help them, p 126
 In this issue
H  I M A.L A V A N
It's us!
Anatomy of globalization
Knowledge and technology may seem to
have a unidirectional flow: from developed
to developing countries. However, indigenous knowledge and technology is flowing
in the reverse direction. The knowledge
people have gained over centuries and millennia is being patented by the companies
and institutions of developed countries. Increasingly, developing countries will have to
pay huge sums to foreign patent-holders
for products made on the basis of their own
indigenous knowledge. Martin Khor (page
74) spells out the consequences of the latest
neocolonial rip-off. [COMMENTARY]
Jump-starting germination with
gibberellic acid
The major storage materials in seeds are
carbohydrate, protein and lipid (fat). Soon
after germination, the young root and shoot
system begin to consume storage materials
because the leaves essentials for
photosynthesis are not developed yet.
During germination, reserve food from the
endosperm is mobilized to the growth axis.
Greatermobilizationoffood materials from
endosperm to the growth axis ensures a
higherrate of successful germination. Many
researchers have reported the stimulation
of endosperm processes through the
application of exogenous gibberellic acid
(GAj). Subedi and Bhattarai (page 99) have
found that in the early hours of germination,
dry matter in the growth axis decreased in
untreated plants, and remained the same in
plants treated with a 100 mg/1 solution of
GA^ It increased in plants treated with 1
mg/1 GA,. [RESEARCH]
It is quite obvious that science in Nepal is
going nowhere fast. Many people maintain
that the government and politicians are fully
ormainlyresponsible forthis quandary. But
Khanal (page 77) goes beyond that to find
out deeper causes. Surprisingly, he finds that
politicians are indeed involved, but that
scientists are pulling the strings. [ESSAY]
Low-pressure radio frequency
discharge  treatment of polymers
The use of polymers in fields such as thin
film technology, adhesion, biomaterials,
protective coatings and microelectronics
devices, has been increasing rapidly since
the past few decades. Special surface
properties such as chemical composition,
hydrophilicity, roughness, crystallinity and
cross linking, are required for the success of
these applications. Most polymers do not
normally possess these properties, which
makes surface modification an essential
process. Several methods have been
developed for the treatment of polymers to
enhance their surface properties. Some of
the more common techniques of surface
modification are: wet chemical treatments;
mechanical roughening; and treatments with
flame, corona, plasmas, photons, electrons,
ion-beams, X-rays and y-rays. Treatment of
polymers with low temperature plasma has
several advantages over other methods of
treatment. Subedi et al. (page 115) discuss
the treatment of polycarbonate in low-
pressure radio frequency discharge. The
change in surface properties is characterized
in terms of surface free energy, adhesion to
thin films and atomic concentrations. The
surface free energy is determined by means
of contact angle measurement; adhesion is
measured by the peel tape test; and atomic
concentrations are determined by X-ray
photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). All three
diagnostic techniques show a significant
enhancement of surface properties.
You get what you pay for
The most prevalent strategies for conservation of biodiversity in developing nations
have entailed indirect incentives to protect
natural resources. Examples are support of
communityforestry and ecotourism; theoretically, such projects should open up sustainable economic opportunities that result
in a collective interest in protecting the environment. Unfortunately, the efforts have
not lived up to expectations. On the other
hand, some conservation initiatives have involved a much more direct approach: land
rights are bought or leased and the environment is protected. Ferraro and Kiss
(page 81) argue that such strategies are in
many cases both cost effective and ethically acceptable.
New rice hybrids on the horizon
Experiences in China, India and Vietnam
have established that hybrids offer an
economicallymore viable option to increase
rice yield than semi-dwarf cultivars, which
are developed by selfing for 10-12 years.
Some varieties of rice contain a 'restorer gene'
which can pass through gametes to its
offspring. Embryo developed only from such
gamete in crossing programme using male
sterile lines can give rise to plants capable of
bearing seeds. Such varieties are important
for farmers. Some other varieties of rice
contain a 'maintainer gene'. Embryo
developed from gametes containing this
gene gives rise to male sterile plant. Such
plants are important to breeders since
manual hybridization is rather difficult. Joshi
et al. (page 87) have identified five fertility-
restoring rice varieties and four with sterility
maintaining ability, both rare in rice
populations of Nepal These lines can be used
to develop potential hybrids suitable for a
variety of agro-ecological regions.
Cutting edge cartography reaches Upper Mustang
Land cover mapping is the process of recording and representing cartographically data
regarding the land resources of a given area. In recent years, GIS (geographic information
systems) digital image classification techniques have gained acceptance for their versatility,
reliability, cost-effectiveness. Most previous studies of land cover have been based on
aerial photo interpretation. The availability of high-resolution satellite images has made
land cover mappingfor resource management possible at all scales. Sharma et al. (page 93)
evaluate the feasibility of using satellite imagery for land cover mapping in Upper Mustang.
They also show how a digital elevation model derived from satellite imagery can be applied
to the analysis of variation in landscape and vegetation. [RESEARCH]
Renovation and reconstruction of universities
The first and foremost responsibility of a university is
to meet the needs of society
Sanjay N Khanal
Universities can be characterized in terms of three philosophical missions. British universities and their
derivatives focus on the pursuit of truth, the development of intellectual capabilities and an atmosphere
of profound academic freedom. Humboldt's university focuses on research and free exploration of
truth, and their application. The Wisconsin model is based on service to society. Present-day universities, particularly in the developing world, should embrace all these concepts in their development and
function. Major challenges to this objective include the brain
drain, lack of funds, lack of tradition, and instability.
In addition to producing skilled professionals, universities should focus their academic programme and research Society's progress depends largely on the
initiatives on the needs oftheir own societies, advancing science exploration and application of ideas. World-
and technology as part of the national developmental strategy .. ... .. ,
11. .. .. A .   ..   .     i.     i wide, universities are the chief sources of
at the same time as they conserve and promote their cultural ' ouui«.co «■
and traditional heritages. Respected faculty, international stu- these ideas. Lagging development is inevi-
dent body, research of regional and global significance, service ^ |jnked tQ ,   developed academic
to the national development agenda: these are the cornerstones
of a great university. A huge volume of resources, strong com- institutions. The problem is not just lack of
mitment and clear policies are required to mold and maintain adequate resources. Universities must be
high academic standards. A university should foster an exchange .
of ideas at all levels and incorporate awide range of disciplines. committed to the free exchange of ideas,
Autonomy, both academic and administrative, is an- tolerance of dissenting thought, incorpora-
other core feature of the university. Freedom from govern- tjon Qf ^ ^^ jb|e Qf djscj.
ment and other social institutions will generate eftective per- r J
formance. Self-governance could be ensured by outstanding plines, and a dedication to both personal
performance, regular evaluations, and upgrading of standards. arowth and national service
Decentralized and transparent decision-making generates trust
in the university and facilitates development of functions suitable to local needs. Coordination among different schools, departments and colleges is needed to achieve the goals of the university. In the developing countries, this might be a
difficult proposition. However, appropriate governing laws and financial freedom may help improve the situations.
Institutions such as university grant commissions and academies may serve as buffer or lubricating mechanisms.
Accreditation associations, academic or professional societies and other types of associations could be additional
mechanisms to monitor and maintain academic standards and academic autonomy. Allocation of development funds
and scholarships from the government and international organizations will help strengthen the capacities of the
Tolerance of critical thinking is essential. There should be no discriminations on any basis including differences of thinking and doctrines to pursue truth among and between academic and administrative professionals along
with the students. The freedom to the faculty to conduct research, to teach and to publish promotes and ensures the
quality of the individual institution and that of the system as a whole. Academic activities conducted in an easy, free and
open environment are invariably seen to produce better results. However, we must not forget that excessive freedom
may lead to the breakdown of discipline and order.
Development of an international standard university is a long-term process achieved through a strategic
plan. Equally important is the understanding of the societies about its nature and functions. Students, faculty, and staff
as well as government officials and citizens share equal responsibility. It is high time that we all focus our energy on this
endeavor. ■
Sanjay N Khanal is an associate professor at Department of Biological Sciences and Environmental Science,
Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal.
E-mail: khanalsanjaynp@yahoo. com
Flood of discoveries in Nepal!
Access to full text of world's 7000 leading journals
will revalue the role of TUCL
Krishna M Bhandary
that research is to see what everybody else has
seen and to think what nobody else has
thought. And, thinking to generate new ideas
should always be preceded by looking at the
generated ideas. Since new knowledge is
mostly announced viajournals, they are indispensable components for scientists and experts both to get generated knowledge and to
publish their new ones. Recently, there has
been a remarkable progress in the former in
In February 2003 the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
(INASP), a cooperative network established in
1992 by the International Council for Science
(ICSU) as a programme of the Committee for the
Dissemination of Scientific Information (CDS!),
nominated Tribhuvan University Central Library (TUCL) as National Coordinating Institute
for the implementation of its Program for Enhancement of Research Information (PERI). The
purpose of this collaboration is availability of
new knowledge in digital form to Nepal.
After the PERI is fully implemented in
September 2003, the full texts of 7,000 schol-
arlyjournals as well as abstracts and contents
of 20,000 journals from around the world will
be accessible at TUCL and certain other centres designated by TUCL. Thejournals are primarily technical, and represent a broad range
of scientific fields, including medicine, agriculture, forestry, natural resource management,
and engineering, as well as other fields in the
social sciences, humanities and business administration.
As the increasing gap between haves
and have-nots poses an increasing threat to
world stability, it is essential that Nepal and
other developing countries take steps to
List of selected PERI tesoutces fot Nepal
strengthen their scientific base. Researchers,
academicians and students in Nepal are expected to benefit greatly from the program. At
present, they cannot purchase subscriptions
to western journals even if they wish to. This
availability of full-text database can radically
alter the way they think and the way they conduct research, eventually leading to better designed research projects and to more productive application of established ideas. To a significant extent, this program is expected to fulfil the demand for research results in Nepal.
The information resources of PERI
would normally cost over one million pounds
sterling. PERI pays this sum to the publishers.
These resources have been made available to
us for £27,500. INASP has made arrangements
with Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DMFA)
to cover costs for 2003. Bravo, DMFA! Although
there is some hope of obtaining funding for
2004 and 2005 from DMFA and the International Department for Foreign Affairs (DFID),
it would be wisest to think consider how costs
can be met if donors do not materialize. Once
the information resource is available, TUCL can
offer access to other institutions at no further
cost. TUCL is working out details for extension
of access to all libraries, research institutions,
colleges and not-for-profit educational institutes throughout Nepal.
Promoting quality publications in the
countries where the programmme is implemented is also one of the objectives of PERI
which puts them on its website for worldwide
dissemination. This would benefit Nepalese
publication to get international recognition. ■
Krishna MBhandary is librarian ofTribh uvan
University Central Library, Kathmandu, Nepal.
E-mail: tucl@>
EBSCO Full text of 6000journals; abstract and content of 7300journals in
all branches of science, technology, medicine, social science,
Blackwell Synergy
Springer Verlag
Full text of over 600 leading journals in natural, physical, and
social sciences; technology; medicine; and the humanities
Full text of 432 high-quality journals in many disciplines
Oxford University
Full text of over 120 leading journals in science, technology,
medicine, humanities and social science
Emerald Full text of 100 journals in marketing, business, engineering,
material science
CAB Compendium
Many journals in agriculture, forestry, management, and
conservation of natural resources
Cochrane Library Good resource for medical and health science
science journals
The wide circulation of a
journal is as important as
its publication
Bharat B Shrestha
generated every year in the field of science and
technology. Many scientists from different
countries are working on similar topics either in
co-operation or independently. The research
findings of one scientist are important for others in solving many problems. Research communication also avoids overlap in research and
saves time and resources. The exchange of information and ideas among them is very important to achieve goals earlier. Regular meeting between them is, however, impossible.
Publication in electronic media or in printed
form (e.g.journals) andwide circulation is the
most appropriate means of communication.
Primary information is mostly fragmentary.
These fragments should be distributed to the
interested peoples. Research results will not
have any meaning unless they are published
and circulated. A good journal is a forum in
which peoples from different regions can communicate, share ideas, discuss and solve problems.
There are a large number of goodjour-
nals in the international market but very few
have found their place in libraries of our university and research centers. This terrible lack
of access to suchjournals hampers our research
and education although their availability is not
going to make a great contribution to our research and development. This is because there
is a huge gap between the studies addressed
by suchjournals and those conducted by our
scientists. Journals published in Nepal are
therefore critically important, for they can be a
platform for our scientists.
When we count the number of science
journals published in Nepal, perhaps we are not
poor. This is good news. But the bad news is that
many of them are very poor in quality, irregular
in publication and have very limited distribution. They are printed on low-grade paper with
a short lifespan. Many annualjournals are published at an interval of several years. For many
journals a single issue becomes the first and last.
The Ministry of Science and Technology published the first issue of Scientific Worldin 1999 and
a second issue has not appeared yet!
Limited distribution of publishedjour-
nals is a major problem in scientific communication. Ajournal is published, piled up in the
publisher's office and ultimately damaged by
silverflsh or sold to a paper collector as waste
paper. A better approach can be sale at reduced
price or free distribution to interested people.
The proceedings of the first (1988) and second '
(1992) National Science Conference organized
by RONAST were distributed free of cost to
participants of Third National Conference in
1999. Although reduced sales undermine the
aim of publication, there is another aspect to
this problem. The author visited the office of
the dean of the Institute of Science and Technology (IOST, TU) to collect the recent issue of
the journal ofInstitute ofScience and Technology. But the store keeper said that he could not
give out the journal because it had not been
decided to distribute or sell it, even a month
after publication. The same was the case with
Banko janakari, published by the Forest Research and Information Service Center
(FRISC). Science Reporter, published by the
National Institute of Science Communication
and Information Resource (India), is available
in the shops of Nepal; why not the publications
If we cannot ensure that ajournal is economically self-sustaining, we can know that it
is going to perish soon. Peoples are realizing the
importance of publication and the number of
readers and customer is increasing. Researchers are facing difficult problems and have to
waste more time getting information. If it is easily available in time they do not hesitate to pay
a minimal price. So the first thing to do is to improve the quality of journals in content and
printing. Articles should be reliable and reviewed by experts. A good journal has an expanding market and people can pay a reasonable price. Sometimes it may be necessary to
encourage people to buy thejournals by highlighting its significance. Journals and other
publications of government organizations are
distributed free of cost but are not available to
all interested people. If you do not have a close
relation with officials you have to request several times to get a single copy, and sometimes
even thenyou will not succeed! This situation
needs to be corrected promptly. If they are
published in sufficient number, sold at price
that reflects their actual cost, and made available on the public market (e.g. in book shops)
thejournals will not lose money, and interested
people can get information easily. For this it is
necessary to improve the distribution system.
Books andjournals published by ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain
Development), IUCN (International Union for
Nature Conservation), NEFAS (NepalFoundation for Advanced Studies) and other organizations are easily available in bookstores, but
why not journals published by RONAST, ministry and TU? Major journals published by
ministries, RONAST and TU should find a place
in every library at academic institutions, research centers, NGOs and INGOs. Publishers
can use existing book distributors to make
them available to the general public. And, one
important thing that is to be remembered from
time to time is that ajournal not available to
those who want and need it is not worth publishing. ■
BharatB Shrestha is a teaching assistant at
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan
University. E-mail: bhabashre@yahoo. com
WTO casts a shadow over
Nepal's natural legacy
Can't live with it, can't live without it. Confused?
The golden rule: Economic priorities should not be
allowed to outweigh environmental imperatives
Krishna Roka
turmoil, the major debate in our news media
focuses on the issue of when Nepal should become a member of the WorldTrade Organization (WTO). Globalization has erased boundaries among nations through economic, social,
and environmental unification. This is a case
of "can't live with it, can't live without it." The
real question here involves the environmental
consequences if Nepal does open its doors, for
globalization has paradoxically brought forth
new problems rather than solving old ones. The
Northern bloc has long squandered the resources of developing countries in the name of
economic progress.
Globalization in effect is not a single process but a concatenation of developments involving infrastructure enhancement; economic
reforms, trade and market access, resource extraction, production and distribution of goods,
and so on. The main thrust of globalization is to
increase trade by increasing production. The
expansion of urban societies has increased the
demand for forest goods, from timber and pulp
to medicinal plant, putting ever greater pressure
on forest ecosystems. In recent decades, the
pressures have intensified. Growing appetites
for forest and agricultural products are driving
logging and conversion. The Philippines' loss of
90% of its primary forest duringthe timber boom
of the 1970s is a clear example of our shortsightedness (I). The loss started after the Second
WorldWar.Timberfrom the Philippineswas supplied to markets in Europe and Japan after World
War II, as war-ravaged countries rebuilt. Every
year, forested areas four times the size of Switzerland are cleared worldwide (2). Foreign investment in logging, mining, and energy contributes to this deforestation. These enterprises
are the wheels on which the globalization juggernaut careens around the world.
Under the circumstances, Nepal must
think twice before opening its borders. As Nobel
laureate andformer chief economist ofthe World
Bank Joseph Stiglitz says, "the borderless world
through which goods and services flow is also a
borderlessworld through which otherthings can
flow that are less positive". Economic priorities
should not be allowed to outweigh environmental imperatives. The greatest threat posedby globalization may be in the field of intellectual
property rights (IPR). According to WTO rules,
foreign companies and individuals may patent
products and processes on which Nepalese livelihoods have depended for centuries.
Multinational companies (MNCs) are
prying on developing countries with less effective central authority, gaining access to their assets with little effort. Taking advantage ofthe
situation, they swiftly take over the country's
business sector in their control. For the MNCs,
economic return is all that matters; their role in
squandering natural resources has become a
sore point in many developing nations.
With economic liberalization, borders
are open for the free exchange of ideas, culture,
and technology. Via satellite, western products
have flooded the screens of developing countries. Traditional ways have been transformed,
as we have opted for a McDonaldized (urbanized) culture. McDonaldization ofthe society
demands more food that both aggravates economic problems and increases pressure on the
environment. Traditional agricultural practices
have proven inefficient in meeting modern
demands. Farmers have adapted to using excessive amount of chemical fertilizers and pesticides; the initial gains in production, however,
have been followed by rapid declines, and increased dependence on chemical inputs. The
damage to the soil has been incalculable.
In view of these facts, Nepal must proceed with caution, making every effort to distinguish short-term from long-term advantages , in order to minimize the adverse impacts
of globalization. Although we boast of our
wealth of biodiversity, the details are unknown.
Myriad species are still undocumented and
may wind up in the hands of MNCs. We should
learn the lesson from past developmental activities (roads, dams, and so on) undertaken
without environmental impact analysis: once
we fritter away our resources they are lost forever. Nepal should formulate its own policies
and regulations regarding patenting and extraction. Joining the WTO can and should be
delayed until completion of this groundwork.
Nature is Nepal's trump card, and we should
play it wisely. ■
For correspondence to the author,
1) JNAbramovitz. 1998. Taking a stand: Cultivating a
new relationship with the world's forests [WorldWatch
2) MVallianatosand ADurbin.1998. Licence to loot: The
MAIandhowtostop it. Washington DC: Friends ofthe
Earth 49 p
Poaching: Get a grip on it
To prevent wildlife trade, we are limited by our
defective activity
Ravi S Aryal
One of the causes of critical species depletion in the world is the increasing
demand for wildlife products. Poaching, for example of rhinoceros, has long
been rampant in Nepal, and has recently been facilitated by the reordered priorities and shifting constraints of the current emergency. The best hope for
stopping or reducing the illegal exploitation of protected species lies in the empowerment and involvement of local people in conservation work. Better training, modern communication equipment, and reorganization of the anti-poach-
ing units would prove beneficial in reversing a disturbing trend that threatens to
undo even the limited successes of the past three decades of conservation.
Poaching and illegal trade in endangered species and products
made from them are serious
problems in biodiversity conservation, second only to habitat destruction. Exploitation of "protected" wildlife for profit is not a recent phenomenon.
Despite strict legislation, rhino horns, tiger
and leopard skins, bones and other animal
parts are as profitable as narcotic drugs in
international markets. The rapid expansion
of human population and, concomitantly,
of transport and communication systems
have contributed to an increase in the scope
of this exploitation. Increasing demand for
wildlife products and increasingly ruthless
means of supplying them have led to critical species depletions around the world.
The 1973 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild
Fauna and Hora (CITES), seeks international
co-operation to protect listed wildlife species against over-exploitation, including their
trade. Nepal as a party to CITES has an obligation to control the trade of products
made from any parts of wildlife that
are protected, endangered or
threatened with extinction. The
present status of wildlife poaching and trade in Nepal is most
alarming {1, 2). Among
mammals, the rhino seems
to have been most affected by the emergency period in
Nepal. Most rhino
deaths are attributable to
' horn is in
great      de
mand primarily as an aphrodisiac, and (in
Arab countries) for carved scabbards. In 2000
the Department of National Parks andWild-
life Conservation reported a total of 612 rhinoceros in Nepal (2, 3). In July 15,2000-July
14,2001 the official tally of deaths, both natural and by poaching, was 30; 55 rhino deaths
were reported for July 15,2001 -July 14,2002.
For July 15, 2002-July 14, 2003, the unpublished tally of rhinoceros killed by poachers
in Chitwan and Bardiya is 55. The figures
represent a fatality rate of nearly 17% for
the period July 15,2001-July 14, 2002, compared with a birthrate of approximately 3.7%
(3). The real death rate is probably twice as
high as the reported incidence.
Is there any prospect of checking the
slaughter? Yes, there is hope. For example,
38 army posts in Royal Chitwan National
Park were cut back to nine in response to
the Maoist insurgency (2). Park range posts
and patrolling activities were reduced because of factors such as lack of security,
budget reduction, and lack of supervision
from higher authority; such security measures occurred in most protected areas of
Nepal. By the start of 2002 rhino poaching
had increased substantially, threatening the
sustainability of Nepal's notably successful
rhino conservation.What happened? Bsach-
ers simply felt more comfortable. Their activity has been facilitated by the reduced
numbers of people in the park, and especially by the fact that the wardens responsible for protecting wildlife have been afraid
to patrol and take open action against
poachers or wildlife traders.
It is well known that the dirty work of
poaching in Nepal is carried out by some
local residents employed by local businessmen. To reduce the incidence of poaching,
it is imperative to empower local commu-
nities. Buffer Zone Management Committees as well as Community Forests Users'
Groups and Conservation Areas Committees are examples of proven forest management regimes which have effectively
controlled wildlife poaching by taking responsibility, protecting rights, and sharing
benefits at the community level. The community can and should be involved in conservation work within the protected area,
which includes informing authorities of illegal activities. Once basic needs are met these
communities will be cooperative with conservation programmes.
The next step that must be taken in
order to control poaching is redeployment
of the Army in all the previously designated
posts inside the National Park. Range posts,
personnel and logistical support must also
be re-established. Nepal's open border with
India, and the lack of specific legislation and
co-ordination between the concerned authorities continue to hinder the task of combating wildlife trade. Lack of commitment
among the implementing officials is a major hurdle to stop the wildlife trade. We need
trained officials equipped with modern
communication equipment. The structure
and functioning of anti-poaching units is defective, as they generally involve informants
who were once poachers themselves. Such
people have a tendency to revert to their
previous activities when conditions seem
more propitious, thereby sharing their
insider's knowledge and skills with illegal traffickers. In reality it is helping to wildlife traders for doing their business easily. What we
need is a new kind anti-poaching unit, involving both outside experts and local oversight. Ultimately, the best solution is to convince the consumers of illegal wildlife products that their consumption can lead to the
extinction ofthe animals, thereby reducing
the demand that drives the entire industry
(4). Finally, we need a strong law and its effective enforcement that will strike a balance between utilitarian value and protecting wildlife for their own intrinsic value. A
law with teeth. ■
Ravi S Aryal is associated with the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, Kathmandu, Nepal.
1) RS Aryal. 2002. Wildlife trade in Nepal.
Environmental): 1-5
2) DNPWC. 2001.Annualreport2000-2001.
Kathmandu: Department of National Parks and
Wildlife Conservation, HMGN. 37 p
3) DNPWC. 2000. Count rhino report2000
[unpublished report]. Kathmandu: Department
of National Parks andWildlife Conservation,
HMGN. 8 p
4) RS Aryal. 2002. Nepal Chapter. In: Mottershead
T (ed), Environment law and enforcement in the
AsiaPacific rim. Hong Kong: Sweet and Maxwell
Asia, p 293-322
This would enable countries of origin either
to prevent such patent applications, or to
require benefit-sharing arrangements with
the applicants. Developed countries should
support — not block — this proposal.
As part ofthe implementation ofthe
Convention on Biological Diversity, developing countries should also establish national arrangements for collecting and using biological resources and the knowledge
associated with them, as well as for sharing
the benefits from any commercial transactions with those communities which have
developed this knowledge.
Unfortunately current efforts by individual countries to review their national
laws on intellectual property, in order to
bring them in line with their obligations under the TRIPS agreement, is likely to accelerate the biopiracy phenomenon. For this
process now requires countries that previously forbade the patenting of life to allow
patents on certain types of organisms and
living processes.
With careful and intelligent legal and
policy choices, developing countries can
avoid some of the worst dangers that can
arise from the implementation of their obligations under TRIPS. In the long run, however, a fundamental revision of multilateral
trade rules is essential if the injustice
inflicted by biopiracy on local communities
and their indigenous knowledge is to be
corrected. ■
Reptinted with petmission from SciDev.Net, 23
August 2002. Copytight © 2002 by The Science
and Development Netwotk. All tights tesetved.
* Sub-title and summary not from
SciDev.Net; added with the permission by
Himalayan Journal of Sciences
Martin Khor is director of the Third World
Network — a non-profit international network that researches, publishes on, and organises events about issues relating to development — which is based in Malaysia.
This article is available online at
The Science and Development Network
(SciDev.Net) aims to enhance the provision
of reliable and authoritative information on
science- and technology-related issues that
impact on the economic and social development of developing countries. It is supported by the scientificjournals JVarure and
Science, both of which have agreed to provide free access to a selected articles every
Menacing food commodities
Escalating trends of fraudulent practice in food
business has penetrated the 'whole food chain'
Rajendra Uprety
Fraudulent practices by our food
industry are undermining public
health in Nepal. Although news
papers and media frequently
cover them, fraudulent practices
in the food business are becoming more
rampant. It is high time that consumers, who
spend asizable proportion of their earnings
on food, learn the bitter truth about the adulteration that has become "food business as
Tests reported in the annual bulletin
ofthe Department of Food Technology and
Quality Control (DFTQC, HMG Nepal) reveal that food producers and distributors
have been playing their dirty games for at
least 20 years. A large number of marketed
food items have been adulterated or contaminated (see Figure la); we will be discussing only a few of the more egregious
According to a report in the DFTQC
bulletin for 1998/99, over 90 percent of milk
and milk products (as mentioned in the text)
were substandard due to the presence of
mesophilic contaminants (yeast, mould, col-
iform, Salmonella species and other few microorganisms) which resulted from adulteration of milk with unsafe water. The 2000/
2001 bulletin states that 14 dairies have been
producing dairy products in Nepal, and that,
for the most part, the quality of their products has been deteriorating (see Figure lb).
The culprits include Adhunic Dairy, Pushpa
Dairy, Sainju Dairy and Kharipati Dairy, out
of which the products of Pushpa Dairy and
Adhunic Dairy were completely substandard during 1999-2001. In addition, 60 to 80%
of the marketed products of Integrated
Dairy, Silwal Dairy and Nepal Dairy were
adulterated. FIGURE lb gives more details
on the quality of dairy products consumed
in past seven years.
There was a significant and almost
continuous rise in oil adulteration from 1995
to 2001 (see Figure lc). Most mustard and
rapeseed oil was found to be adulterated
with the toxic Argemone and other cheaper
oils. There is no reason to suspect that these
oils are any safer today.
Noodles, though comparatively expensive, are widely consumed snacks, especially popular among school children. 48
percent of snack noodles and 42 percent of
92/93  93/94 94/95  95/96 96/97  97/98 98/99 99/00 00/01
94/95     95/96     96/97     97/98     98/99     99/00     00/01
o> 60
8 50
S 40
.E 30
I 20
» 10
< 0
FIGURE 1. Food adultetation in diffetent food
products - total food items (a), milk and mild
products (b), oil (c), and snack noodles (d).
Values in patentheses ate the numbet of
samples studied. (CFRL 1998/1999, DFTQC
TABLE 1. Conflicting values fot pasteutized milk and milk products published in two DFTQC
Marketed items in milk and milk products with adulteration (%)
1998/99 bulletin
2000/01 bulletin
106 (one hundred and six)
100 (one hundred)
62.5 (sixty-two point five)
83.3 (eighty-three point three)
6.3 (six point three)
12.3 (twelve point three)
75 (seventy-five)
7.5 (seven point five)
instant noodles consumed during 1999-2000
were found to be substandard due to the
adulteration with inedible colours and other
contaminants. The DFTQC bulletin states
that noodles have been found substandard
since regular monitoring began in 1996 (see
Figure Id). Similarly, nearly one-third ofthe
brands of mineral water consumed in the
past four years were substandard due to
mesophilic contaminants.
The expanding practice of food adulteration is directly attributable to the negligence of the concerned agencies, officials,
and experts. Regular inspection is indispensable. But research is not enough. DFTQC
can and should control the appalling situation by promptly releasing evidence of adulteration to the general public via the mass
media. In so doing, DFTQC must take steps
to present its data and analyses more logically and consistently. For instance, the data
on pasteurized milk and milk products of
1998/99 appears differently in the bulletins
of 1998/99 and 2000/2001 (see Table 1). The
table clarifies the credibility of the reports
of responsible organizations. Three different figures are given for the incidence of
adulteration of pasteurized milkin 1998/99:
75 (seventy-five) percent in the main table
and 90 (ninety) percent in text ofthe 1998/
99 bulletin, 7.5 (seven point five) percent in
2000/01 bulletin.
Food adulteration reports from
throughout the country show that the situation is critical. It is up to consumers to insist that something be done, and quickly. ■
Rajendra Uprety is a member of
Executive Council, Nepal Chemical Society
E-mail: upretyrajendra @yahoo. com
1) CFRL. 1996/1997. Annual bulletin 1996/1997.
Kathmandu: Central Food Research Laboratory,
Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operative,
HMGN. 160 p
2) CFRL. 1997/1998. Annual bulletin 1997/1998.
Kathmandu: Central Food Research Laboratory
Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operative,
HMGN. 124 p
3) CFRL. 1998/1999. Annual bulletin 1998/1999.
Kathmandu: Central Food Research Laboratory
Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operative,
HMGN. 50 p
4) DFTQC. 2000/2001. Annual bulletin 2000/
2001. Kathmandu: Department of Food
Technology and Quality Control, Ministry of
Agriculture and Co-operative, HMGN. 160 p
Now, contains not only the materials
published in print edition of Himalayan Journal of
Sciences. It has a good resource for a scientist to
write a reserach paper and much more.
Available items and sections:
• Stories published in print editions
• 'Guide to Authors' for submitting a paper to HJS
• 'How to Write a Scientific Paper': A complete guide for reserch paper writing
• How to write a review paper, book review etc.
• Using good English, avoiding errors and jargons
• Selected journal title word abbreviations approved by HJS
• Abbreviation symbols accepted by HJS
Website with all these contents will be ready at the end of Sept 2003
Basket case science, basket case society
The utter failure of science in Nepal is built into our own system
Udayaraj Khanal
It is quite obvious that there is not any significant development in science
in Nepal. Many people maintain that the government and politicians are
fully or mainly responsible for this quandary, as for every other. But the
author digs deeper to discover the underlying causes. He argues that the
scientific failure happened 'through' the politicians, not 'by' them.
The ability to learn from mistakes
is the most important prerequisite for success. To illustrate this
point, I would like to describe
an incident involving Thomas
Edison, who had tested more than a thousand materials for the filament of his light
bulb. A gentleman approached himandsaid,
"Mr Edison, you have failed a thousand
times." Edison replied, "I have not failed a
thousand times, but discovered a thousand
things that do not work." The point is well-
taken. However, if one does not learn from
experience but repeats mistakes indefinitely,
then we can fairly speak of failure. Some
mistakes at the beginning of a career may
be forgivable, as long as the novice learns
from them. But, as the novice advances up
the hierarchy to executive status, it is to be
expected that experience will result in a reduction of the incidence of error, because
mistakes at a higher level become more
costly, and a single wrong decision by the
chief executive may suffice to pull down the
whole institution.
Past and present
Hence, we expect that people who take over
the leadership should be those who have
exhibited an aptitude for learning from mistakes. This is indeed the foundation of the
scientific culture of asociety In my opinion,
this basic trait, lacking in Nepalese society, is
preventing us from achieving our developmental goals. The leadership that we are burdened with, be it political, social, cultural,
scientific, adamantly refuses to learn from
past mistakes. The political leaders tell us
we should not delve into their past history
of rampant corruption and misgovernance,
killing and browbeating the downtrodden
Nepalese into submission, and follow them
blindly as they attempt to make a fresh start.
Thus we are prevented from taking any forward step, but make a full circle back to
square one, and are effectively pegged to
the same spot. Our social leaders, instead of
leading us forward to new horizons, encourage us to look backwards and preserve our
archaic traditions, even if they entail inhumane behaviour such as the treatment
meted out to women accused of witchcraft,
castism, drinking fresh blood from necks of
struggling sacrificial animals, and what not,
so that we remain preoccupied with superstition.
In contrast to dictatorship, multiparty systems have succeeded around the
world because competition to develop better policies entails the incorporation of lessons learned from past mistakes. In countries where this system has been implemented successfully, if the incumbent who
leads the party into an election is unable to
secure a majority, he resigns so that a
younger person comes out with new and
better ideas to make the party popular by
the time of the next election. In countries
like ours, we are always saddled with the
same failed leadership. Even if they are taking us down the drain, we are forced to consider them our leaders. Now they blame all
their misdeeds on the constitution. If intentions are good, then the constitution cannot be a hurdle. After the SecondWorld War,
the victorious powers forced a constitution
on Japan, which they hoped would prevent
Japan from competing with them in any
sphere. Japan established itself as the second power with that same constitution,
which is still in use.
A bigger hurdle on our path to development is the failure of our academic leadership. If the academia had been true to its
profession, gathering and giving appropriate advice to the politicians, I think the situation would have improved greatly. In the
rest ofthe world, the university always appears to be anti-establishment as it voices
strong, rational, and convincing criticism of
the policies of those in power, and suggests
improvements. In the USA, for example,
Robert Oppenheimer, who played a leading
role in developing the nuclear arsenal, was
hounded to death for allegedly being a communist; much later, as Nixon was escalating
the war in Vietnam, all the universities were
branded as a haven for communists because
they opposed this warmongering. Similarly,
during the Soviet regime, a person like
Sakharov, who was the father of their nuclear weapons programme, was labelled a
capitalist agent and sent into internal exile.
So it is clear that the academics have the
important role in directing the establishment
towards rational and liberal thinking. But
the story is completely different in our
country. The whole academia plays to the
fiddle of whoever is in power. If the government revalues the rupee, it is hailed as a
great step towards showing the strength of
our currency. When the rupee cannot hold
its own and is devalued a few weeks later,
then the same people hail it as a great step
towards revitalizing the economy. With such
poor advice and toadyism, they hope to
become recruited by the minister as personal assistants, if not as advisors. Thus, the
gullible so-called political leaders are continually misguided by those who call themselves the academic leaders, but do not have
an iota of academic insight, initiative or
achievement to their credit. The general
mass has no faith in them. So they hide in
their academic offices and proclaim
amongst themselves, "We the intellectuals,
academics, wisemen ..."
Nepalese academics bear sole responsibility for the destruction of our educational system. The New Education Plan
was conceived by politicians as a means of
controlling education because they thought
their grip on power would loosen if the mass
became highly educated. The academic circle co-operated whole-heartedly in this conspiracy. Many schools that were doing very
well were brought down to the level ofthe
worst. All the well-tried textbooks were
thrown away in the name of uniformity, and
replaced with books containing gross conceptual and printing errors, with inadequate
graded exercises, written by irresponsible
educators. Many of these books are still in
circulation, and many that have been translated into English for the consumption of
boarding schools contain even more errors.
One popular science book for sixth grade
classifies spinach as a grass, and potatoes
and carrots as cereals. Appointments, and
even transfers, of school teachers, as we 11 as
The scientific leadership of Nepal has a very unsuccessful history. The NCST never
established and formulated any far-reaching policy. Rather, it opted for the idea that
research should not be undertaken in educational institutions, despite the fact that
academic departments are the major research venues all over the world. Then appeared
RONAST, which is vegetating without any clear purpose and without any remarkable
activity. It is quite ironic that the institution established to promote scientific development
proclaimed in its first publication that research should not be undertaken by a poor
country like Nepal, despite the fact that the North-South developmental gap is essentially
a scientific gap. The tireless so-called scientific executive then established the Ministry
of Science and Technology - which will have a tough time to prove its worthiness!
the conduct of exams, are steeped in corruption. The best results of the final secondary exams are auctioned off to the highest bidder. Then, instead of encouraging the
brightest students, the publication of the
"toppers list" is discontinued with the lame
excuse that it fosters unhealthy competition. A party in power first stopped this publication. Another party that came to power
after a few months, undid the decision just
because it had to do things differently, only
to redo it later on. Now, such corrupt practices are being extended to the lower level
district exams. Just as the whole village gathers in front of SLC exam centre to pass cheating material to the examinees, and the invigilators are reported to suggest many of
the answers, we hear of similar incidents
repeating in the lower level district exams.
When school children are taught from the
beginning that only such cheating and
fraudulent practices can bring success in
Nepal, what kind of leadership can we expect from them in the future? A similar disease was transmitted to the university level.
Many private colleges like Amrit Science
College, which were doing very well, were
forcibly reduced to the lowest standards.
Wherever the new education vandals
thought that science should not be taught,
they went around with sledgehammers to
destroy even the newly setup labs as they
did in Shankar Dev Campus.
The scientific leadership said that sci
ence cannot be done in a country with
no science policy, and forced the establishment of a National Council for Science and Technology (NCST) in 1976 AD,
which they captured without much resistance. No concrete, far reaching policy was
ever formulated or implemented. Turning a
blind eye to the fact that the academic department is the prime spot where research
is done all over the world, that research is
an integral part of university education, these
so-called scientists said that research should
not be done in the department, but only in
the privileged centre where all funds were
diverted, leaving the departments with just
chalk and duster. Now these departments
are so deprived that they cannot even buy
chalk. In the hands ofthe same chronically
failing scientists, the centre also never conducted any worthwhile research, but wasted
itself on pursuing mirages like perpetual machines. Then these same people said that
scientific activity was impossible in a country that was devoid of a science academy,
thus instigating the establishment of the
Royal Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (RONAST) in 1982, which was also
taken over by the same clique. Unfortunately,
the first ever publication of this institute proclaimed that scientific research should not
be undertaken by a poor country like Nepal, in complete contrast with the fact (and,
of course, the idea of the Nobel Laureate
physicist late Abdus Salam) that the North-
South developmental gap was essentially the
gap in science. More than a decade was
wasted in a feud between RONAST and
NCST as to who should be responsible for
formulating a national science policy. The
quarrel took a destructive turn when NCST
was dissolved. In the meanwhile, RONAST
had gone through a series of downturns,
from gold smuggling, to strikes and lockouts, to defilement of its own VC, and on
and on. Has anyone heard of a science academy going on strike? It is still not clear what
the purpose of RONAST is.
When Salam visited Nepal in 1989, in
the presence of the late King Birendra, he
offered to establish an international high
technology centre inNepal. His Majesty took
the offer seriously, and a committee was set
up to facilitate the establishment. The Education Minister was sent off to meet Salam
and work out the details. Sadly, the same
leadership that had been misguiding the
development of science in Nepal managed
to take over the committee. They feared that
their stranglehold on the scientific activity
ofthe country would loosen if such an international centre were set up. Leading scientists of the world would come over to
train and collaborate with the young Nepali
scientists who would soon overtake the old
calcified ones. So Salam's offer was rejected.
If the offer had been accepted, Nepal would
by now have leapt ahead in information
technology, genetics, and emerging fields.
Again, the same scientific leadership
that had proved a failure throughout, and
had exhibited a penchant for recycling old
mistakes, convinced the government that
Nepal could not do any science until a Ministry of Science was established. A few years
ago, this Ministry came out with a draft bill
to purportedly develop science. It contained
clauses to the effect that anyone contacting
foreign scientists without prior approval, or
found to be doing unauthorized science,
would be punished severely with fines and
incarceration. The bill was dropped after a
hue and cry was raised at the university, but
the intention ofthe Ministry to control scientific activity rather than encourage it is
obvious. This also came to be dominated by
the same scientists, and again a feud has
developed between RONAST and the Ministry. Every now and then there are threats
that the Science Ministry will be dissolved in
the near future. So, there is no ground to
blame political leaders for the sorry state of
science in Nepal. They have invariably taken
up the suggestions of the scientists. The
whole blame lies with the scientific leadership that holds almost absolute power but
has failed in every aspect, whether it be implementation of an effective scientific programme, inspiring the youth with scientific
achievements, encouraging the youth to initiate scientific activities, or utilizing and developing national resources.
Future outlook
It appears that the leader of each and every
institution in Nepal is bent on destroying
the structure. If the institution becomes
strong, the leaders will have to behave responsibly, and tough questions will be raised
regarding their decisions. Without any insti-
tutionalisation, the leader can run it as a
flefdom, where the lower ranks will go down
on their knees in front of the leader, and
then bite him in the back. It remains only
for the youth to remedy this bleak situation.
It is high time that they express themselves
fearlessly and break new paths. They should
refuse to be used as weapons ofthe ossified
old generation, whose method of retaining
power has been to keep the youth misinformed and misguided, and the people terrorised and fighting amongst themselves for
meagre benefits and even for subsistence.
Perhaps our youth should learn a
useful lesson from the youth of South Korea. They successfully forced out the military dictatorship and initiated democrati-
sation. But they did not do this at the cost of
their own future. Along with their political
struggle, they worked hard in colleges, acquiring all the requisite scientific and technological expertise that is now second to
none, to lead their country through development. These same youth lead their country in world-class sports. Three decades ago,
Nepal and S. Korea were at the same stage
of development; now the gap has become
almost unbridgeable. Our youth has been
deceived into believing that there is nothing
but politics, and the only politics they understand is destruction. They do not realize
that they are striking their own legs with the
axe. In history books, we read of marauding
foreign armies burning down libraries and
other cultural icons ofthe vanquished. But
here, the youth is gleefully torching the departments and libraries, destroying computers and other possessions ofthe university that were imported at great cost with
hard earned foreign exchange, without an
inkling that they are cutting their own
throats. For some reason, all the political
factions have been considering the education sector as the greatest threat to absolute
power. Hence, all of them have targeted educational institutions for their political vendettas. Teachers and students are used as
mere tools for political gains. The destructive events ofthe recent past indicate that,
finding itself unable to adapt to the new world
scenario, the Nepalese society is developing
a death wish with suicidal tendencies. Unless the youth can break free from the stranglehold ofthe senile political and other leadership , the whole society will continue to be
The utter failure of science in Nepal is attributable more to the academic leadership
than to politicians. The so-called academic leaders share three features: illogicality,
because they lack a scientific approach; no vision of the future because they lack
insight and knowledge of science and society; and (therefore) toadyism towards
politicians because they want to keep their grip on power. These pseudo-leaders gave
poor advice and convinced the politicians to arrange whatever was beneficial and
comfortable for them. This all resulted in the present state of education and science,
and to the rejection of Abdus Salam's offer to establish an international high technology
centre in Nepal. There is no ground to blame the politicians for this plight because they
have taken up the suggestions of scientists. It appears that the only remaining hope for
improvement is the energetic and intelligent youth.
taken down the path to extinction.
So it has become very important that
the Nepalese youth forge a new path that
will extricate them from this vicious vortex.
They should openly and incisively question
the intentions, methods and achievements
of our so-called leaders who have had many
opportunities, but repeated the same mistakes, and failed at every turn. The youth
should come out with new ground- breaking ideas to develop our country. They
should not compromise in acquiring the
necessary expertise. Amartya Sen was
awarded the Nobel Prize for proving that
poverty, deprivation and famines are results
of political manipulation rather than lim
ited resources. Manpower resource is all that
is necessary for development. Indeed, if they
are serious, our youth will have to work
overtime to constructively lead the society
as well. Otherwise, as we remain mired in
feudalistic darkness and poverty, it will remain inconsequential to us whether Professor Zewail earned his Nobel Prize for the
study of chemical bonding using millisecond or femtosecond spectroscopy. ■
Udayaraj Khanal is a professor of
physics in Tribhuvan University,
Kathmandu, Nepal.
Reasoning for results
A huge collection of data is nothing if we cannot make a hypothesis.
Thinking over the result is as important as getting the data*
Dennis Bray
If biology were just a matter of gathering data about a fixed reality, there would probably be no need for theory in
biology. But, basically it is a new idea that makes some significance to the society. Now, more than ever, we need
to acknowledge the need for what Bush Pere referred to as "the vision thing." We're not just talking about
discoveries, new techniques, and Big Ideas - all of which require thought, and often hypothesis. Now we are
entering a new phase in biology, where computer modeling can create virtual realities - and even predict and
shape real reality. It's a brave new world, and without theorists to reflect on where it's all going, it could get
Let's start on safe ground. We all
agree, surely, that theory — the
formulation of hypotheses — is
important in biology. Techniques
are essential, as is the careful collection of quantitative data. But without
ideas to give them shape and meaning, those
endless successions of base sequences, ex
pression profiles, electrical recordings and
confocal images are as featureless as a plate
of tofu. All really big discoveries are the result of thought, in biology as in any other
discipline. Allostery, genes, DNA structure,
chemiosmosis, immunological memory, ion
channels were all oncejust a twinkle in someone's eye. And the work of most contempo
rary research laboratories still takes place
within a framework of hypothesis, although
practitioners may not always recognize this
fact. As Charles Darwin once remarked:
"How odd it is that anyone should not see
that all observation should be for or against
some view if it is to be of any service."
But assuming that biological theory
 Special announcement
The Rolwaling Mountain Legacy Institute
Mountain Legacy, creator of The Hillary Medal, proposes a bold initiative in
integrated research and development
Proposal from the Namche Conference
From May 24-26 this year, fifty-five
delegates representing 15 different
nations from as far away as New Zealand,
Canada, South Africa, and Sweden,
converged on Sagarmatha National Park
for an international symposium
conferred with members of the host
community entitled "The Namche
Conference: People, Park, and Mountain
Ecotourism." (Namche Bazar, 3350 m)
and other stakeholders at the "Namche
Conference: People, Park, and Mountain
Ecotourism." The event was organized by
United Nations University (UNU),
Bridges: Projects in Rational Tourism
Development (Bridges-PRTD), and
HMG's Department of National Parks
and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), and
scheduled as part ofthe closing festivities
marking the Mount Everest Golden
Jubilee Celebration.
The Hillary Medal
One ofthe acts ofthe Namche
Conference was the initiation ofthe Sir
Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal,
to be presented every two years "for
remarkable service in the conservation of
culture and nature in remote
mountainous regions." On May 29th
2003, fifty years after the first ascent of
Mount Everest, the first Hillary Medal
was presented by Peter Hillary on behalf
of Sir Edmund to Michael Schmitz and
Helen Cawley For the past decade
Schmitz and Cawley have been working
on keystone cultural and ecological
projects in Solu-Khumbu including the
Tengboche Monastery Development
Plan, the Thubten Choling Monastery
Development Project, and the Sacred
Lands Initiative.
Mountain Legacy
At the close ofthe Namche Conference, a
set of resolutions was adopted by
unanimous assent ofthe assembled
participants, including local stakeholders
and visitors. Point 12 was a
recommendation to establish Mountain
Legacy, a new association that will
organize future Namche Conferences,
continue to grant the "Sir Edmund
Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal" on a
regular basis, and undertake other
projects in support of tourism and
volunteerism in remote mountainous
One ofthe first projects of this new
organization, proposed by the Himalayan
Journal of Sciences and Bridges-PRTD, is
the Rolwaling Mountain Legacy Institute
(RMLI), a center for research to be
located in the upper Rolwaling Valley
(Dolakha district, just west of Khumbu).
RMLI would bring together researchers in
a broad array of disciplines, assembling a
database of integrated studies, monitoring
development, and assisting in the
preservation of Rolwaling's natural and
cultural legacy. Research results would be
published in the Himalayan Journal of
Why Rolwaling?
This remote valley in north central Nepal
presents an unusual combination of
problems and opportunities linking
biodiversity and tourism development
(Sicroff and Alos 2000). Rolwaling's value
as a biological sanctuary derives partly
from its location and physical isolation.
Running east-west for approximately 30
km, it is separated from Tibet by a stretch
ofthe Himalayas that includes Gauri
Shankar (7134 m), which for some time
was thought to be the highest peak in the
world. It can be reached by a 4 or 5 day
trek from Barabise, which lies on the
road to Tibet in the next valley to the
west, or by a 2 or 3 day trek from
Dolakha, the district administrative seat,
located on a short branch off the Swiss
road that connects Lamosangu with Jiri.
To the east of Rolwaling is Khumbu
district, home of Sagarmatha National
Park. The wall of peaks between
Rolwaling and Khumbu is breached by
the formidable Tashi Lapsta pass; with
good weather, one can make the crossing
between Na in Rolwaling and the Thame
in Khumbu in about four days.
Altogether, access to Rolwaling is not
quite impossible, but definitely more
inconvenient than the most popular
trekking routes, several of which can now
be approached by air.
Cultural factors have contributed
to the conservation of species in
Rolwaling. According to Tibetan Buddhist
tradition, about 1250 years ago
Padmasambhava [aka Guru Urgyen
Rinpoche] plowed the valley out ofthe
mountains in order to serve as one of
eight beyul, refuges that were to remain
hidden until, in a time of religious crisis,
they would serve as sanctuaries,
protecting dharma until the danger
passed. The neighboring Khumbu was
one such zone, but, unlike Khumbu,
Rolwaling remained unvisited and
unimpacted until the nineteenth century,
and then by a very few wanderers and
outcasts. Due to the limited amount of
arable land and the unsuitability of this
east-west valley as a trade route between
Tibet and India, Rolwaling's inhabitants
remained poor and few, but devoutly
mindful of their spiritual heritage. The
Buddhist bans on hunting and slaughter,
elsewhere observed less scrupulously,
have protected the fauna; even plants are
considered living creatures which ought
not to be harmed if possible.
A third general factor contributing
to the relatively unimpacted state of
Rolwaling Valley has been the
government's limitation of tourist access.
Until recently, visitors needed both a
trekking peak permit and a regular
trekking permit. The trekking peak permit
involved costs and other factors that
essentially excluded the possibility of
independent trekking. All visitors arrived
in self-contained tented caravans which
contributed virtually nothing to the
economy of Rolwaling villages. Therefore
there has been very little development of
infrastructure, and not much impact on
the environment. The permits are no
longer required, due primarily to the fact
that Maoist activity makes enforcement
impossible; however, this activity has
itself deterred tourism.
In terms of biodiversity, Rolwaling
is worthy of close attention. Janice
Sacherer estimated that there are
approximately 300 different plant species
(Sacherer 1977,1979). The atypical east-
west orientation ofthe valley creates
conditions unlike those in any other
valley ofthe Himalayas. Partially shielded
by its southern wall from the monsoon,
Rolwaling has characteristics ofthe dry
inner Himalaya; a good part ofthe flora
derives from the Tibetan steppe and, in
Nepal, is more typical of eastern valleys.
As in other Himalayan valleys,
Rolwaling's ecosystems vary dramatically
from the broad glaciated valleys to the ♦
 Special announcement
chiseled fluvial channel downstream; to a
much greater extent than in other valleys,
the sharp contrast between north- and
south-exposed slopes affects the
distribution of species. The east-west
orientation ofthe valley also makes it a
convenient corridor for mobile fauna.
Rolwaling is visited by quite a few ofthe
charismatic mammals, including wolves,
fox, several species of goat, bearjackal,
langur, and several members ofthe cat
family (including snow leopard). Every
resident that we interviewed on the subj ect
is convinced that yeti frequent the valley. In
short, Rolwaling's biological assets are
clearly worth studying; their conservation
should also be accorded high priority as the
valley's protective isolation breaks down.
Furthermore, one cannot consider
development scenarios in the high
Rolwaling Valley without assessing the
implications for the rich subtropical
ecosystems ofthe Tamba Valley into which it
If isolation has had a benign effect on
the natural ecosystem, the human residents
of Rolwaling have observed the tourism
boom with envy. In next door valleys, every
family could throw open its doors to
backpackers and cash in on the amenity
values of their homeland; in Rolwaling, the
stakeholders stare wistfully as organized
trekking caravans deploy their tents by the
river, cook up their burrito and quiche
feasts, and buy nothing from the local
residents. In Khumbu, their relatives enjoy
the benefits of prosperity: schools, upscale
monasteries, telephone, electricity,
numerous clinics, a hospital, post office -
even Internet, saunas, pool halls and
chocolate croissants: none are available in
Rolwaling. Many young men have found
employment with trekking and climbing
services. Such work entails extended
absence from Rolwaling, and even
emigration to Kathmandu or Khumbu. The
result is a brain and manpower drain that
leaves the villages of Rolwaling populated
by women, children, and those no longer
capable of strenuous labor. Agricultural
fields have been abandoned, livestock
ineffectively tended, trails poorly
maintained. Alcohol, the only recreational
option, is a serious health problem.
This disparity between the
neighboring districts has created in
Rolwaling (as in the access routes) an
intense demand for free access to
backpackers and economic opportunity.
A couple of years ago, due to the threat
of Maoist attacks, the police checkpost in
Simigaon was removed. At this point,
Rolwaling is officially open to general
trekking, and, as the prospects for peace
improve, the valley will become an
important trekking destination.
Research opportunities
At the western end of Rolwaling
Valley, Tsho Rolpa, one ofthe highest and
largest lakes in the Himalayas, has been
growing over the past decades due
primarily to the recession of Trakarding
Glacier. Attempts to mitigate the danger
of a glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)
have included siphoning, installation of a
warning system, and reduction of the
lake level by 3 meters through an artificial
drainage channel. Due to depletion of
project funding, the drainage efforts have
stopped far short of the recommended
objective. Particularly as there is a real
threat of a catastrophic GLOF, Tsho
Rolpa is an appropriate place to begin
long-term study of glacial melting, runoff
hydrology, and moraine stability.
Rolwaling is also a good location
for ecological research. Zonation is
extremely compressed. The east-west
orientation results in unusually sharp
differences on the northward and
southward facing slopes; it also means
that the valley is probably an important
wildlife corridor. Numerous
ethnobotanical resources have been
identified; now would be a good time to
study them in the wild, and also to begin
efforts to cultivate them as cash crops.
Serious anthropological studies by
Sacherer and Baumgartner in the 1970s
provide useful baseline data against
which the current changes, especially the
impact of tourism, can be measured and
monitored. Specific studies that are
urgently needed: the Rolwaling dialect of
Sherpa, and Rolwaling traditions of song
and dance.
Rolwaling Mountain Legacy Institute
In the initial phase, we would propose an
institute of opportunity rather than
infrastructure. That is, researchers would
use existing facilities (lodges and homes)
rather than constructing new
infrastructures. This would permit
• rapid initiation of programs
• significant ongoing economic
contribution to the village
• minimization of impact on the
object(s) of study
We would also propose to assist
researchers in recruiting volunteers. We
envisage this as an opportunity for
tourists to stay for prolonged periods,
making contributions to research and
practical projects, and also injecting
expenditures for living expenses into the
local economy. International students
could be recruited either as study-abroad
program participants or as interns. These
students could either assist established
researchers or design and implement
their own programs consistent with the
aims of the RMLI.
A parallel objective of this research
institute would be to develop a special
type of community-base ecotourism in
Rolwaling. RMLI would encourage long-
term stays at very low per-diem rates, as
opposed to so-called "quality tourism,"
which aims to extract the maximum
profit over the course of short stays. We
think that such an institute, well-
publicized, would be a magnet not only
for prospective participants but also for
other tourists. Just as tourists go out of
their way to visit cheese-making
factories, they will visit Rolwaling to see
the world-famous research center and to
contribute to whatever on-going projects
might need their help.
The first step is to form an ad hoc
committee that will establish a Mountain
Legacy NGO in Nepal. This committee
will locate researchers who are interested
in initiating projects in Rolwaling. Parallel
Mountain Legacy groups would be
organized around the world, and these
would take the lead in sponsoring
Namche Mountain Legacy Conferences
and Mountain Legacy Institutes in
remote mountainous destinations in their
own countries. All those who are
interested in participating in the
Mountain Legacy agenda should contact
the editors of this journal (email:     ■
Related websites
for Namche Conference
2) for Mountain
Legacy, Hillary Medal
3) www.tengboche.orgforTengboche
Monastery Development Project
4) for The Sacred
Land Initiative
5) www.rolwaling. com for Rolwaling, The
JSacherer. 1977. The Sherpas of Rolwaling valley,
north Nepal: A study in cultural ecology
[dissertation]. Paris: The Ecole Pratique des
Hautes Edudes. Ann Arbor, MI. University
J Sacherer. 1979. The high altitude ethnobotany ofthe
Rolwaling Sherpas. Contributions to Nepalese
Studies, Vol. VI, No. 2. Kathmandu: CNAS,
Tribhuvan University
S Sicroff and EA Alabajos. 2000. Biodiversity and
Tourism in the SacredValley. In: WatanabeT, S
Sicroff, NRKhanalandMP Gautam (eds),
Proceedings ofthe International Symposium on
the Himalayan Environments: Mountain
Sciences and Ecotourism/Biodiversity 2000 Nov
24-26; Kathmandu, Nepal, p 52-63
 research papers
Evaluation of cultivars and land races of Oryza sativa for
restoring and maintaining wild abortive cytoplasm
Bal K Joshif *, Laxmi P Subedit, Santa B Gurung::: and Ram C Sharma:;:
f Agricultural Botany Division, Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Lalitpur, POBox 1135, Nepal
% Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science, Tribhuvan University, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:joshibalak@rediffmail. com
Identification of restorers and maintainers from cultivars and landraces through test crossing and their use in further breeding programme
are the initial steps in three-line heterosis breeding. Two experiments, one in the greenhouse for F1 hybrid seeds production and another in
the field for parental screening, were conducted during the 1999 rice growing season at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Science
(IAAS, TU), Rampur, Nepal. Three cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines, eight improved cultivars and six landraces of rice were studied for
their fertility restoring and sterility maintaining abilities. Pollen sterility was studied based on their stainability with potassium iodide
iodine (l-KI) solution. On the basis of their interaction with l-KI, pollens were categorized as unstained withered sterile (UWS), unstained
spherical sterile (USS), stained round sterile (SRS) and stained round fertile (SRF). For each hybrid, the percentage of spikelet fertility was
estimated. The test lines were categorized as restorers, partial restorers, maintainers, and partial maintainers on the basis of pollen
sterility and spikelet fertility. The male sterile lines had mostly UWS and USS types of pollen, whereas the restorer lines had more SRS and
SRF types. There was no strong evidence for a relationship between pollen fertility and spikelet fertility. Five restorers, three partial
restorers, two partial maintainers and four maintainers were identified. These restorers can be used to develop the hybrid seed while
maintainers to maintain and/or to develop new CMS lines, because these are locally adapted cultivars. Pedigree analysis revealed that, for
some of these test lines, TN-1 and CR94-13 might be the donors of maintainer and restorer gene(s), respectively.
Keywords: CMS line, maintainer, restorer, rice
HimJSci 1(2): 87-91
Received: 9 Feb 2003
Accepted after revision: 15 Apr 2003
In Nepal, rice accounts for about 50% ofthe total cropped area and
food production (Upadhaya 1996). Efforts to improve rice
productivity in Nepal have resulted in the introduction of a large
number of improved cultivars with varying yield potentials. To meet
the demand created by increasing population and rising incomes,
it is important to increase the yield potential of rice beyond that of
semi-dwarf cultivars. Experiences in China, India, and Vietnam have
established that hybrid rice offers an economically viable option to
increase cultivar yield. The usual method for raising hybrids is to
establish many inbred lines, perform inter-crosses and determine
which hybrids are most productive in a given locality. As the female
parents have to be male sterile, they should be maintained in every
generation and male sterile lines have to be developed. They should
be locally adapted and should perform well in hybrid combinations.
The basic requisites for successful hybrid rice production are
development of male sterile lines (A), maintainers (B) and restorers
of fertility (R). Lin and Yuan (1980) reported the use of an effective
restorer in China in commercial F hybrids involving the wild aborted
(WA) cytosterility system in 1973. Effective restorer lines for WA,
Gam and Bt cytosterility systems have been identified among
cultivated rice cultivars and elite breeding lines (Shinjyo 1969,1972,
Lin and Yuan 1980). For the CMS-WA system hundreds of effective
restorer lines have been identified among cultivated rice cultivars
and elite breeding lines bred in China (Lin and Yuan 1980, Yuan et al.
1994), International Rice Research Institute (IRRI 1983, Govinda
Raj andVirmani 1988, Virmani 1994), Indonesia (Suprihatno et al.
1994), India (Rangaswamy et al. 1987, Siddiq et al. 1994), and the
Philippines (Lara et al. 1994). The restorer lines forWA cytosterility
were found more stable and their restoration ability was stronger
(Virmani 1996). The frequency of restorer lines was higher among
late maturing Indica cultivars and negligible among Japonica cultivars
(Lin and Yuan 1980). The varieties IR24, IR26, IR661 and IR665,
restorer of the most widely cultivated hybrids in China were
developed at the IRRI (Virmani and Edwards 1983).
Identification of maintainers and restorers from elite
breeding lines and landraces through test crossing (Ikehashi and
Araki 1984, Virmani 1996) and their use in further breeding
programme are the initial steps in three-line heterosis breeding
(Siddiq 1996). The objectives of this study therefore, were to identify
rice landraces and cultivars with fertility restoring ability and to
identify maintainers of sterility among the test lines.
Materials and methods
Plant materials
This experiment was conducted in a greenhouse and experimental
farm at the Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS),
Tribhuvan University, Rampur, Chitwan, Nepal, during the dry
and wet seasons of 1999. The IAAS is located at 84° 29 'E and 27° 37'
N (224 m asl). Details ofthe 9 improved cultivars, 6 landraces and 3
wild aborted cytoplasmic male sterile (CMS) lines of rice used in
this study are given in Table 1. The improved cultivars and landraces
were obtained from the National Rice Research Program (NRRP),
Hardinath, and IAAS, Rampur, respectively. The CMS lines were
 research papers
obtained from the IRRI, Philippines.
F1 seeds production
Crossing was performed in a greenhouse, using cylindrical crossing
chambers made of 2.5 m plastic sheet. The top portion of the
chamber was open. The pollen parents were seeded three times to
ensure a continuous supply of pollen to the female parent during
the period of flowering, while the CMS lines were seeded only once.
Before crossing, each CMS plant was tested for pollen sterility. This
was determined by staining pollen grains in 1 % potassium iodide-
iodine (l-KI) solution. At heading, about 10 spikelets from each
plant were collected in the morning just prior to blooming and
fixed in 70% alcohol. All the anthers from 6 spikelets were excised
with the help of forceps and placed in the stain. The pollen grains
were released with a needle and gently crushed. After the debris
was removed, a cover slip was placed over the pollen material and
it was observed under a microscope (1 Ox). The method is similar to
that described by Virmani et al. (1997) and Chaudhary et al. (1981).
The CMS plants showing complete sterility were used for crossing.
The Fj seeds were produced in the greenhouse using the Approach
method (Erickson 1970).
Screen nursery
A field experiment involving 14 Fj's, 14 pollen parents, and 3 CMS
lines was conducted to screen the cultivars/landraces. The block
was divided into 31 plots of 0.8 nFsize each. The pollen parent was
TABLE 1. Improved rice cultivars, landraces and CMS lines used in this study
A. Improved i
Grain type
Reaction to
Bl            BB
3 1
Peta *3/TNl//Remadja
Sri Lanka
Radha 11
Local selection
CR126-42-5/IR 2061-213
IR 28/Pokhreli Masino
Bl-Blast, BB-Bacterial blight, MR- Moderately resistant, M- Moderately susceptible, R-Resistant, S- Susceptible
Source: NRRP1997
B. Landraces
All landraces are popular local cultivars of hilly area of Nepal and have
intermediate stature. They mature earlier than local cultivars ofthe Tarai
and are field resistant to blast and bacterial leaf blight
C. CMS lines
of wild aborted type
CMS line
Stable in sterility, best combiner for yield, has aromatic long
slender grains; using this line more than 50 hybrids have
been developed in India.
Stable in sterility, has functional male sterility, very good
combiner; using this line more than 20 hybridshave been
developed in India.
Stable in sterility, good combiner
Source: DRR1996
 research papers
planted beside their Fj and CMS planted after the pollen parent.
The field was fertilized at the rate of 120 kg N, 60 kg P205 and 60 kg
K20 per ha. Half of the nitrogen was applied as abasal dose and half
top-dressed one month after transplanting. The 21 -day-old seedlings
were transplanted in the field in two rows with 10 hills per row at
spacing of 20 cm between rows and 20 cm between plants. A single
seedling was planted in each hill. Pollen and spikelet fertility were
measured from each plot.
Results and discussion
The pollen and spikelet fertility of hybrids are given in Table 3. In
hybrids, pollen fertility ranged from 1 to 82% and spikelet fertility
varied from 0 to 87%. Pollen fertility varied from 28 to 97%, while
spikelet fertility ranged from 73 to 91% in pollen parents (Table 4).
Our data indicates that pollens susceptibility to staining
with l-KI solution does not correlate with spikelet fertility. This may
be due to the ability of single fertile pollen to fertilize a spikelet. It
Pollen sterility
Pollen sterility of the FjS was determined by staining pollen grains
in 1% l-KI solution (Dalmacio et al. 1995, Virmani et al. 1997,
Chaudhary etal. 1981, Sohu and Phul 1995, Young etal. 1983). The
pollen grains in 3 randomly selected microscopic fields were
counted. The pollen grains were classified based on their shape,
size and extent of staining (Virmani et al. 1997, Young et al. 1983,
Chaudhary et al. 1981) as shown in Box 1.
In the case of CMS lines and some hybrids, the patterns of
pollen abortion were classified as follows (Chaudhary et al. 1981):
Type 1: Almost all pollen grains appear as UWS and USS.
Type 2: The majority of pollen grains appear as USS (51%),
followed by SRS (36%) and UWS (14%).
Type 3: The majority of pollen grains are SRS (52%); UWS
and USS are 20-25%.
Spikelet fertility
Five panicles from each experimental unit were bagged before
flowering for spikelet fertility analysis. At maturity, the bagged panicles were examined for seed set. Spikelet fertility was determined
by dividing the total number of seeds by the total number of spikelets.
Test lines were classified on the basis of pollen fertility and spikelet
fertility (Table 2).
F^ were also classified on the basis of seed set as male
parent or weaker than male parent, anthers whether plumpy yellow or white shriveled.
BOX 1. Categories of rice pollen and their features
Category of
Shape and
staining behaviour
Unstained withered
sterile (UWS)
Withered and
Unstained spherical
sterile (USS)
Spherical and smaller,
Stained round sterile
Round and small,
lightly or incompletely
stained, rough
Stained round fertile
Round and large, darkly
stained, smooth surface
TABLE 2. Classification of test lines into maintainers and restorers
Pollen fertility (%)        Category
Spikelet fertility (%)
Partial maintainer      0.1-50
Partial restorer
Source: Virmani etal. 1997
TABLE 3. Pollen and spikelet fertility of hybrids
Pollen fertility
fertility (%)
Seed set as
Test line
Inference on
test line
Radha 11
MP-male parent, W-weaker than MP, F-plumpyyellow anthers, S-white shriveled anthers on visual basis, R-restorer, PR-partial restorer,
PM-partialmaintainer, M-maintainer
 research papers
suggests that pollen fertility is independent ofthe spikelet fertility.
Therefore even a low number of fertile pollen counted in this study
can give a higher seed set. However, the sterility ofthe inter-varietal
rice hybrids is due primarily to pollen sterility. Guiquenet al. (1994)
reported that sterility in the inter-varietal hybrids of cultivated rice
is caused by the allelic interaction at the Fj pollen sterility loci. Six
loci of genes controlling Fj pollen sterility in rice have been reported
(Guiquenetal. 1994). Our study is in agreement with Guiquen etal.
(1994) in that among Fj hybrids, the higher the incidence of the
heterozygote S'/S1 at the six loci, the higher the incidence of pollen
sterility and spikelet sterility.
Three CMS lines had a higher percentage of UWS and
USS than that of rest lines. IR68888A had no SRF at all while the
other two had some fertile pollen (Table 4). The higher percentage
of SRS in hybrids IR68888A/Bindeswari, IR68888A/Khumal-7,
IR62829A/Deharadune and IR68888A/Chiunde was associated, on
average, with 1 % SRF The hybrids having higher SRS were associated
with high frequency of SRF as in IR68888A/Radha-ll, IR58025A/
Janaki, IR58025A/Kanchan, IR58025A/Khumal-4, IR58025A/Sabitri,
IR58025A/Chaite-6, IR62829A/Ratodhan, IR62829A/Kature and
IR58025A/IAR-97-34. Table 4 shows that hybrids with some SRF
pollen had fewer filled grains in the panicles. It indicates that hybrids
having higher UWS and USS will be more useful for developing new
CMS lines from their sterile hybrids.
The hybrids were classified as semi-sterile on the basis of
spikelet fertility of 40-80%. The male parents of these hybrids were
designated as partial restorers. In these hybrids, SRS had dominated
the other pollen categories. The partial restorer IAR-97-34 had
TABLE 4. Pollen categories and
types of male steril
ity in male sterile lines
;, hybrids
and test lines
CMS/ hybrid/test line
Total pollen
Frequency (%)
sterility (%)
fertility (%)
Radha 11
Masuli (check)
UWS, unstained withered sterile, USS, unstained spherical sterile, SRS, stained round sterile, SRF, stained round fertile, Type I- almost all pollen
appears as UWS and USS, E-majority of pollen as USS (51 %) followed by SRS (36%) and UWS (14%), IE-majority of pollen SRS followed by USS and
 research papers
TABLE 5. Restorers and maintainers for three CMS lines
CMS line
Kanchan, Sabitri
Kature, Ratodhan
Khumal-7, Chiunde
Frequency (%)
more spikelet sterility than the other two partial restorers, Khumal-
4 and Chaite-6. Spikelet fertility percentage varied widely among
hybrids, and many hybrids had a lower spikelet fertility percentage
than the high-yielding cultivars. Therefore, it is of practical
importance to understand the causes of high spikelet sterility in
hybrids for possible increase in spikelet fertility.
Restorers and maintainers identified in the study are
summarized in Table 5. Among these lines, five were restorers,
three were partial restorers, four were maintainers and two were
partial maintainers. Radha-11 was found to be an effective restorer
for IR68888A, Kanchan and Sabitri for IR58025A and Ratodhan
and Kature for IR62829A. Bindeswari and Khumal-7 were found to
be maintainers for IR68888A, and Deharadune for IR62829A. No
maintainer for IR58025A was found. With respect to maintaining
ability, all maintainers appeared to function effectively in maintaining
sterility. All Fj of these pollen parents with CMS showed a rate of
0% spikelet fertility and 0.5 to 1% pollen fertility. The frequency of
restorers (36%) was higher than that of maintainers (21%). The
frequency of restorer lines was higher among rice cultivars
originating in lower latitudes. Virmani and Edwards (1983) reported
that effective restorer cultivars were mainly distributed in the tropics
where Indica rice was exclusively grown. Virmani (1996) found a
lower incidence of restorer lines in northern China, eastern Europe,
Japan, and Korea. The restoring ability of rice cultivars has been
found to be, to some extent, related to their origin (Govinda Raj
and Virmani 1988). Among Indica rice cultivars the frequency of R
gene is higher in late maturing cultivars than in early maturing ones
(Ahmed 1996). The restorer frequency isverylowin typical Japonica
rice cultivars (Lin and Yuan 1980, Virmani et al. 1981). It suggests
that origin and pedigree of test lines are important characters to be
considered in evaluating the rice genotypes for restoring and
maintaining WA cytoplasm. Maintainer line, Bindeswari had been
derived from the Taichun Native 1 (TN-1). Therefore, Bindeswari
may have received its maintaining property from TN-1. Similarly
the restorer gene in Sabitri might have come from CR94-13. Since
the restorers and maintainers identified here are locally adapted,
these cultivars and landraces may have value in heterosis breeding.
Restorers can be improved (Liu et al. 1998) by using various
procedures. Among the approaches used in developing new
restorers, recombination breeding is the most common (Ahmed
1996). New restorers can be developed through cross breeding,
which can enlarge the genetic base of R lines by pyramiding
complementary traits from various sources in order to meet the
breeding objectives. The CMS-WA system has been used extensively
to transfer cytoplasmic male sterility traits in various genotypes
both within and outside of China. The intensive use of a single
source of male sterile cytoplasm in developing hybrid cultivars was
found disastrous in the cases of Texas cytoplasm in maize and Tift
cytoplasm in pear millet (Pokhriyal et al. 1974). It was therefore,
considered wise to diversify sources of the cytoplasm. The
maintainer and restorer lines identified here may be useful in
increasing genetic diversity. The restorers can be used to develop
hybrids and the maintainers to maintain and/or to develop new
CMS lines. ■
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Viraktamath, MSRameshaandCHMVijayaKumar (eds), Hybrid rice technology.
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Chaudhary RC, SS Virmani and GS Khush. 1981. Patterns of pollen abortion in some
cytoplasmic-genetic male sterile lines of rice. Oryza 18:140-2
Dalmacio R, DS Brar, T Ishii, LA Sitch, SSVirmani and GS Khush. 1995. Identification
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Govinda Raj K and SS Virmani. 1988. Genetics of fertility restoration of WA type
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GuiquenZ, LYonggen, ZHau, YJinchangandLGuifu. 1994. Genetic studies on the hybrid
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IkehashiHandH Araki. 1984. Varietal screening ofcompatibilitytypes revealed in Fj
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LaraRJ, TMDelaCruz, MS Ablaza, HC Dela Cruz and SRObien. 1994. Hybridrice research
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Lin SC and LP Yuan. 1980. Hybrid rice breeding in China. In: Innovative approaches to
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LiuXC, SSVirmani and BC Viraktamath. 1998. Improving parental lines to increase
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Siddiq and K Muralidharan (eds), Advances in hybrid lice technology. Proceedings
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The Department of Botany IAAS, Nepal provided laboratory facilities for pollen
 research papers
Assessing the land cover situation in Surkhang, Upper
Mustang, Nepal, using an ASTER image
Benktesh D Sharmaf *, Jan CleversJ, Reitze De Graaf§ and Nawa R Chapagainf
f KingMahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal
% Laboratory of Geo-Information andRemote Sensing, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
§ Forest Ecology andForest Management Group, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
1 KingMahendra Trust for Nature Conservation, Kathmandu, Nepal
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
This paper describes the remote sensing technique used to prepare a land cover map of Surkhang, Upper Mustang Nepal. The latest ASTER
image (October 2002) and an ASTER DEM were used for the land cover classification. The study was carried out in Surkhang Village
Development Committee (area 799 km2) of Upper Mustang region. The study area falls within the Annapurna Conservation Area. Field
surveys for training data, ground truthing and spectral signature collection were carried out during May-June 2002. Various image
classification algorithms were tested, and the one that yielded the best result was used for image classification. The land cover situations
with their aerial extents were identified and topographic analysis was carried out to study the variations of different land covers types in
the region. Various species of grasses covered about 36 %; shrubs covered about 32%; bare land, which includes area from completely
bare to less than 10% vegetation, constituted about 20% of the land resources of the study area. Grassland was found abundant in east-
to south-facing slopes, while shrub species were abundant in flat regions and west- to north-facing slopes.
Keywords: ASTER image, DEM, land cover mapping, Mustang, Nepal, CIS, remote sensing
Him J Sci 1(2): 93-98
Received: 26 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 12 June 2003
Land cover maps record the structure and make-up of a landscape.
A map structure related directly to real features on the ground can
help to understand and interpret the environment. It shows the
inter-connectivity of landscape features, their immediate context
and the wider neighborhood in which environmental influences
operate. This type of map helps to see how ecological principles
can explain patterns of landscape diversity.
Recent improvements in satellite image quality and
availability have made it possible to perform image analysis at much
larger scale than in the past. This will likely lead to a wider use of
satellite imagery at the regional level as a reliable source of timely
and accurate spatial data. In recent years, Geographic Information
System (CIS) technologies have greatly increased ability to map
and model land cover, providing resource managers and
researchers with a tool to analyze data and address specific
problems at a variety of spatial scales, in less time, and in a more
cost-effective manner (Ramsey et al. 1999).
Land cover classification involves grouping of
components into homogeneous units on the basis of characteristics
significant to the management of land resources. Through remote
sensing techniques supplemented with field surveys, an accurate
land cover map can be prepared in cost effective manner than
manual survey land cover mapping, and both biotic and abiotic
surface features, including vegetation composition and/or density
and local landforms, can be interpreted (Best 1984).
The changing land cover conditions can be quantified
using change detection remote sensing techniques. Remote sensing
techniques, together with ground truth data, are widely used to
collect information on the qualitative and quantitative status of
natural resources in protected areas. With the advent of satellite
technology and CIS, it has been now well-accepted tools to establish
and model spatial information (Mongkolsawat and Thirangoon
Satellite imagery interpretation is one way of obtaining
information on land use resources that has also been emphasized
in the Management Information Systems (MIS) plan of the
Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) (Chapagain 2001).
Once these resources are assessed and integrated with other biophysical and socio-economic information of management
relevance, land cover mapping being an activity for resource
assessment, the MIS would support decision making in the project
area. This study was carried out with the objective of assessing land
resources in the Upper Mustang Biodiversity Conservation Project
(UMBCP) of King Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation
(KMTNC) and preparing an accurate and up-to-date land cover
map of Surkhang, Upper Mustang.
Materials and methods
Study area
The study was carried out in Surkhang, the largest of the seven
Village Development Committees (VDCs) in Upper Mustang (In
Nepal the VDC is the smallest administrative unit.) The geographic
coverage ranges approximately from 28°50'19"-29°09T0" N and
83049'41"-84°15T6" E. The land cover classification and mapping
for this VDC was carried out over an area of about 784 km2; the
remaining 15 km2 was not included in this research due to
unavailability of satellite data. This VDC borders on Tibet in the
east, and is one ofthe most remote areas of Nepal (Plate 1).
The region is situated in the Himalayan rain shadow and
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■ ■■
PLATE 1. A landscape view of Upper Mustang
receives less than 100 mm rainfall annually (HMGN 1999). More
than 40 percent of Mustang's area is rangeland and pasture at
altitudes of 3,000 to higher than 5,000 m asl (Blamont 1996); the
elevation of our study area ranges from 3000 to more than 6000 m
asl. The whole VDC remains under snow for 4-5 months (November
to March). The Upper Mustang region is said to be the southern
extension of the Tibetan plateau. The climate and landscape of
Upper Mustang are similar to that of Tibetan plateau. Alluvial fans,
jutting sandstone ridges, abandoned glacial moraines and broad
sandy terraces are among the more conspicuous elements of this
highly accidented landscape. Mean annual daytime temperatures
are around 21°C, but mean annual nighttime temperatures may
fall to 5°C. Only herders and pastoralists visit the northern area of
this VDC, often for 2-3 months in summer (Figure 1).
Remote sensing data
A surface radiance image of Advanced Spaceborne Thermal
Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) taken on October
2002 and ASTER Digital Elevation Model (DEM) (ASTER 2001) were
used for the land cover classification. ASTER covers a wide spectral
region with 14 bands from visible to thermal infrared with high
spatial, spectral and radiometric resolution. An additional backward-
looking near-infrared band provides stereo coverage (Abrams and
Hook 2001), which is generally used for the preparation of DEM.
The spatial resolution varies with wavelength: 15 m in the visible
and near-infrared (VNIR) region, 30 m in the short wave infrared
(SW1R) region, and 90 m in the thermal infrared (TIR) region. This
ASTER image was geo-referenced with the help of topographic
maps ofthe study areas by locating 18 conspicuousground control
points (GCPs), such as ridges and confluences. For the sake of
computational simplicity a first order polynomial transformation
with the nearest neighbour resampling technique was used
(Lillesand and Kiefer 2000); this entailed directly assigning the digital
number (DN) in the input file that overlaps the pixel in the output
file, avoiding the necessity of altering the original input pixel values
(Richards 1993). For the analysis a spatial resolution of 30 m was
used. The root mean square error was 0.21 pixels.
Although the original ASTER image had 14 bands, for this
study only nine bands covering visible to short wave infrared were
used. The thermal bands were not used because of their coarse
resolution (90 m).
The image acquisition date was in winter when the
cultivated fields of Upper Mustang were devoid of crops. The roofs
of houses in UM regions are made mostly of mud. The agricultural
fields are found in the surrounding of houses. The field survey
phase identified that in winter the vegetation cover on agricultural
fields was limited to grasses and shrubs, and many were completely
barren. Such fields were not correctly distinguished as a separate
class in satellite images. Therefore, cultivated areas were digitized
from topographic maps. Eleven such agricultural areas were
identified on the available topographic maps. These fields were
masked in the original image and excluded from classification. For
statistical estimates and map preparation, these areas were
reincorporated into the classified image.
Principal components analysis (PCA) allows compaction
of redundant data into fewer bands thereby reducing the
dimensionality The bands of PCA data are noncorrelated and
independent, and are often more interpretable than the source data,
yielding better classification results (ERDAS Inc 1999). Nine principal
components were derived from the original 9 bands of the ASTER.
The information contained in each component was checked and the
components containing most information were used for the analysis.
FIGURE 1. Map of the study area: Nepal (left), Annapurna conservation area showing the different VDCs of Mustang (middle) and Upper Mustang
showing Surkhang, the study area (right)
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BOX 1. Description of land cover classes used to classify the study area
Cover class
and settlement
Bare land
Water bodies
Shrub land
Snow cover
This class includes villages and community settlements, as well as adjoining crop fields and tree stands. Usually
trees and crop fields are along the periphery of clustered houses. Almost all of this class lies along riverbanks. This is
the pattern of settlement throughout the Upper Mustang region.
This class includes the land surface with little or no cover (i.e. less than 10% vegetation cover). The region of rock-
falls is also included in this class.
Rivers, streams, and rivulets constitute this class. Lakes formed by glaciers are frequently found above 5000 m
elevation. Perennial rivers, glacial lakes and permanent water bodies are included in this class while the small rivers
which remained dry during the time of image acquisition are not included
Grassland This is the most prevalent land cover ofthe area, usually above 4000 m. All high altitude pastures with smooth
slopes consist of alpine grasses. The habitat is highly favored by blue sheep and other grazers.
This is the second most prevalent land cover class above 3000 m. Lonicera obovata and Caragana spp. dominate this
class, associated in some locales with Berberisspp.
This class includes those peaks with permanent snow cover. They are usually found above 6000 m elevation.
The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) is
calculated from the reflected solar radiation in the near-infrared
(NIR) and red (RED) wavelength bands via the algorithm.
The NDVI is a nonlinear function, which varies between
-1 and +1 but is undefined when RED and NIR are both zero. The
NDVI can be used as an indicator for the amount of green biomass.
It is used to discriminate vegetated and non-vegetated regions in
image analysis to improve classification results.
Aspect in general has greater significance in vegetation
characteristics as it determines the amount of radiation available
for the plant. Around the world, aspect and slope are used as
predictors of vegetation types (Hamilton et al. 1997). The aspect
and slope images were derived from the available DEM and used
to test if they contribute significantly in cover type discrimination.
A review of studies carried out by Koirala and Shrestha
(1997) andRaut (2001) were undertaken in order to obtain a general
picture of land cover classes ofthe region. Taking into consideration
these earlier studies as well as the feasibility of cover discrimination
by image analysis, we developed a classification scheme (Box 1).
An unsupervised classification, the iterative self-
organizing data analysis (ISODATA) clustering algorithm, which
operates by initially seeding a specified number of cluster centroids
in spectral feature space (Debinski et al. 1999), was used to get an
idea of possible cover classes ofthe region. It served as an aid for
the supervised classification and selection of appropriate sites
during the training stage.
Supervised classification is an essential tool for extracting
quantitative information from remotely sensed image data
(Richards 1993). For this technique, a number of mathematical
approaches have been developed (Lillesand and Kiefer 2000). We
tested four common algorithms on the first 3 bands (in VNIR region)
of the ASTER image: minimum distance to mean (MDM),
mahalanobisdistance (MHD), parallelepiped (PPL) and maximum
likelihood (MLH). The algorithm that gave best results in terms of
accuracy was chosen for the final classification.
Training data were collected in order to obtain good
representatives of each vegetation type (Lillesand and Kiefer 2000).
Field observations, aerial photographs, topographical maps, Global
Positioning System (GPS) survey and the image ofthe unsupervised
classification were used to collect data from 70 training sites, which
included all types of land cover designated for the work. Spectral
signatures were collected from a wide range of elevations (3000 to
5600 m asl). Signatures were also collected from sites with
differences in topographic slope and aspect in order to normalize
differences in radiance. Two sets of data, one for the classification
and another for the evaluation ofthe classified image, were collected.
The collected spectral signatures were evaluated by plotting
the mean spectral signature and checking if the classes could be
discriminated using the given set of bands in the image. We also
plotted the signature ellipses in the feature space. The spectral mean
plot was calculated for a composite of 17 bands: 9 original ASTER
bands, 4 PC bands, DEM, slope, aspect and NDVI image. This helped
to determine which bands to include for the classification.
Results and discussion
Results of principal component analysis
PC 1 contained 80% of the information of the 9 original ASTER
bands. The combination of 4 principal components constituted
more than 99% ofthe information (Table 1). This means that 4 PCs
can give 99.89% ofthe information that the 9 original bands could
do. Therefore these 4 bands were used to determine the optimum
band combination for land cover classification.
Obtaining an optimum number of land cover classes
The results ofthe classified image ofthe unsupervised (ISODATA)
classification were used to create a histogram. The result of the
histogram is presented in the form of a line graph of the classes
(Figure 2). If a sharp decrease is present in the histogram, it could
represent the point where additional clusters are irrelevant (Tatham
and O'Brien 2001). Since there is a sharp fall in the number of pixels
TABLE 1. Principle components (PC) and % information contained
% explained variance
Cumulative %
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after the seventh class, it is concluded that seven classes would be
sufficient. However, during the field survey and ground truthing
work it was found appropriate to make a land cover map comprising
only 6 classes (as per the management relevance of the scope of
this work) (Boxl).
Spectral signature evaluation
The spectral signatures of five classes (excluding agriculture and
g 250000
°  200000
i 150000
10  11   12
FIGURE 2. Line graph of histogram analysis of 12 clusters (results of
ISODATA unsupervised classification)
settlements) were plotted against the 17 bands to evaluate and
determine which band combinations could best discriminate the
cover classes (Figure 3). Bands 3,5,7,8 and 9 could easily discriminate
the classes. PC 1 can discriminate the classes as well. Aspect and
NDVI image could discriminate the vegetated classes from the
non-vegetated ones. The PC 1 image, which contains only 88.66%
ofthe information ofthe original 9 bands, could differentiate the
cover classes better than original 1,2,4, and 6 bands. We tested our
hypothesis that the inclusion of this PC 1 image could compensate
for the loss of information ofthe excluded bands 1, 2, 4 and 6. A
combination including PC 1 and another combination without PC
1 were compared to find out if this hypothesis was valid.
Use of DEM as a separate band did not give usable results.
In the spectral plot, the DEM could discriminate the classes, but
that is not meaningful as the values are the locations ofthe pixel for
which the classes were taken. Eiumnoh and Shrestha (1997) reported
that DEM enhanced the classification techniques in their studies.
An unsupervised classification was run in the original bands with
DEM and the result was not as expected. Rather, the inclusion of
DEM as a separate band resulted in a rough classification of elevation
zones in the image.
Selection of appropriate classifier
The results of supervised classification carried out over the three
bands (in VNIR region to test the classification algorithms) using
four different classification algorithms (Table 2). These accuracy
assessments were done by using an independent set of ground
data i.e., other than that used for classification.
Among these 4 tested classifiers, the maximum likelihood
classifier gave superior results in terms of accuracy. Therefore, this
■>- CM
CT> i-
■ River
■ Grass
FIGURE 3. Spectral signatures mean plot of the classes
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classifier was used for all subsequent studies including the final
Selection of appropriate band combinations for classification
Detailed analysis of the available spectral and DEM information
showed that 4 combinations were promising for discriminating
the six classes (Sharma 2003). To find out the most suitable bands
for classification, these combinations were classified using
maximum likelihood classifier with a 95% confidence interval. The
results in terms of classification accuracy for the bands tested are
given in Table 3.
Since the classification of BC 4 which constituted bands
3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, NDVI and aspect gave the best overall classification
accuracy, this combination was used for final classification. The
users' and producers' accuracy are given in Table 4. It was found
that the inclusion of PC bands when other original bands suffice to
discriminate the classes did not enhance the classification accuracy.
A 3 by 3 majority filter was applied in order to smoothen
the salt-and-pepper appearance in the classified image according
to the methods and rational described by Eastman (1997). The land
cover map and its information are presented in Figure 4 and Table
5 respectively.
Vegetation patterns and their characteristics in Upper Mustang
The spatial analysis carried out using CIS showed that the agriculture
and settlement class was found between 3036 and 4212 m asl.
Cultivated fields and settlements were scattered and constitute
only a small portion ofthe total land cover in the region. Snow was
observed at elevations as low as 517 2 m asl. Grasslands were found
up to 7101 m asl, while shrub lands were found up to 7166 m asl.
(Interpretation ofthe values related to elevation should take into
account the release notes of DEM given in ASTER 2001).
In the study ofthe general distribution of vegetation in
the study area by aspect, grass species which were generally more
light-demanding were found primarily on east- to southwest-facing
slopes, while shrub species, which are shade tolerant, were found
on cooler north-, west-, and northwest-facing slopes, which received
fewer hours of sunlight (Figure 5).
The NDVI analysis showed that the shrub lands had higher
biomass (NDVI values) than grasslands. The NDVI, which varies
between-1 and+1 ingeneral,wasfoundtobebetween-0.46to0.32
for shrub land and -0.34 to 0.23 for grassland. The NDVI image
within each ofthe grassland and shrub land was classified into 3
classes to represent low, moderate and high density. The results
showed that the study area contained, for the most part, a low
density of grasslands and a moderate density of shrub land (Table
A classification of land cover with a high level of accuracy was
obtained from an ASTER image with maximum likelihood classifier.
Inclusion of ancillary data such as NDVI and aspect images increased
the classification accuracy. Based on the October 2002 image, we
found that cultivated land and settlements cover 0.31%, bare land
20.19%, water bodies 1.82%, grassland 36.01%, shrub land 32.57%
and snow 9.11% ofthe total area of Surkhang. Grass species were
abundant in east- to south-facing slopes while shrub species were
abundant in flat and west- to northwest-facing slopes. The
vegetation analysis showed that Surkhang contains a low density of
TABLE 2. Classification accuracy of different classifiers
SN       Classification algorithm
Overall accuracy
1 Minimum distance to mean (MDM) 64.38%
2 Mahalanobis distance (MHD) 66.93%
3 Parallelepiped (PPL) 62.03%
4 Maximum likelihood (MLH) 67.44%
TABLE 3. Description of band combinations (BC) and
the accuracy obtained
Band Constituent
combination     bands
1 Bands 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 77.78%
2 Bands 1,2,3, 4, 5,6, 7,8, 9 and Aspect        79.07%
3 Bands3,5,7,8,9,PCl,NDVIandAspect 91.73%
4 Bands 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, NDVI and Aspect 92.25%
TABLE 5. Area of land cover classes
Area (km2)
Agriculture and settlements
Bare land
Water body
Shrub land
Snow cover
TABLE 6. NDVI characteristics of two vegetation types
Shrub land
NDVI                    %
-0.345 to-0.152
-0.152 to 0.041
0.041 to 0.234
-0.462 to-0.20     4.78
-0.20 toO.062      91.67
0.062 to 0.324      3.55
TABLE 4. Producers' and users' accuracy of classified image using BC 4
Bare land
Water bodies
Shrub land
Snow cover
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^B Agriculture arid Settlement
| Bare Land
| Water Body
Grass Land
I Shrub LandLfl 0
|      | ~nii    "m mi i
10    Kibmilti*
FIGURE 4. Land cover map of Surkhang (upper) and a 3 dimensional
perspective view created by draping the land cover map over the Digital Elevation Model of the of the same study area (lower)
-   ■
|—A— Grass land —■ -Shrub land |
FIGURE 5. The distribution of vegetation at different aspects
grass species and a moderate density of shrub species. The output
of this study is the data regarding land cover and spatial relationships,
which may contribute to any spatial analysis related to the study
area for the Management Information Systems. ■
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This paper is based partly on the first author's M.Sc. thesis, which was carried
out at Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group; and Laboratory of Geo-
Information and Remote Sensing at Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
We are grateful to Karan Shah, Natural History Museum, TU, Frits Mohren
and Harm Bartholomeus, Wageningen University, for reviewing the paper
and for providing methodological and technical assistance. Many thanks to
Kishor Shrestha, Hira KC, Kaji R Adhikari and Basu D Neupane for their help
during data collection. UMBCP of KMTNC provided logistic support during
the fieldwork.
 research papers
Effect of gibberellic acid on reserve food mobilization of
maize (Zea mays L var Arun-2) endosperm during germination
Chandra K Subedif * and Tribikram Bhattarai}
f Research Centre for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST), Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
% Amrit Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: chandraks2000@yahoo. com
In the first 24 hrs of germination, the dry matter ofthe growth axis decreased in the control while in 1 mg/l GA3 solution it increased and
in 10 mg/l and 100 mg/l the amount remained the same. Exogenous GA3 overcomes the dry matter loss in the growth axis during the initial
stage and results in an increase in the amount of dry matter. GA3 application probably mobilized more soluble sugar to the growth axis,
which results in an increase in the amount of soluble sugar in the growth axis as compared to caryopsis grown under control. 1 mg/l GA3
enhanced the amount of soluble sugar and decreased the ether extract. In protein mobilization, 1 mg/l and 10mg/I GA3 solution appeared
as effective as other treatments during the period from 48 to 96 hrs after sowing. The germination of seeds correlated directly with the
mobilization of endosperm reserve. The seeds treated with 1 mg/l GA3 solution showed higher mobilization of endosperm reserve, which
ultimately showed the higher germination percentage.
Key words: GA3 mobilization, Zea mays, reserve food, protein, soluble sugar, ether extract
Him J Sci 1(2): 99-102
Received: 24 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 15 July 2003
Germination of seeds involves a rise in general metabolic activity
and initiates the formation of a seedling from the embryo. The first
step in germination is imbibition of water, which results in swelling
ofthe seed. This water uptake is accompanied by a rapid increase
in the respiratory rate ofthe embryo. Shortly after the absorption
of water by the seed, enzyme becomes active. Enzymes such as
lipases, proteinases, phosphatases and hydrolases, which help to
break down the storage materials, are either activated or synthesized
de novo (Bewley and Black 1985). The breakdown products are
later transported from one part of the seed to another and new
materials are also synthesized (Arteca 1997).
The major storage materials in the seed are lipids, proteins
and carbohydrates. These storage materials, to a considerable
extent, characterize the seeds and they are of course economically
the most significant part ofthe seed. The stored food materials are
enzymatically broken down to simpler components and
translocated to the embryo, the process known as mobilization,
where they provide an energy source for growth.
Most ofthe physiological activities and growth of plants
are regulated by hormones such as gibberellins, auxins and
cytokinin. GA3was found to enhance root growth, shoot growth,
shoot dry weight and accumulation of protein, carotenoids and
tissue nitrates inMangrove species (Kathireasan and Moorthy 1994).
The use of exogenous GA3 also accelerates germination.
Many workers have reported stimulation of endosperm
metabolism by the addition of exogenous gibberellic acid. Paleg
(1960, 1961) has described the dependence of loss of dry weight,
starch hydrolysis and protein release in excised barley endosperm
in the presence of added GA3 Studies with many varieties of barley,
wheat and oat have confirmed the generality of this effect (Paleg
Various studies on maize germination have been carried out by
many researchers. Ingleetal. (1964) observed the changes in various
chemical components such as sugars, proteins, lipids and nitrogen
without exogenously applied GA3. In the present work various
concentrations of exogenous GA3 (lmg/1, 10 mg/l and 100 mg/l)
were applied to test the hormonal effect on germination, dry matter
content and mobilization of endosperm reserve.
Materials and methods
Germination of caryopsis
Maize caryopses were obtained from the National Maize Research
Programme, Rampur, Chitwan. The maize grains were sun dried.
Healthy seeds of uniform size were used for the experiment.
After surface sterilization with 0.1 % NaOCl, the caryopses
were soaked in distilled water or in varying concentrations of Gly,
solution for 24 hrs and sown in a plastic box (250 mm x 160 mm x
110 mm) containing a double layer of filter paper moistened with
distilled water or GA3 solution. For 120 hrs (5 days), the seedlings
were left in the incubator in complete darkness at 28±LC.
Sample preparation
Twenty seedlings were removed at intervals of 24,48,72,96 and 120
hrs following each treatment. The endosperms and growth axis
(parts of seedling besides endosperm were separated by dissection.
The dissected endosperms were crushed vigorously with mortar
and pestle to form a fine powder that was used to determine the
amount of dry matter and reserve food ofthe endosperm (soluble
sugar, protein and ether extract). The growth axes were also dried
to determine their dry matter. After drying, the samples were kept
in plastic bags and stored at 4°C for further analysis. The dry matter
in the sample was determined by using the method described by
Bajracharya (1999).
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Chemical analysis of endosperm
The amount of water soluble mono- and disaccharides in the sample
was determined by anthrone reagent and standard calibration
techniques (Welcher 1966) using glucose as the standard.
Total nitrogen was determined by the modified Kjeldhal
method (PCARR 1980). The protein content ofthe sample was
determined by multiplying the total amount of nitrogenby 6.25 (cf
Bajracharya 1999). The amount of ether extract in each sample
was determined by using Soxhlets apparatus, following Paech and
Tracey (1955).
The amount of dry matter and endosperm reserve, and
the germination percentage of different treatments obtained in
this work were the average of three replications.
Results and discussion
Effect of gibberellic acid on seed germination
The percentage of germination increased up to 7 2 hrs and remained
constant afterwards in all treatments and control. Among the various
concentrations used in the experiment, 1 mg/l showed the highest
percentage of germination (98%) (Figure 1). The stimulatory effect
of GA3 on seed germination has been reported by many researchers
(e.g. Lang 1965, Stokes 1965). GA3 has also been reported to
overcome the inhibitory effect induced by abscisic acid on rice
germination (Bajracharya and Gupta 1978).
■ Control
■ 1 mg/l
-10 mg/l
■ 100 mg/l
24 48 72 96
Hours after sowing
FIGURE 1. Effect of gibberellic acid on seed germination
ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 1.45 at 0.05 level of significance
Effect of exogenous gibberellic acid on dry matter content
For all treatments as well as the control, the dry matter of endosperm
decreased gradually with time (Figure 2). The dry matter loss of
endosperm was higher in GA3-treated caryopsis than in the
caryopsis grown under control, which indicates that GAg enhanced
the mobilization of reserve materials from endosperm. GA3
induced mobilization of reserve materials was also observed by
Ingle and Hageman (1965). The greatest loss of endosperm dry
matter was observed with 1 mg/l GA3 treatment. The loss of dry
matter decreased as the concentration of GAg increased. This shows
that GA3 can enhance the mobilization only up to a certain
concentration, above which it appears to be less effective.
In the growth axis, there was loss of dry matter during the
initial 24 hrs of germination in caryopsis grown under control (Figure
3). This may have been due to the high rate of respiration in the
seedlings after imbibition ofwater. This respiration was independent
of protein synthesis but dependent on substrates stored in the
embryonic axis (Abdul-Baki 1969). On the other hand, the dry
matter in the growth axis increased c_ _iring that same initial period
with the 1 mg/l GA3 treatment or remained same with the 10 mg/
1 and 100 mg/l treatments and decreased under control. This
indicates that GAg application during germination overcomes the
dry matter loss in growth axis during the initial stage and results in
an overall increase in the amount of dry matter. After 24 hrs there
24 48 72
Hours after sowing
~ 60
*- 40
| 30
6 20
■ Control
• 1 mg/l
• 10 mg/l
• 100 mg/l
24 48 72 96
Hours after sowing
FIGURE 2. Effect of gibberellic acid on dry matter content of endosperm
ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 2.05 at 0.05 level of significance
FIGURE 3. Effect of gibberellic acid on dry matter content of growth axis
ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 1.66 at 0.05 level of significance
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was a gradual increase in the amount of dry matter in growth axis
both in the control and the GA3-treated plants. This gradual gain in
the amount of dry matter was due to the mobilization of food
reserves from endosperm. The increase or no change in dry matter
of growth axis in GA3 treated caryopsis in early 24 hrs could be due
to the mobilization of reserve food from endosperm to growth
axis. The mobilization in the control plants should have started
later only after synthesis of endogenous gibberellin, so it showed
loss in weight in early 24 hrs as carbohydrate of growth axis was
used in its metabolism.
Both in the control and treated plants, the total dry matter
gradually decreased during germination (Figure 4). This loss of dry
matter is due to the respiratory process. A similar result was also
reported by Malhotra (1934) and Ingle et al. (1964).
in the endosperm gradually diminished in the control and in all
treated plants (Figure 6). This trend is similar to that observed by
Ingle et al. (1964) and Paul and Singh (1981) in lentil seed. The
decrease in the amount of protein during germination is explained
by the fact that the protein is degraded into soluble nitrogenous
compounds through the action of proteolytic enzymes, which in
turn are utilized by various parts ofthe seedling (Mayer and Mayber
1982). The present study indicates that a 1 mg/l GAg solution may
be more effective in the mobilization of protein (as of sugar) than
the higher concentrations tested.
During germination the ether extract was depleted
Effect of GA3on mobilization of endosperm reserve
In all treatments and in the control there was a gradual increase in
the amount of soluble sugar during germination (Figure 5). GAg
application accelerated the hydrolysis of starch to soluble sugar by
enhancing the hydrolytic enzymes such as a-amylase, (3-amylase,
maltase and invertase. A similar result was also observed by Salla et
al. (1991) in rice. However the soluble sugar concentration was
higher in GAg treated sample than control in all observations of this
work, where endosperm treated with 1 mg/l hormone showed the
highest amount of soluble sugar. Endosperm with 100 mg/l GAg
treatment showed results more or less similar to those ofthe control.
The formation of more soluble sugar in caryopsis treated with 1
mg/l GA3 as compared to higher concentration treatments suggest
that lower concentrations may be more effective in the hydrolysis
of starch. The fall in the amount of soluble sugar during the early
hrs in the control, followed by an increase after 24 hrs indicates
that the conversion of starch to soluble sugar may commence at
that point, presumably with the onset of synthesis of endogenous
gibberellin. By contrast, caryopsis treated with 1 mg/l GA3 solution
showed a slight increase in the amount of soluble sugar in
endosperm in the first day after sowing while at 1 Omg/1 and 1 OOmg/
1 the amounts remained the same.
As germination progressed the amount of protein stored
24 48 72
Hours after sowing
FIGURE 4. Effect of gibberellic acid on dry matter content of seedling
as a whole: ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 2.14at0.05 level of significance
24 48 72
Hours after sowing
24 48 72
Hours after sowing
FIGURE 5. Effect of gibberellic acid on solouble sugar mobilization of
endosperm: ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 0.216 at 0.05 level of significance
FIGURE 6. Effect of gibberellic acid on protein mobilization of
endosperm: ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 0.515 at 0.05 level of significance
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120 -
£*    30
»    Control
—■—1 mg/l
—*— 10 mg/l
—x—100 mg/l
0 24 48 72 96
Hours after sowing
FIGURE 7. Effect of gibberellic acid on ether extract mobilization of
endosperm: ANOVA (variance ratio, treatment concentration)
CD = 0.02 at 0.05 level of significance
gradually (Figure 7). This depletion of ether extract is possibly due
to the conversion of fat into fatty acids and glycerol. Fatty acids are
metabolized by glyoxylate cycle to carbohydrate by 13-oxidation.
The glycerol is then converted into pyruvic acid or sugars (Stumpf
and Bradbeer 1959).
From this investigation, it becomes evident that reserve
food mobilization during germination is affected by GA3 application.
GA3 appears to be effective in dry matter loss also. The loss of
increased quantities of dry matter from the endosperm was
observed in GA3-treated caryopsis. This loss was related to the gain
of dry matter in the growth axis. But the gain in the amount of dry
matter in the growth axis was lower than the loss in the endosperm.
This may be due to the consumption of dry matter as a result of
respiratory processes in the germinating caryopses (Noggle and
Fritz 1991). The increase in the amount of soluble sugar is consistent
with the decrease in the amount of protein and fat; their breakdown
contributes to the formation of more sugar (Jann and Amen 1977,
Stumpf and Bradbeer 1959). Of those concentrations of GAg tested,
we found 1 mg/l to be most effective in mobilizing the reserve
carbohydrates, lipids and proteins. ■
Abdul-Baki AA. 1969. Metabolism of barley seed during early hours of germination. Plant Physiol44: 733-8
ArtecaRN. 1997. Plant growth substances: Principles and application. New Delhi:
CBS Publication. xvi+ 332 p
Bajracharya D andVNP Gupta. 1978. The effect of growth hormones on the germination and dormancy behavior of developing rice (Oryza sativa L.) seeds. /
Bajracharya D. 1999. Experiments in plant physiology. New Delhi: Narosa Publishing House. xii+ 186 p
BewelyJD and M Black. 1985. Seeds: Physiology of development and germination.
New York: Plenum Press
Ingle J and RH Hageman. 1965. Metabolic changes associated with the germination of corn III: Effects of GA3 on endosperm metabolism. Plant Physiol30:
Ingle J, L Beever and RH Hageman. 1964. Metabolic activities associated with the
germination of corn: Changes in weight and metabolites and their redistribution in the embryo axis, scutellum and endosperm. PlantPhysiol3Q: 735-40
Jann RC and RD Amen. 1977. What is germination? In: Khan AA (ed), Physiology and
biochemistry of seed dormancy and germination. New York: North Holland
Company, p 7-28
Kathireasan K and M Moorthy 1994. Hormone induced physiologicalresponse of
tropical Mangrove species. Botanica Mariana 37 (2): 139-41
Lang A. 1965. Effects of some external and internal conditions on seed germination. In: Ruhland W (ed), Encyclopedia of plant physiologyXV(2): 848-93
MalhotraRC. 1934. Chemistry of corn seed germination. Cereal Chem 11:105
Mallik CP 1992. Plant physiology. New Delhi: Kalyani Publisher. ix+ 676 p
Mayer AM and AP Mayber. 1982. The germination of seeds. New York: Pergamon. ix+
Noggle GR and GJ Fritz. 1991. Introductory plant physiology. New Delhi: Prentice
Hall. xii +627 p
PaechKandMVTracey (eds). 1955. Modern methods of'chemical analysis. Berlin:
Springer-Verlag. xv+ 766 p
Paleg LG 1960. Physiological effects of Gibberellic Acid: On carbohydrate metabolism and amylase activity of barley endosperm. Plant Physiol 35: 293-9
Paleg LG. 1961. Physiological effects of GA3 - III: Observation on its mode of action
on barley. Plant Physiol 36: 829-37
Paleg LG. 1962. Physiologicalresponse of GA3 -V: Endosperm response of barley
wheat and oats. PlantPhysiol37: 798-803
Paul Y and R Singh. 1981. Biochemical changes during germination of lentil seed.
JRes Punjab Agric Univ24(4): 715-9
PCARR. 1980. Standardmethodof analysis for soil, plant tissue, water and fertilizer.
Los Banos (Laguna): Farm Resource and Systems Research Division,
Philippine Council for Agriculture and Research. 194 p
Salla M, P Iikka and J Sanna. 1991. Mobilization of storage protein in germinating
barley grain. luonnon Tutkija 95 (1/2): 109-13
Stokes P. 1965. Temperature and seed dormancy. In: Ruhland W (ed), Encyclopedia
ofplantphysiologyXV(2): 746-803
Stumpf PK and C Bradbeer. 1959. Fat metabolism in higher plants. Ann RevPlPhysiol
10: 197-203
WelcherFJ (ed). 1966. Standardmethodol'chemicalanalysis,Vol3, PartB. NewYork:
D van Nostard Company Inc. xi+ 975-2018 p
The authors are thankful to the Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan
University, Kathmandu, Nepal, for providing the opportunity to conduct this
study and to Nepal Agricultural Research Council (N ARC) and Research Center
for Applied Science and Technology (RECAST) for the chemical analysis of
the endosperm.
 research papers
GIS-based flood risk zoning of the
Khando river basin in the Terai region of east Nepal
Keshav P Sharmaf *, Naba R Adhikarif, Pawan K Ghimire} and Prem S Chapagain§
f Department ofHydrology and Meteorology, POBox 406, HMG, Kathmandu, Nepal
J Geographic Information System and Integrated Development Centre, Kathmandu, Nepal
§ Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: kpspoudel@yahoo. com
Khando River, a rain-fed river originating in the Siwalik, is responsible for severe flood damage every year in southeast Nepal as well as in
India. The present study, GIS-based analysis of settlement areas lying in the flood plain indicated that 16 out of the 26 Village Development
Committees (VDCs) lie in the high-risk zone. People in 32 settlements in these 16 VDCs were found to be dependent on the flood zones,
meaning that a significant population is vulnerable to flood hazards. Analysis of land use within the basin showed that 80% of the total area
is used for agricultural purposes.
Keywords: Floodplain, flood risk, GIS, Khando, Terai
Him J Sci 1(2): 103-106
Received: 13 May 2003
Accepted after revision: 15 July 2003
The dynamic Himalayan rivers flowing southward through the
steep topography suddenly face a different physiographic regime
when they reach the Terai. This plain, stretching east-west in the
southern part of Nepal is actually the northern margin of the
Gangetic plain, where it interfaces with the Himalayan upthrust.
The rivers flowing through the Terai may be grouped
according to their sources: large snow-fed rivers from the high
Himalayas, medium-sized rain-fed rivers from the middle
Mountains, and smaller rivers dominated by flash floods from the
Notwithstanding their smaller size, the small rivers
originating in the Siwalik pose substantial hazards, particularly in
terms of flood-damage and sediment deposition. Despite these
problems, the region has been attracting a large agrarian population
because ofthe fertility ofthe land, which is primarily a result ofthe
flood-related alluvial deposits. Furthermore, increasing economic
activity, rapidly developing communications and establishment of
industrial infrastructure have been responsible for population
growth in the Terai at a rate much higher than that ofthe adjacent
hilly and mountainous areas. Although the Terai occupies only
about one fifth of the area of Nepal, almost half of the country's
population is exposed to the flood hazards of this region.
Study area
The Khando River basin covers 191 km2 in the Saptari District
(Eastern Development Region of Nepal), between 26°25'15" -
26°42'45" N and 86°40'40"- 86°48'30"E (Figure 1). The Khando River,
flowing from north to south, is about 47 km from its source to
where it crossed the Nepal-India border. The maximum width of
the basin is only about five kilometres. Within Nepal, the maximum
elevation ofthe basin is 585 m asl and the lowest elevation (at the
Nepal-India border) is 61 m asl.
Climatically the basin lies in a subtropical zone with
average temperatures varying from about 15°C in winter to 30°C in
summer. Annual precipitation in the region is 1000-1500 mm, with
more than 80% occurring during the summer monsoon months
(June to September). Loosely formed conglomerate ofthe Siwalik
and alluvial deposits of the Terai cover the Khando River basin.
Intense monsoon precipitation and fragile geological conditions
are the major influences on the flood regime ofthe basin.
There are 26 Village Development Committees (VDCs)
and one municipality, namely Rajbiraj, in the Khando River basin.
As of 1998 the population ofthe Khando basin stood at 152,000
(NDP 1999). Most of the population inhabits the southern part of
the watershed. Two percents of the total basin in the headwater
region is covered by forest, while the remainder of the basin is
dominated by agriculture (80%). There are extensive areas of dry
sand (10% ofthe total basin area) indicating the extreme variation
of streamflow paths as a result ofthe huge sediment transport and
deposition. The rest ofthe basin area (7%) is occupied by built-up
areas, water bodies, canal, and grassland including bamboo.
Materials and methods
The major source of data used in this study is the Topographic Map
ofthe study area at 1:25000 scale published by the survey department
of His Majesty's Government of Nepal in 1996. The drainage system,
contours, settlement areas, built-up areas, roads, and other features
were digitized as different thematic layers for GIS analysis. ArcView,
a window-based GIS software (ESRI1996) was used for most ofthe
Field data were collected for the cross sections of the
river at 6 different locations. Additional information regarding the
past observations of flood extents and flood damage was obtained
from local inhabitants ofthe study area in various villages by means
of interviews and group discussions.
Assessment of flood risk areas
The first approach used for determining the flood risk zone was a
simple approach using easily available basin maps and channel ♦
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information. The assumption made in this approach was that the area under flood
risk should broaden from upstream to downstream due to the increasing discharge
and the flattening of a floodplain. To define the floodplain, the basin was divided into
seven homogeneous segments. The catchment widening factor was obtained for
each zone based on the river length, intervening catchment area and the gradient of
the intervening catchments, using the following formula.
WF = Log
WF is the Widening Factor,
DR is the Distance Ratio,
CAR is the Catchment Area Ratio, and
RGR is the River Gradient Ratio.
FIGURE 1. Location map
The ratios were obtained using cumulative values for the respective sections from
upstream to downstream direction. The equation has been proposed here for the purpose
of buffering on the basis ofthe following criteria:
a) Catchment Area Ratio reflects the
effect of increased catchment area on widening of a river. Assuming that rainfall is distributed evenly over the watershed, the river is expected to widen with increasing distance from
the origin, due to input from a larger contributing area.
b) As gradient increases, the river is
capable of doing more widening work.
The buffering of the flood area obtained with the proposed equation was satisfactory when compared with field information.
Based on field observations and information about past flooding, it was judged
that in the first segment of the river, given the
actual channel width, distances of up to 300 m
from the river entailed high risk, while the area
between 300 m and 600 m from the river banks
was considered to be at low risk. Widening factors were for the remaining six downstream
sectors of the Khando floodplain were taken
into account in order to obtain the flood risk
zones using a buffering approach in Gf S. The
flood risk zone map, thus obtained, is presented
in Figure 2a.
Figure 2b presents the flood risk
zones obtained from detailed field information collected at several locations on major roads
and along the banks of the main river channel.
High-risk zones considered in this assessment
were the areas that, in most years, were inundated frequently. Data from local informants
constituted the primary basis for this delineation of flood risk zones.
Figure 2c presents the flood zones
in the study basin using an approach based on
hydrological computation. Cross sections ofthe
riverbed were measured at six different locations on the main river. Since no regular
hydrometric station existed in the basin, discharges at the measured cross-section sites
were estimated using a regional approach
(WECS/DHM 1990). fn this technique, the
floods for 2-year and 100-year return periods
are obtained as:
Q2   = 1.88 (A+l)088 (1)
Q100 = 14.6 (A+l)0-73 (2)
A is the area in km2,
Q2 and Q100 are the 2-year and 100-
year return period
discharges (m3/s) respectively.
Discharge values for other return
periods were obtained using standard normal
variates applicable for a given return period
(WECS/DHM 1990).
The hydrological estimates were applied to the measured cross section to obtain
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I f- t 1
IE     X       _.     <E
FIGURE 2. Flood risk zones in the Khando River basin based on: (a) distance buffering in GIS, (b) field information, (c) hydrology, and
(d) integration of GIS and field information
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flood water level. A method and software developed by PAGASA/
JICA (1996) were used to compute the water level and inundation
area. The method, based on non-uniform flow, assumes constant
discharge between two cross sections. Another limitation of this
technique is the accuracy of discharge estimates based on Equation 1 and Equation 2 as the regional equations are derived mainly
from data from medium-sized mountainous catchments in Nepal.
Figure 2d was obtained by using the overlay analysis
method available in the ArcView GIS system. This final flood risk
map of the Khando River basin draws on the flood risk maps
developed from GIS and the map based on field data analyses
(Figure 2a and Figure 2b).
Despite its importance, the slope factor could not be
used in this study, as the slope ofthe entire floodplain is less than
one degree. To take slope into account would require a better
resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Similarly, because of
inadequate information, the study did not take into account human
impacts on flood propagation through such infrastructure as roads,
embankments and canals.
Results and discussion
The final flood map (Figure 2d) was prepared with two categories
of flood risk: high-risk zone and low risk zone. The computation of
areas in each categories showed almost half of the area lay in the
lowriskzone and another halfinthe high-risk zone. In total, 32% of
the catchment area lay in the flood risk zone.
The flood map of Figure 2d compared well with the
flood map based on hydrology in Figure 2c. The flood risk zone
with a 50-year return period (Figure 2c) covered 40% of the
catchment area compared to 32% in Figure 2d. The lower flood
risk zone with 10-year return period was 18% (Figure 2c) compared
to 15% in Figure 2d.
GIS-based analysis of settlement areas lying in the flood
plain indicated that 16 out ofthe 26 VDCs lay in the high-risk zone.
People in 32 settlements of these 16 VDCs were found to be
dependent on the flood zones, meaning that a significant population
was vulnerable to flood hazards.
Analysis of land-use within the basin revealed that 80% of
the total area was used for agriculture purpose. Less than two
percent of the flood risk zone was covered by forest with a similar
percentage of grassland. Hence, the significant sharing of the
Khando floodplain by agriculture land, settlements and built-up
areas indicated an alarming situation, which needed special effort
in floodplain management.
The application of field observations along with hydrologic
and hydraulic information indicated that more than 60% of the
VDCs were vulnerable to different scales of flooding every year.
Existence of higher percentage of agriculture land in the flood
zones in the basin indicated the higher economic risk to the agrarian
population in the basin.
The flood risk zone delineation using GIS was applied in a
vulnerable area for which limited flood related information was
available. In view, also, ofthe poor resolution of DEM for the Terai,
the resulting map should be used with caution. Nevertheless, it
gave a broad assessment ofthe hazard. It is recommended hazard
assessment efforts be expanded with better data; in particular it
would be useful to add GIS layers representing slope and edaphic
Identification and delineation of flood risk zones are
essential aspects of any floodplain management scheme. GIS has
been found to be an excellent tool for such task as it can incorporate
many disparate variables and parameters in a two-dimensional or
three-dimensional spatial field. Application of GIS in this study of a
relatively small basin in theTerai of Nepal showed that such studies
could be extended to the entire Gangetic floodplain, which is shared
by one ofthe most populous areas ofthe world. ■
ESRI. 1996. ArcViewGIS: The geographic information system for everyone. California:
Environmental System Research Institute
GeorgakakosKE 2000. Areal flash floodguidance with global applicability: A summary
report. Geneva: World Meteorological Organization (WMO). 6 p
NDP. 1999. Nepal district profile. Kathmandu: National Research Associate. 908 p
PAGASA/JIC A. 1996. User's manual of computer programme: Non-uniform flow
calculation. Seminar/Workshop on Flood Loss Mitigation; 1996 Feb 28-Mar
8; Quezon City. Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical Astronomical Services
Administration (PAGASA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
and ESC AP/WMO Typhoon Committee
WECS/DHM. 1990. Methodologies for estimating hydrological characteristics of
ungaugedlocations in Nepal. Kathmandu: Water and Energy Commission
Secretariat and Department of Hydrology and Meteorology HMGN. 77p
We thank Madan L Shrestha (Department of Hydrology and Meteorology) for
encouragement and guidance, and Mandira Shrestha for her useful comments.
The study was supported by the Flood Forecasting Section, DHM, HMG Nepal.
 research papers
Physiochemical characteristics of soil in tropical sal
(Shorea robusta Gaertn.) forests in eastern Nepal
Shishir Paudelf * and Jay P Sah$
f BrookfieldInternational College, Kathmandu, Nepal
J Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal:
Present address- Southeast Environmental Research Center, Florida International University, Mami, FL 33199, USA
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:paudel84@yahoo. com
The physiochemical properties of soils of two different types of forests (pure Shorea robusta and mixed Shorea robusta) were analyzed.
Soil samples were collected from both types of forest and analyzed for texture, pH, organic matter, humus content, water holding capacity,
nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. In both the pure and mixed forest, soil was sandy loam (60.12% and 50.58% sand, 28.59% and
35.24% silt and 11.12 and 22.41 % clay, respectively). The pH value was lower in pure forest (4.33) than in the mixed forest (5.26), and
so were phosphorus and water holding capacity. The higher values of humus, organic matter, nitrogen and potassium (7.34%, 2.42%,
0.117%, 267.73 kg/ha, respectively) were found in pure forest. The higher levels of soil nutrients in the pure forest were due partly to
reduction in the loss of top soil and partly to the increased supply of nutrients in the form of leaf litter and biomass from the larger number
of sal trees and their saplings.
Keywords: Shorea robusta, soil texture, nitrogen, soil pH, Udayapur
HimJScil(2): 107-110
Received: 16 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 20 June 2003
Forest soils influence the composition of the forest stand and
ground cover, rate of tree growth, vigor of natural reproduction
and other silviculturally important factors (Bhatnagar 1965). For
instance, growth of Shorea robusta (sal) and other tree species,
such as Terminalia alata and Syzygium cumini, in tropical forests
is highly influenced by nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and soil
pH (Bhatnagar 1965). Physiochemical characteristics of forest soils
vary in space and time due to variations in topography, climate,
physical weathering processes, vegetation cover, microbial activities,
and several other biotic and abiotic variables. Vegetation plays an
important role in soil formation (Chapman and Reiss 1992). For
example, plant tissues (from aboveground litter and belowground
root detritus) are the main source of soil organic matter (OM),
which influences physiochemical characteristics of soil such as
pH, water holding capacity (WHC), texture and nutrient availability
(Johnston 1986). Nutrient supplyvaries widely among ecosystems
(Binkley and Vitousek 1989), resulting in differences in plant
community structure and production (Ruess and Innis 1977, Chapin
et al. 1986). Organic matter supplies energy and cell building
constituents for most microorganisms (Allison 1973) and is a critical
factor in soil fertility (Brady 1984).
The vegetation zones in Nepal clearly reflect edaphic
variations (Bhatta 1981). The Terai region is characterized by alluvial
soil, which is transported by the river systems. River deposits more
sand and silt than clay in the flood plains ofthe Terai that support
the dense forests of sal and other valuable timber trees. However,
the sal forests are in a degraded state in terms of both density as
well as ground vegetation because of indiscriminate cutting,
recurring forest fire and uncontrolled grazing. In fact, more than
half of the tropical soil in the world is highly weathered, leached
and impoverished, and therefore mechanisms to conserve nutrient
in the ecosystem are important (Sanchez 1976, Jordan 1985). The
objective ofthe present study was to documentthe physiochemical
characteristics (WHC; pH; soil texture; N, P, K, OM and humus
content) of soil in two separate and dissimilar sal forests: a pure
stand of S. robusta managed by the local community, and a mixed
S. robusta forest managed by the government.
Materials and methods
Study area
The study was carried out in April and May 1998 in Ward 6 of
Triyuga Municipality in Udayapur district of eastern Nepal (86°9'-
87°10' E, 26°39'-27°l 1' N), and comprised the pure S. robustaSanua
Sukanahi community forest as well as the mixed Banke Danda
national forest. The elevation ofthe site ranges from 210 to 250 m
asl. The soils are non-sticky sandy loam because the geological
formation of the district lies in the Siwalik zone (Nepal District
Profile 1997). Though the study area has a tropical monsoon climate
and receives a great deal of rain, the area seems somewhat arid
because most ofthe rainfall flows away quickly as surface run-off,
allowing the soil to dry quickly. These are ideal conditions for sal (S.
robusta), which grows poorly in water logged soil (Stainton 1972).
Soil sampling
Soil was taken from 15 cm deep cores. It was collected from 30
randomly distributed sites in each ofthe pure and mixed forests.
The collected soil samples were packed in polythene bags and taken
to the laboratory for analysis. Soil analyses were performed at the
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, and the Nepal
Agriculture Research Council (NARC), Kathmandu. Soil texture
was determined by the hydrometer method (PCARR1980) and the
texture group was determined by means of a texture triangle (USDA
system). Organic matter and humus content were determined using
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the methods described in PCARR (1980). Total nitrogen content
was determined by means ofthe Kjeldalel method. Phosphorus
was determined using the Truog method; potassium content by
flame photometer; and soil pH by the potentiometric method,
using a digital pH meter and sampling soil and water in a 1:1 ratio
(PCARR 1980). Humus content and WHC were calculated by using
the following formula (cf Zobel et al. 1987).
Humus content (%) =
Weight of humus
Weight of soil
Water holding capacity (%) =
Water retained by the
soil at saturation
Weight of dry soil
Data analysis
To find the relationships between the parameters of soils of these
forests, the correlation coefficient was calculated following the
formula used by Pearson (1957).
Vegetation ofthe study area was dominated by the S. robusta. Both
forests had similar types of plant species composition. The pure S.
robusta was forest composed predominantly of S. robusta, in
association with Adina cordifolia, Schleichera oleosa, Swida
oblonga, Semecarpus anacardium, and other species. In the mixed
S. robusta forest, S. robusta and Terminalia alata were equally
dominant. Other associated species included Syzygium cumini,
Bombaxceiba, Acacia catechu, Schleichera oleosa, and Semecarpus
Both forests had sandy loam type of soil texture. The soil
of pure S. robusta forest was composed of sand (60.12%+3.59%),
silt (28.59%+3.18%),and clay (12.24%+1.62%);while the proportions
for the mixed S. robusta forest were 50.58%+5.84%, 35.24%+4.54%,
and 22.41%+3.20%, respectively (Figure 1).
Soil in both forests was acidic. It was more acidic in the
pure S. robusta forest (pH = 4.33+0.39) than in the mixed S. robusta
forest (5.26+0.58) (Figure 2). The soil in mixed S. robusta forest
had higher WHC (49.80%+6.30%) than that in pure S. robusta forest
The humus content ofthe soil in the two forests was not
noticeably different: the value was only slightly higher in the pure S.
robusta forest (7.34%+1.47%) than in the mixed S. robusta (5.5%+
0.99%) forest (FIGURE 2).
The average organic matter content in the soil of the pure
S. robusta forest was 2.42%+0.39%, compared to 1.74%+0.31 in the
mixed S. robusta forest (Figure 2).
The mean soil nitrogen content in both forests was more
or less similar, slightly higher in pure S. robusta forest
(0.117%+0.01%) than in mixed S. robusta forest (0.111%+0.01%)
(Figure 3).
The mean value of available phosphorus in the soil ofthe
pure S. robusta forest was 76.64+4.95 kg/ha, slightly less than the
79.29+3.92 kg/ha found in mixed S. robusta forest (Figure 3). The
mean value for potassium was higher in the pure S. robusta forest
than that in the mixed S. robusta forest, available potassium in the
soil of the S. robusta forest was 267.73+29.93 kg/ha, compared with
233.86+18.43 kg/ha in the mixed S. robusta forest was (Figure 3).
The correlation analysis among the different soil
parameters showed that the pH was negatively correlated with
organic matter (r = -0.311) and nitrogen (r = -0.422), whereas there
was positive correlation between pH and all other parameters such
as humus content, water holding capacity, phosphorus and
potassium content (Table 1). However, none of these correlations
were found statistically significant.
Organic matter was slightly negatively correlated with
potassium (r = -0.052) and WHC (r = -0.030), while it was slightly
positively correlated with nitrogen, phosphorus and humus content.
However, these correlations were not found statistically significant
either. Nitrogen showed significant negative correlation with
phosphorus (r = -0.610) and positive correlation with potassium (r
= 0.903). It also showed positive correlation with WHC and negative
correlation with humus content. Phosphorus showed significant
positive correlation with potassium (r = 0.519).
20 -
□ pure forest
■ Mixed forest
Sand (%)
Silt (%)
Clay (%)
FIGURE 1. Soil texture in the forest
10 -i
8 -
6 -
4 -
2 -
□ Pure forest
■ Mixed forest
pH OM content Humus       WHC(xl0%)
(%) content (%)
FIGURE 2. Different soil parameters
3.5 -,
3 -
l J
□ Pure forest
■ Mixed forest
Nitrogen content (%) Phosphorus (x Potassium (x lOOKg/ha)
FIGURE 3. Different soil parameters
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On the basis of vegetation composition and dominance of different
plant species, forests were categorized into pure and mixed S.
robusta forests. The pure S. robusta forest (managed by the local
community) was highly dominated by S. robusta, while the mixed
S. robusta forest (government managed, with free access for local
people), was heterogenous and equally dominated by S. robusta
and Terminalia alata. Other major associated species were
Semecarpus anacardium, Adina cordifolia, Syzygium cumini,
Bombax ceiba and Acacia catechu.
Soil texture in both the forests of the study area was of
the sandy loam type, suitable for good sal regeneration and high
quality trees (Gupta 1951). This sandy loam texture is very common
in the Terai, and in Siwalik and Dun valleys, all of which support
dense sal forests and other valuable timber trees (Shah 1999). The
supply of water to plants usually is greater as the texture becomes
finer (Black 1968). Soil texture also affects the nutrient supply ofthe
soil. The present result is similar to the finding of Shrestha (1997) in
Chitrepani, Sigdel (1994) in Royal Chitwan National Park (RCNP),
Rana et al. (1988) and Gupta and Shukla (1991) in sal forests in
India. This may be due to the similar type of forest vegetation, i.e.,
S. robusta dominated forest.
Soils in the forests were acidic in nature. Shrestha (1992)
reported that in the Terai most ofthe soils are acidic. However, in
the present study pure S. robusta forest soil was found to be more
acidic than that of mixed S. robusta forest. The pH range in the
present study was lower than the values reported by Sigdel (1994)
in Royal Chitwan National Park (5.90-6.42), by Karki (1999) inKoshi
Tappu Wildlife Reserve (6.4-7.1), or by Singh and Singh (1985) in S.
robusta dominant central Himalaya forests (6.7-6.8). This may be
due to local environmental factors such as aspect, rainfall, and
vegetation composition. However, the values observed in this study
were more or less similar to those reported by Singh and Singh
(1989). They reported a pH range of 4.5-5.5 in the sal forest and
concluded that this range is propitious for sal sapling growth. Good
sal regeneration areas have low pH in soils (Bhatnagar 1965). The
finding of higher acidity in the sites is consistent with other
observations (Banerjee et al. 1986, Singh et al. 1987). Soils with
higher pH generally have poorer capacity for regeneration
(Suoheimo 1995). The low pH value in the present study area may
be due to the continuous decomposition of surface litter over six
years. The lower pH in the pure S. robusta forest than in the mixed
S. robusta forest is probably due to higher number of sal trees and
their saplings (Bhatnagar 1965), and the accumulation of leaf litter
as well. The acidic nature of the soil at our study site may be
attributed to the high rainfall, which is sufficient to leach basic
cations from the surface horizons of the soils. Similar result was
reported by Miller (1965).
Humus content was more or less similar in both forests,
TABLE 1. Correlation coefficient among different soil parameters
OM= Organic matter, N= Nitrogen, P= Phosphorus, K= Potassium,
WHC= Water holding capacity
as was organic matter content. The latter ranged from 1.74 to 2.42%,
comparable to the 1.74-2.33 range that, according to Suoheimo
(1995), is indicative of low soil fertility. Brady (1984) mentioned that
the higher soil organic matter occurred more commonly in cooler
than warmer climates such as that of our study area. This may
explain the occurrence of relatively low organic matter content in
the soil despite the fact that litter had been accumulating over six
years, especially in the pure S. robusta forest. Out of these two
studied sites, pure S. robusta forest had higher organic matter
content than the mixed S. robusta forest which may be because of
more litter accumulation and decomposition in the former.
Tamhane et al. (1964) mentioned that decomposing litter adds
organic matter to the soil. It was seen that local people frequently
visit the mixed S. robusta forest to collect forest products because
in the pure S. robusta forest restrictions have been imposed on the
exploitation of forest products. While, organic matter in the present
study area was lower than the value (1.8-4%) reported from the
forests in Riyale (Shrestha 1996), but within the range (0.23-1.8%)
reported by Sigdel (1994) for Royal Chitwan National Park. Aweto
(1981) reported that organic matter content increases with the
maturation of forest. The mixed S. robusta forest is more mature,
and might therefore be expected to contain more organic matter,
than that ofthe pure S. robusta forest, but our data does not confirm
this expectation, probably because the pure S. robusta forest had
been protected for the previous six years, and litter collection had
not been as intensive as in the mixed forest, and also due to the low
organic input from the vegetation cover in the mixed S. robusta
The value of WHC for both forests ranged from 43.03 to
49.80%. According to Bhatnagar (1965), the WHC of soils from sal
regeneration areas is higher. WHC in the present study area was
higher than that in the Pinus roxburghii forest (9%) and in Oak
forest (17%) in Garhwal Himalaya (Sah et al. 1994). Despite the
higher organic matter and humus content in the pure S. robusta
forest than in the mixed S. robusta forest, the WHC value was less
in the former, probably because of the coarser soil texture; the
pure S. robusta forest had more sand than the mixed S. robusta
The nitrogen content of soil did not differ significantly in
the two forests, and was similar to the values reported in other
forests such as Chitrepani (0.04-0.09%) (Shrestha 1997). The value
of soil nitrogen was less than the value reported from the forests in
Nagarkot (0.18-0.28%; Juwa 1987), in Namchi, Sikkim (0.57%;
Gangopadhayaya et al. 1992) and in the Royal Chitwan National
Park (0.13%; Sigdel 1994). The fact that the nitrogen content in the
soil was relatively low (according to the soil fertility rating system
developed by NARC, 1998/1999) was probably due to the
dominance of S. robusta. According to Bhatnagar (1965), there is
low nitrogen content in good sal dominant and regeneration areas.
In the floodplains, sandy loam soil is deficient in nitrogen (Sah
1997). The low nitrogen content in soil at our study site may have
been due to the continuous losses through leaching and run-off
(Allen 1964).
Our two study forests had high phosphorus ratings,
according to the soil fertility rating system, NARC (1998/99). The
soil in the pure S. robusta forest had higher phosphorus content
than that in the mixed S. robusta forest; higher than the 22.59-44.28
kg/hareported in the Riyale forest (Shrestha 1996), and higher than
the 3-4 kg/ha in the Nagarkot forest (Juwa 1987). However, it was
very close to the value reported for the Chitrepani forest (Shrestha
1997). It was coincided with the findings of Bhatnagar (1965).
Potassium content was higher in the pure S. robusta forest
than in the mixed S. robusta forest. The value varied from 233.86
kg/ha to 267.73 kg/ha. According to Bhatnagar (1965), potassium
in soil is higher in good sal regeneration areas. The sites of the
present study had a higher rate of regeneration of sal, probably due ♦
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to the presence of higher proportion of potassium. The value was
within the range of 86.40-262.8 kg/ha as reported in S. robusta
forest in Chitrepani (Shrestha 1997), but less than that (329.57-399
kg/ha) reported in Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve (Karki 1999) and
higher than the value (41.01-87.79 kg/ha) reported in two sal forests
in the hills of Kavreplanchowk (Pant 1997).
The forest soils in our study area contain significant
quantities of all the nutrients except nitrogen. According to the soil
fertility rating system of NARC (1998/99), phosphorus had a high
value and potassium a medium value, while nitrogen had a low
rating value. Overall, the pure S. robusta forest had higher soil
nutrients than the mixed S. robusta forest, probably due to higher
organic matter input from the tree cover as it had over six years'
litter decomposition.
Soils in the forests were sandy loam. There was low nitrogen, high
phosphorus and medium potassium content. Soil characteristics
seem to have strong influence on the vegetation of the present
study area and vice versa. The pure S. robusta forest had relatively
good soil characteristics as compared to the mixed S. robusta forest.
On the whole the nutrient-poor status of the soils found under
these forests represents the degraded status of the forest.
Degradation may be partly natural and partly deliberately induced
by the local people for fulfilling their household needs through
various strategies. Hence, the conservation of sal forests is an urgent
need. The proper management ofthe forests will increase the
quality of soils and the forest. ■
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We are thankful to IFRI for providing financial support and to the staff for their
companionship in the field study; and to the Central Department of Botany,
Tribhuvan University, and NARC for providing laboratory facilities to analyze
 research papers
Control of flea beetle, Phyllotreta nemorum L. (Coleoptera:
Chrysomelidae) using locally available natural resources
Indra P Subedi* and Kamini Vaidya
Central Department of Zoology, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: indrasubedi@hotmail com
Aqueous extracts of six different plants (Acorus calamus, Ageratum conyzoides, Azadirachta indica, Duranta repens, Spilanthes acmella
and Urtica dioca) and diluted animal urine (buffalo and cow) were tested for mortality rate of flea beetle (Phyllotreta nemorum) in the
laboratory. Results were compared with the effects of commercial neem product (neem azal) on flea beetle mortality. The host plant taken
for the study was radish (Rhaphanus sativus). Three concentrations of aqueous plant extracts (1 kg/5 1,1 kg/101 and 1 kg/201 of water),
three concentrations of animal urine (20%, 15% and 10%) and two concentrations of neem azal (0.1 % and 0.01 %) were tested in three
replications. Observations on the beetle mortality were made at 24 hrs and thereafter on alternate days for a week (168 hrs). All tested
concentrations of S. acmella, buffalo urine and cow urine were effective in flea beetle control; A. calamus, A. indica and U. dioca were
significantly better in controlling flea beetle (P<0.05), but only at the highest concentrations tested. The best treatments from in-vitro
experimentation (the highest concentrations of S. acmella, buffalo urine and cow urine) were evaluated further in vivo. Results showed that
all three treatments were effective in controlling the flea beetle (P<0.05).
Keywords: Cattle urine, marati, neem, neem azal, radish
HimJScil(2): 111-114
Received: 10 May 2003
Accepted after revision: 21 July 2003
Thefleabeetle (Phyllotretanemorum) is awidespread and common
pest of cruciferous plants. Frequently it is serious pest in seedbeds
and on newly transplanted vegetables. The adults feed on the
cotyledons and leaves of young plants; feeding produces a shot
hole effect. Occasionally seedlings may be completely destroyed.
The larvae live in the soil and feed upon the roots ofthe host plants
but do little damage.
Three species of flea beetles are reported from Nepal: P
cruciferae, P. nemorum and Monolepta signata (Vaidya 1995).
Control ofthe flea beetle is a problem in many parts ofthe world.
Fan and Huang (1991) included Phyllotreta species as serious pest
in Taiwan. Various control measures, such as seed dressing with
BHC or treatment with DDT, BHC or Derris dust, are in practice
for the control ofthe fleabeetle. Turnoc and Turnbill (1995) reported
the development of resistance by the cruciferous flea beetle (7?
cruciferae) towards insecticides including carbofuran, carbaryl,
oxanyl, methamidofos and endosulfan. Fan and Huang (1991) also
have noted the development of resistance by the insect. Along with
resistance problems, there are many problems entailed in the
application of chemical pesticides such as health hazards,
environmental effects, adverse effects on non-target organisms,
and destruction of natural enemies. Therefore, it is necessary to
search for alternative methods to control the flea beetle in an eco-
friendly manner. This paper reports on the use of natural agents
such as plant- and animal-based products in controlling the flea
beetle, Pnemorum.
Materials and methods
Experiments were first carried out in the laboratory using test cages
and then repeated in the field using those treatments found to be
successful in the laboratory. The field trials were carried out in
Pokhara Valley, Kaski district, Nepal, from March to June 1999.
Testing was performed on adult flea beetles (Pnemorum). Insects
were collected from the cruciferous plants (especially radish) in
the study area. Radish (Rhaphanus sativus) was chosen for testing
because it can be cultivated easily and it allows effective assessment
of flea beetles during the test. Transparent plastic bottles 7.5 cm
high by 6 cm in diameter were used as test cages. The mouths of
the bottles were covered with muslin to prevent the insects from
escaping. Six pesticidal plants and 2 animal products were tested.
Selection of the plants and animal products was based on
information collected from local farmers; abundance and
availability were taken into consideration. The selected plants were
Acorus calamus (Bojho), Ageratum conyzoides (Ganmane ghans),
Azadirachta indica (Neem), Duranta repens (Nil kanda), Spilanthes
acmella (Marati) and Urtica dioca (Stinging nettle). Buffalo urine
and cow urine were the selected animal products. The natural
resources were collected from the experimental site in Pokhara
Valley. Neem azal (Azadirachtin), a commercial neem product
provided by Trifolio-m-Gmbh, Germany, was the only formulated
compound tested.
For the preparation of an aqueous extract, a fixed amount
of chopped plant parts was ground and soaked in water in polythene
bags. The soaked materials were allowed to settle in the shade.
After 48 hrs, the materials were squeezed and then filtered. The
residue was again mixed with water and squeezed and filtered. This
process was repeated three times. The filtrate was collected and
diluted to make the required solution (Table 1).
Laboratory tests were carried out by spraying radish
leaves with the various extracts, urine and neem azal, and placing
them inside the experimental cages separately. Ten beetles were
 research papers
placed in each cage bottle. The mouths ofthe bottles were covered
with muslin cloth for aeration and to prevent insect from escaping.
The leaves inside the cage were replaced daily with leaves to which
the same treatment had been applied at the beginning of the
experiment. The experiment was continued for 168 hrs of spray
For the field experiment, three blocks of equal size (4.5 m
xl m) were prepared. Each block consisted of four plots. A distance
of 50cm was maintained between blocks and between plots. Each
plot was of size 100 cm by 75 cm. Twenty plants were planted in
each plot. Treatments were randomly arranged.
In the laboratory, the treatment was applied using a
syringe. The volume of spray solution per leaf was about 3 to 5 ml.
In the field, a hand sprayer was used for spraying. The rate of
treatment application was controlled by adjusting walking speed.
The distance between the nozzles and the plant tips was about 40-
50 cm during application. The applied spray volume corresponds
TABLE 1. Experimental materials and concentration of preparation used
in the study
Experimental material
Fresh leaves of Ageratum
conyzoides, Azadirachta indica,
Urtica dioca
1 Kg/201
Fresh rhizome of Acorus
1 Kg/201
Fresh fruits of Duranta repens
1 Kg/201
Fresh flower heads of
Spilanthes acmella
1 Kg/201
Buffalo urine
Cow urine
Neem azal
to 500 ml/plot. The time of application of test materials was between
3 pm to 4 pm. All the applications were made under natural weather
For assessment of mortality in the laboratory, three
replications were used for each treatment. The effect of treatments
on the flea beetle was recorded at 24 hrs, 72 hrs, 120 hrs and 168 hrs
of treatment application. The three most effective treatments, as
assessed in the laboratory study, were used in the field tests. Five
plants in each plot were selected randomly for observation. The
number of live flea beetles on these five plants was noted before
treatment and 24 hrs after treatment application and then on
alternate days for a period of one week.
The mortality coefficient (MC) value was estimated
following Abbott (1925):
Where,   T= Percentage mortality in control
C= Percentage mortality in treatment
In the laboratory, the percentage mortality of the flea
beetle for the various treatments at varying concentrations 24 hrs
and 168 hrs after treatment was analyzed by two-way ANOVA. In
the field, the number of flea beetles per plant was used to estimate
the mortality variance.
Laboratory experiment
Variation in percentage mortality with time
In all treatments mortality occurred in the flea beetles. The
percentage of mortality was higher in various treatments than in
control and highest mortality occurred with Neem azal (Figure 1,
2, 3). The mortality value gradually increased from the beginning
ofthe treatment, and after 168 hrs, the values reached 76.7% for S.
acmella, 73.3% for buffalo urine and 66.7% for cow urine at Cl
concentration. At C2 concentration, it was 70%, 66.7% and 60% for
S. acmella, buffalo urine and cow urine respectively. The percentage
mortality data when analyzed for treatment effect showed a
significant difference (p<0.05) between treatment concentrations
and among treatments.
TABLE 2. Mortality coefficient of flea beetle by treatment and concentration in laboratory
Mortality coefficient of flea beetle
24 hrs after treatment
168 hrs after treatment
lKg/5 1
lKg/5 1
Acorus calamus
Duranta repens
Urtica dioca
Buffalo urine
Cow urine
Neem azal
Mortality coefficient of flea beetle
Mortality coefficients of flea beetles for each
treatment at 24 hrs and 168 hrs after
treatment application were calculated. The
mortality coefficient increased with increase
in concentration in all cases except in the
case of S. acmella and U. dioca at 24 hrs of
treatment application.
Mortality coefficients for all
treatments after 168 hrs of treatments
application were found to be greater than
MC values at 24 hrs of treatment application
(Table 2). All concentrations of S. acmella,
buffalo urine and cow urine showed
significant effects. Cj concentration of S.
acmella, buffalo urine and cow urine
showed MC values of 70.8, 66.7 and 58.3
respectively, which are close to the value for
neem azal (79.2).
Field experiment
Percentage reduction in flea beetle
At 24 hrs of treatment application, the
number of flea beetles per plant decreased
 research papers
24 hours 72 hours 120hours        168 hours
Period of observation
-♦—A calamus
■X— D. repens
H— Buffalo urine
-A conyzoides
- S. acmella
-Cow urine
-A indica
- U. dioca
-Neem azal
FIGURE 1. Percentage mortality of flea beetle for different treatments
with respect to duration of treatment at C1 concentration (1 kg/5 I) in
by 76% with cow urine, 74.5% with S. acmella and 55.7% with
buffalo urine whereas in the control plot the value corresponds to
10.1% (Figure 4). The highest reduction in flea beetle population
was recorded in plots treated with cow urine. One week after
treatment, there was a significant reduction in flea beetle populations
(buffalo urine 75.4%, cow urine 75% and S. acmella70.9%), while in
the control plot the number of flea beetle per plant remained more
or less stable throughout the study period (Figure 4).
Variation in population per plant with respect to time
In the field, the population of flea beetles was greatly reduced in all
treated plots compared to those in control plots. In the control
plot, there was a slight fluctuation in the number of live flea beetle
per plant. Flea beetle population per plant at the end of experiment
was found to be the least on plants treated with cow urine (1.8
insects/plant). Buffalo urine (2.0) and S. acmella (2.1) were the
second and third most effective treatments. However, in the control
plot, there was only a slight change in populations, from an average
of 9.2 before treatment to 8.9 one week after treatment (Figure 5).
The differences among the treatments were statistically significant
24 hours
-♦—A. calamus
-X— D. repens
-\— Buffalo urine
72 hours 120hours
Period of observation
-■—A. conyzoides       —*
-9K— S. acmella —•-
——Cow urine ——
168 hours
-A. indica
- U. dioca
- Neem azal
24 hours        72 hours        120hours
Period of observation
168 hours
□ Buffalo urine  ■ Cow urine  M S. acmella   B control
FIGURE 2. Percentage mortality of flea beetle for different treatments
with respect to duration of treatment at C2 concentration (1 kg/10 I) in
FIGURE 4. Percentage reduction in flea beetle population after treatment at C, concentration (1 kg/5 I) in field
70 i
24 hours
-♦—A calamus
■X— D. repens
H— Buffalo urine
72 hours 120hours       168 hours
Period of observation
-A conyzoides
- S. acmella
-Cow urine
-A indica
- U. dioca
7 -
6 -
5 -
Before      24 hours    72 hours    120hours   168 hours
Period of observation
□ Buffalo urine ■ Cow urine M S. acmella B control
FIGURE 3. Percentage mortality of flea beetle for different treatments
with respect to duration of treatment at C3 concentration (1 kg/20 I) in
FIGURE 5. Flea beetle population per plant with respect to duration of
treatment at C1 concentration (1 kg/5 I) in field ^
 research papers
(p<0.05). However, treatments were not significant at 1 % level at 24
hrs of treatment application. The effect was highly significant
(p<0.01) after 168 hrs of treatment application.
The study shows that all the tested natural resources possess
pesticidal properties to some degree or other. A. calamus, A. indica,
S. acmella, U. dioca, buffalo urine and cow urine are proved
effective agents for flea beetle control; the effect of A. conyzoides
and D. repens was not significant.
All tested concentrations of S. acmeT/a showed significant
results. Kadir et al. (1989) also showed that extracts of S. acmella
were toxic against adult American cockroach (Periplaneta
americana). The pesticidal property of S. acmella is due to its
active component Spilanthol (Kadir et al. 1989). The N-isobutyl
amides from flower buds of S. acmella were effective against Aedes
aegyptilarvae and Helicoverpa zea neonates at 12.5 and 250 ug/ml
concentration respectively (Ramsewak et al. 1999).
Regmi and Kama (1998) have shown that A. calamusand
A. indica have pesticidal value. Powdered rootstock of A- calamus
has been reported effective as an insecticide, repellent and contact
poison, and A. indica as a plant of multifarious pesticidal values
(Regmi and Kama 1998). Joshi and Paneru (1999) described A.
calamus, A. conyzoides, A. indica and U. dioca as plants with potent
insecticidal properties and A. indica is effective against the flea
beetle. Palaniswamy and Wise (1994) reported that neem-based
products are effective with high mortality or repellency against the
crucifer flea beetle (7? cruciferae). The pesticidal property of A.
indica is due to the active principle, the limnoid azadirachtin.
Azadirachtin is the most potent natural insect antifeedant, which
suppresses insect feeding at concentration of less than 1 ppm
(Ishman etal. 1991).
Cow urine and buffalo urine both showed significant
results at all concentrations. Cow urine is traditionally widely used
in Nepal for various purposes, including religious, ritual and medical
applications, and insect control. According to Vaidya (1993), cow
urine is the most effective solution for the control of Lipaphis
erysimi, Myzuspersicaeand Dorylus orientalis. Budhathoki (1992)
reported that diluted cow urine applied on broad leaf mustard
significantly reduces powdery mildew. Farmers use cow urine in
various concentrations (1:2 to 1:5) as curative plant protection
measures against aphids of cowpea and bean and late blight of
potato and tomato (Gyawali et al. 1994).
In the laboratory, no tested natural resources showed
significant results at 24 hrs of treatment application. However, in
the field, there was marked population reduction at 24 hrs of
treatment application. It may be due to the repellent effect of
different treatments. The effects persist up to one week and there
was remarkable population reduction in the field even 168 hrs after
treatment application. ■
Abbott WS. 192 5. A method of computing the effectiveness of insecticides. JEcon Entomol
18: 265-7
BudhathokiK. 1992. Vegetable farming through indigenous technology.Lumle (Kaski):
Lumle Regional Agricultural Research Centre. Seminar paper no 92/15
Fan KY and IJ Huang. 1991. Occurrence and control of major insect pests on vegetables
in Taiwan. Chin J Entomol Spec Publ Ola 4:1-13
Gyawali S, RB Thapa and P Amatya. 1994. Assessment of indigenous knowledge in
plant protection for possible integration into intregated pest management. In:
Neupane FP and M Kharel (eds), iAASresearch reports. Rampur: IAAS. p 107-27
Ishman MB, O Koul, JT Arnason, J Stewart and GS Salloum. 1989. Developing a neem
based insecticide for Canada. Mem Entomol Soc Can 159:39-47
Joshi SL and RB Paneru. 1999. Botanicals against insect pests of agricultural importance
in Nepal. Paper presented on "Regional training program in chemistry of natural
products andrelated fields"; 1999 May 18-28: Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu:
Central Department of Chemistry Tribhuvan University
Kadir HA, MB Zakaria, AA Kechil and MS Azirum. 1989. Toxicity and electrophysiological
effects of Spilanthes acmella Murr. extracts on Periplaneta americana. Pestic Sci
25(4): 329-36
PalaniswamyPandlWise. 1994. Effectsofneembasedproductsonnumber and feeding
activity of crucifer flea beetle, Phyllotreta cruciferae (Goeze) on canola. JAgric
EntomolU(\): 49-60
Ramsewak RS, AJ Erickson and MG Nair. 1999. Bioactive N-isobutylamides from flower
budsofSpilanthes acmella. Phytochemistry (Oxford) 51(6): 729-32
Regmi PP and PP Kama. 1988. Weeds and other plants of pesticidal values in Nepal. In:
Proceedingsof 1st National Conference on Science andTechnology 1988 Apr 24-
29; Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu: RONAST. p 161-73
Turnoc WJ and SA Turnbill 1995. The development of resistance to insecticides by
cruciferous flea beetle, Phyllotreta cruciferae. Can Entomol 126(6):1369-75
Vaidya K. 1993. Agricultural pest management using animal and plant products.
Kathmandu: Tribhuvan University, xi+135 p
Vaidya K. 1995. Organic pest management [project report]. Kathmandu: Tribhuvan
University. AAA GATE/TU. 300 p
We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Tej K Shrestha, Suresh B Karki
and Vasanta K Thapa (Central Department of Zoology, TU) for their
encouragement, guidance and assistance, especially in providing necessary
laboratory facilities. We are thankful to SR Ghimire (Lumle Agriculture Research
Centre) for revising this paper, and toTrifolio-m Gmbh, Germany for providing
us with Azadirachtin.
 research papers
Surface modification of polycarbonate
(bisphenol A) by low pressure rf plasma
Deepak P Subedi*f, Lenka Zajickovax, Vilma Bursikovax and Jan Janca:j:
f Department of Physics, Kathmandu University, Dhulikhel, Kavre, Nepal
% Department of Physical Electronics, Masaryk University, Kotlarska 2,61137,Brno, The Czech Republic
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: deepaksubedi2001 @yahoo. com
Effects of low pressure radio frequency (rf) plasma treatment on the surface properties of polycarbonate are presented in this paper.
Results obtained from the surface energy measurement after different conditions of treatment are compared. After treatment the surface
free energy increased from the original value of 35 mJ/m2 to 63-74 mJ/m2. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements showed an
increase in oxygen to carbon ratio after the treatment indicating an increase of oxygen-containing functional groups on the polycarbonate
surface. A study of the stability of the modified surface property has been made on the basis of surface free energy. To study the
improvement of adhesion between the polycarbonate and thin coatings, organosilicon thin films were deposited on the untreated and
plasma treated polycarbonate. The adhesion of film to substrate was quantitatively analysed by 'cross-hatch peel test'.
Keywords: Polycarbonate, surface modification, rf plasma, ageing, surface energy
HimJScil(2): 115-118
Received: 27 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 25 June 2003
Polymers have been applied successfully in fields such as adhesion,
biomaterials, protective coatings, friction and wear-resistant
composites, microelectronic devices and thin film technology.
Polymeric materials have been able to replace traditional
engineering materials like metals and glass because of their high
strength to weight ratio, resistance to corrosion, possibility of
recycling and their relatively low cost. However, the low surface
energy of polymers and resulting poor adhesion of additional
coatings have also created numerous important technical challenges
which have to be overcome by manufacturers (Michael et al. 1999).
Polycarbonates (PCs) are synthetic polymers with a very wide field
of applications due to their excellent breakage resistance, good
transparency, low inflammability and good workability.
In recent years, polycarbonate has become a very
attractive business article. The world production of PC increases
every year by 8-10% and nowadays it is more than 1.35 million
tonnes/year (Mapleston 1999). The most important types are the
PCs based on bisphenol A (business labels Diflon®, Macrolon®,
Lexan®, and so on). PCs can be used for plastic vessels and machine
parts; optical grades can be used for compact discs (CDs, CD-
ROMs and DVDs), optical fibres, etc. But the low hardness, low
scratch resistance and degradation by UV radiation require
modification of surface properties by means of additional coating.
Therefore, in many applications (e.g., in industry,
technology, biology and medicine) it is necessary to change or
improve some of the surface properties of the polymers without
altering the bulk properties. Several techniques have been
developed to modify the polymer surfaces for improved adhesion,
wettability, printability and other technologically important
characteristics. The common methods of surface modification
include mechanical or chemical treatment; and exposure to flames,
photons, ion beams, and other types of radiation (Pasco and Everest
1978). Mechanical treatment alone has limited effectiveness, and
chemical treatments with solvents, oxidants such as chromates
and permanganates, strong acids or bases, and sodium-liquid
ammonia treatments for fluoropolymers are becoming increasingly
unacceptable because of environmental and safety considerations.
Furthermore, wet chemical treatments tend to entail inherent
problems of uniformity and reproducibility. Among all the methods
of modifying polymer surfaces to improve wettability and adhesion,
low pressure plasma treatment has proved to be one ofthe most
effective, ensuring uniformity, as well as being non-polluting.
In general, the surface modification techniques can be
divided into three categories: (i) cleaning and etching by removal of
material from the surface; (ii) surface reactions producing functional
groups and cross linking (these entail little or no removal or addition
of material); and (iii) deposition of thin films on the surface (Yasuda
et al. 1990, d'Agostino et al. 1990). An important objective of any
such treatment is to remove loosely bonded surface contamination,
thus providing intimate contact between interacting materials on
the molecular scale.
This paper discusses the surface modification of PCs
utilising a low pressure rf glow discharge produced in argon, oxygen
and ammonia gases. However, detailed study of the modified
surface has been undertaken after argon and oxygen plasma
treatment only. The modified surface has been characterised by
measuring the contact angles and calculating the surface free energy.
The changes in chemical composition have been studied by X-ray
photoelectron spectroscopy. The results of adhesion test are also
Materials and methods
Plasma treatment and film deposition
The major part ofthe research work consists of plasma treatment
and film deposition performed at the plasma chemical laboratory
of Masaryk University, Czech Republic. Plasma treatments were
carried out in rf capacitively coupled glow discharge. The bisphenol
 research papers
A PC samples of sizes 50 by 60 mm2 were cleaned in isopropyl
alcohol and dried before inserting into the reactor. The samples
were placed on the powered bottom electrode, which was
capacitively coupled to the rf generator PG 501 working at the
frequency of 13.56 MHz. The effect of treatment time and rf power
on the wettability of PC was investigated. The rf power was varied
from 100 to 400 W, and the DC negative self bias voltage varied
from -10 to -270 V depending on the rf power and the pressure
inside the reactor. The gas flow was controlled by electronic
massflow controller. All the treatments were carried out in flow
regime. The reactor chamber was pumped by a diffusion pump
backed by a rotary pump.
The Si02 films were deposited from the hexamethy-
ldisiloxane/oxygen (HMDSO/02) feeds 4 hours after the treatment
in argon discharge (QAr=5.7 seem, p =1.5 Pa, P =100 W, UWas= -35 V,
t =5 min). The gases were fed into the reactor through the
showerhead electrode to ensure uniform deposition. The distance
between the electrodes was 55 mm. For film deposition, 4 seem of
HMDSO was diluted with two different oxygen flow rates, namely
45sccmand lOsccm.Therfpowerswere 100and400Wrespectively
TABLE 1. Surface free energy and its polar and dispersion components
of water and glycerine used to determine the surface energy of PC
Total surface
Source: Correia etal. 1997
Surface characterisation
Over the years a large number of techniques have been developed
to probe the different aspects of the physics and chemistry of
surfaces; however, only a few have found wide application in basic
surface science and applied surface analysis. Among these methods,
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and Fourier transform
infrared spectroscopy are used to study the surface chemical
composition. Similarly, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and
atomic force microscopy (AFM) are used to investigate the surface
morphology of the material at the atomic scale. These methods
require relatively expensive equipments, skilled technicians and
quite sophisticated techniques to interpret the data. A good
understanding ofthe surface properties of asolid may be obtained
relatively inexpensively from the measurement ofthe surface free
energy. Therefore contact angle measurement has been used in
the study of surface free energy, wettability and adhesion of low
surface energy materials. The surface free energy of a solid is an
important parameter, playing a vital role in the phenomena that
occur at solid-liquid and solid-gas interfaces. Hence, knowledge of
this parameter is useful in studies of adsorption and wettability
processes which play important role in many industrial applications
ofthe material (Zimon 1974, Leja 1982). Measurement of contact
angle of liquid with the solid surface permits a rapid and qualitative
evaluation of surface free energy of polymers. In the present paper,
analysis of the surface free energy of PCs has been made on the
basis of dispersive and non-dispersive components. Surface free
energy (y^ and its polar (y,p) and dispersion (y,d) components ofthe
sample were determined from two sets of contact angles (water
and glycerine) according to Owens-Wendt-Kaelble equation
(Owens and Wendt 1969).
J_ 1
y/(l + cose) = 2[y/rfy/]2+2[y/y/]2
TABLE 2. Atomic concentration of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen measured by XPS for untreated and plasma treated polycarbonate. Plasma
treatments were performed for 5 min at a pressure of 1.5 Pa and gas
flow rate 5.7 seem
Atomic concentration (%)
TABLE 3. Results of adhesion measurements of silica films deposited
on PC after an argon plasma treatment carried out at different rf powers
and treatment times
where, y , yp and yd are the total surface free energy, the
polar component and the dispersion component of the surface
free energy ofthe liquid, respectively. The values ofthe surface free
energies ofthe test liquids obtained from the literature are given in
Table 1
The changes in the chemical composition ofthe samples
after the plasma treatments were analysed by XPS measurements.
The measurements were carried out on an ultra-high-vacuum
(lower than 10~8 mm Hg) surface analytical system equipped with
Omicron EA 125 hemispherical analyser working in multi-channel
detection regime. The analyser was operated in the retarding field
mode using pass energy of 20 eV MgKa was used for excitation.
The electron take-off angle was 90° and the analysed area 6 mm in
diameter. Standard fitting procedure was used to determine the
core level-peak position and spectral intensities. The charging was
evaluated and corrected after the fitting ofthe Cls signal from the
position of C-H peak, which is characterised by binding energy of
284.6 ± 0.2 eV
The improvement made by the argon plasma treatment
in the adhesive property of PC to thin coating of silica was studied
using the cross-hatch peel test method. Si02 films of about half
mm thickness were deposited by plasma enhanced chemical vapour
deposition (PECVD) on the untreated and plasma treated PC. The
deposited films were cut into 384 2.5 by 2.5 mm2; adhesive tape (3M
No. 369) was then applied to the film and pulled swiftly. The numbers
ofthe squares adhering to the PC was counted and the ratio ofthe
adhering film area to the total area of the film under the applied
tape was determined. The percentage adhesion of the films after
different conditions of argon plasma pre-treatment was
 research papers
Results and discussion
Surface free energy measurement
The values of surface free energy and its components before and
after the treatment in argon, oxygen and ammonia plasmas are
compared in Figure 1. The surface energy corresponds to the
contact angles measured within 10 min ofthe plasma treatment. It
shows that all three types of treatment can produce significant
increase in the surface free energy. The treatment carried out in
argon and oxygen plasma resulted a higher value of total surface
energy compared to ammonia plasma. Argon plasma treatment
produces purely physical surface modification; no new functional
groups are incorporated on the polymer surface. The direct and
radiative energy transfer processes cause the surface modification
in all types of inert gas plasma treatments. The direct energy transfer
corresponds to the ion bombardment of the surface, which is
particularly important in the case ofthe PC specimens placed on
the dc- biased capacitively-coupled rf electrode. Another important
factor for the modification mechanism is the UV (VUV) radiation
emitted by the plasma (Chan et al. 1996). The exposure ofthe
sample to the argon discharge is sufficient to break chemical bonds
(C-C, C-H), leaving free radicals at or near the surface. These
radicals can react only with other surface radicals or by chain-
transfer reactions. If the polymer chain is flexible, or if the radicals
can migrate along it, then recombination, unsaturation, branching,
or cross-linking can occur. Moreover, the plasma removes low
molecular weight species or converts them to high molecular weight
species by crosslinking reactions. In summation, the argon plasma
treatment causes the crosslinking ofthe PC surface as well as the
sputtering ofthe material.
Unlike argon plasma, the oxygen plasma produces a
variety of new functional groups including C-O, C=0,0-C=0, C-O-
O, that increase polymer wettability. In general, two processes may
occur simultaneously during the oxygen plasma treatment: (i)
etching of the polymer surface through the reactions of atomic
oxygen with the surface carbon atoms, yielding volatile products,
and (ii) the formation of oxygen functional groups at the polymer
surface through reactions between the active species from the
plasma and the surface atoms. Hence, for oxygen plasma, the
reactive oxygen atoms play an important role in the surface
modification ofthe sample.
The mechanism of surface modification in the case of
ammonia plasma treatment is somewhat similar to that of oxygen
plasma. Ammonia plasma treatment incorporates hydrophilic
functional groups such as amine (N-H), imine (N=C), nitrile (N=C)
and amide (N-C=0) on the surface of PC. Moreover, the additional
oxygen functional groups can be incorporated after the ammonia
plasma treatment because free radicals created on the surface
react with oxygen when the surface is exposed to the atmosphere
For untreated PC the values of polar and dispersion
components of surface free energies are almost the same. But
there is a substantial increase in the polar component after all
treatments, whereas no any remarkable change in the dispersion
component was observed. The ratio of polar component to the
total surface free energy is also regarded as the polarity of the
material. An important information obtained from the surface
energy measurement is that the polar component increases,
corresponding to the formation of covalent bonds. The formation
of covalent bonds plays an important role in adhesion at the
XPS Analysis
Further information about the changes induced by argon and
oxygen plasma treatment was obtained from the XPS
measurements. The atomic compositions ofthe PC surface before
and after the treatment are compared (Table 2). The treatments
produced a decrease in the carbon concentration on the PC surface.
On the other hand the oxygen content increased and a small amount
of silicon and nitrogen appeared. The impurity of the silicon is
caused by the fact that the reactor was also used for the deposition
of silicon oxides. Although, before the PC treatment experiments
the reactor was cleaned mechanically as well as in argon and oxygen
discharges there was probably still some residual silica that appeared
on the PC surface. The nitrogen impurity found on the sample after
the treatment could be the nitrogen incorporated during the plasma
treatment as a result of some nitrogen traces in the feed gas as well
as after the exposure ofthe treated surface to the atmosphere.
Adhesion measurement
The percentage adhesivity ofthe Si02 films deposited on PC with
and without pre-treatment is presented in Table 3. A significant
improvement in the relative adhesivity of the film to substrate is
achieved by argon plasma treatment made before deposition of
the film. A five-minute argon plasma treatment was sufficient to
increase the relative adhesivity from 10% to as high as 96%. The
argon plasma pre-treatments were made with two different rf
FIGURE1. Comparison of surface free energy and its components before and after the treatment in Ar, NH3 and 02 discharges. The domain
represents the types ofthe sample. The treatment conditions were P =
100W, Q = 52 seem, p= 36.5 Pa, and exposure time t = 10 min. The bias
voltages Ubias were -20, -25, -30 V for ammonia, oxygen and argon
discharges respectively.
■5 min      30. min    2 hrs
la   3d   Bd     lid
 1 1
—•— argDP
L         ^"'T-taJ
■ - *- - cw^on
—v  ■ ammonia
I-       1
■an w
time [min]
FIGURE 2. Ageing of surface free energy of PC after treatment in Ar, NH3
and 02 plasmas. The treatment conditions were P =
Q = 52 seem, p = 36.5 Pa. and treatment time t = 10 min.
the graph correspond to standard deviation. ♦
=100W,Uh   =-25V,
The bars in
 research papers
powers and treatment time in order to observe the influence of
these parameters on the adhesivity. However, the difference in the
results for the treatments at different rf powers and with different
treatment times was within the limit of experimental error.
The adhesion or bondability between polymer surfaces
and other materials deposited onto them can often be related to
wettability as determined from the contact angle measurements.
Plasma treatment can improve adhesion to polymers via surface
cleaning, cross-linking, or formation of chemical bonds. The
increased adhesivity produced by argon plasma treatment is well
supported by our contact angle measurements. From these we
observed that argon plasma treatment under the conditions as
used before the film deposition produces significant increase in
wettability of PC, which can be correlated with the increased
adhesivity. A previous study ofthe adhesivity of Si02 film to PC has
reported that a Si-O-C bond must be formed in order to produce
the strong adhesivity ofthe film to the substrate. The unsaturated
bonds opened by the treatment in argon plasma can help the
formation of such bond and hence increase the adhesion.
A scratch test performed on PC showed that Si02 films
deposited without pre-treatment were almost completely
delaminated from the surface, whereas there was negligible
delamination ofthe film deposited on PC after argon plasma pre-
treatment. The characteristics of thin Si02 films deposited on PC
by PECVD have also been discussed in our previous paper
(Zajickovaetal. 2001).
We also studied the dependence ofthe surface free energy
ofthe sample on time after treatment. For that purpose, surface
energy of PC was measured for several days after the treatment in
Ar, 02 and NH3 plasma by storing the samples in a dust-free
environment. The results are shown in Figure 2. It indicates that
the most stable modification of PC surface was produced by argon
plasma treatment. On the other hand, ammonia plasma resulted
in the least stable modification ofthe surface.
This effect, commonly known as 'ageing', is important
from the point of view of industrial application. It has been reported
that ageing is due to (i) thermodynamically driven reorientation of
polar species away from the surface to the subsurface, (ii) diffusion
of mobile additives from the polymer bulk to the surface, and (iii)
the reaction of residual free radicals with the ambient (Spell and
Christension 1979). The more stable surface free energy after argon
plasma treatment is due to the cross-linking effect. The uses of
cross-linking process via inert gas plasma treatments to obtain
better surface properties are discussed in detail elsewhere (Michael
et al. 1999, Sheu et al. 1992, Vallon et al. 1996). The result clearly
indicates the different effects of treatment in inert and reactive
The effects of argon, oxygen and ammonia plasma treatments on
PC are discussed in the paper. The result of surface energy
measurement and its dependence on time after treatment are
summarised. All types of treatment resulted an appreciable increase
in the wettability ofthe sample. However, the improved wettability
decreased with time. Results of XPS analysis revealed an increase in
O/C ratio of the sample after the treatment. The peel tape test
showed that a significant improvement in adhesivity of deposited
protective film to PC can be achieved by performing a treatment of
the sample before the deposition ofthe film. ■
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Pasco IK and JH Everest. 1978. Optics Laser Technol10:71
Sheu MS, AS Hoffman and J Feijen 1992. A glow discharge treatment to immobilise
poly (ethylene oxide)/ poly (propylene oxide) surfactants for wettable and non-
fauling biomaterials./^d/iesio/] Sci 7ec/i/]o79:995-1009
Spell HL and CP Christension. 1979. TappiJG2: 77
Vallon S, A Hofrichter, L Guyot, B Drevillon, J E Klemberg-Sapieha, L Martinu et al. 1996.
Adhesion mechanisms of silica layers on plasma-treated polymers. Part I.
Polycarbonate. J Adhesion Sci Technol 10(12): 1287-313
YasudaHK, YSYehandSFusselmann. 1990. PuieApplChemG3:1689
Zajickova L, V Bursikova, V Perina, A Mackova, D Subedi, J Janca et al. 2001. Plasma
modification of polycarbonates. Surface Coatings Technol142-144:449-54
ZimonAD. 1974. ChemMoscow
We thank KaterinaVeltruska, Charles University, Czech Republic, for her kind
help with the XPS measurementand analysis, and PavelStahel, Masaryk University,
for his help with contact angle measurements.
 research papers
Hydrogeological conditions in the
southern part of Dang valley, mid-western Nepal
Amrit Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal
* For correspondence, E-mail:
The Dang valley consists of several patches of confined and unconfined aquifer systems. Drilling data reveals that the northern portion of
the study area has more permeable surfaces than the southern and central portions. Annual domestic draft and safe yield were calculated
to be 7.43 x106 mVyear and 3.16 x 107 mVyear, respectively. The fact that the safe yield is higher than the annual draft indicates the
presence of good groundwater potential in the study area.
Keywords: terrace, lithology, aquifer, tubewell, yield, draft, piezometric surface, water table
HimJScil(2): 119-122
Received: 27 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 15 July 2003
Bounded on three sides by the Siwaliks, the Dang valley is
approximately 80 km in length and 30 km in width and thus its area
is approximately 2400 km2. The elevation ofthe valley floor ranges
from 550 to 750 m asl. The study area stretches from below the
Ghorahi-Tulsipur highway in the north down to the Babai River in
the south, from Ghorahi in the east to Tulsipur in the west
(Figure 1).
The Dangvalley has anundulatingterrainsloping towards
south. The terrain, consisting mainly of alluvium and outwash
deposits from the hill slopes, comprises six terraces- the highest
terrace, higher terrace, middle terrace, lower first terrace, lower
second terrace and lower third terrace (Yamanaka and Yagi 1984).
These are fill-top terraces composed of consolidated detritus. The
valley is filled in the central part with fluviolacustrine sediments.
Ancient river terraces are more prominent in the northern part of
the valley than in the south. The fluvial terraces include soils of
diverse types in different regions. Red soil is observed in the
northern area, brown in the middle and black in the south and
eastern parts ofthe valley.
The Babai River is one of the major rivers in the Dang
valley, flowing east to west and passing through the southern end
of the valley. Other perennial streams, such as the Sisne and the
Katwa, originate in the lesser Himalaya and join the Babai River on
the south, creating alluvial fan plains, sand and gravel bars,
depositional basins and other depositional landforms. The erosional
activity ofthe rivers has indented the river terrace ofthe valley by
8 to 15 m and has created badland topography in the northern
Climate in the Dang valley is tropical to sub-tropical,
characterized by monsoon rainfalls from June to September, which
on average account for 85% ofthe total annual rainfall (Uprety and
Study area
The subsurface lithology obtained from borehole logs of
deep tubewells (DTWs) and shallow tubewells (STWs) consists
primarily of sand, gravel, silt and clay, mixed in differing proportions.
The comparative study of these wells shows that the northern part
of the valley has more sand and gravel. Towards the south and
especially along the Babai River, clay and silt are dominant.
Intermixing of gravel and fines is dominant in the middle part of
the study area.
Materials and methods
A field survey was undertaken to determine the hydrogeological
conditions in the study area, and the preliminary data was collected
at the Groundwater Resource Development Board (GWRDB),
Kathmandu and Groundwater Field Office, Lamahi.
Various types of wells (dugwells, deep tubewells and
shallow tubewells) selected for present study were located in a
location map (Figure 1). The study was conducted in June 1999
(during the monsoon) and February 2000 (post-monsoon). The
depth of water from the ground surface in the dugwells both in
monsoon and post monsoon was noted. Geological information
regarding the dugwell section ofthe fluvial terrace was correlated
with the nearest columnar section but data from shallow tubewells and deep tubewells was obtained from borehole logs.
Transmissivity was calculated using figures for well
discharge obtained from secondary data. Water table
measurements taken from dugwells of study area were useful in
determining the direction of groundwater flow.
Safe yield of the groundwater reservoir was calculated
for the entire aquifer system based on the piezometric surface
fluctuation. This was relevant since the clay zones occur as isolated
patches in most of the areas, with laterally interconnected deep
and shallow aquifers. Thus, safe yield can be calculated on the basis
ofthe following formula:
Safe yield = area of aquifer x storage coefficient x mean
piezometric surface fluctuation (cf. Driscoll 1987)
Typical storage coefficient for confined aquifers ranges
from 10~5to 10~3 (Driscoll 1987). The above parameters showed the
potential of groundwater in the valley and the possibility of future
well development for irrigation and drinking water purpose. ♦
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Results and discussion
Aquifer setting
The general pattern of aquifers, as revealed from the lithological
logs, is irregular and discontinuous with lenses or layers of sediment
admixture at different levels. Unconflned aquifers are observed in
Dhikpur and Dangigaun. Confined ones are commonly observed
at Bangain, Dhikpur and in many other places. The presence of
confined aquifers may be due to the shifting of the river course
within the valley.
As far as shallow tubewells in the study area are concerned,
the best granular zone is found in the well of Ammapur (DG/STW-
7), which has a total of 14.6 m thick permeable material (sand and
gravel) out ofthe total well depth of 20.1 m (Table 1).
As for deep tubewells, the thickness of permeable
materials varies from 18.5 m in TG-2 (Bangain) to 84.7 m in DG/
DTW-5 (Dhikpur). The thickest clay zone, 49.3 m appears in NISP/
INV/DTW-3 (Khausapur) (Table 2). Most lithologs ofthe wells
reveal the permeable material to be greater than 40%, indicating
good presence of aquifers in the valley (Table 1 and 2).
Piezometric surface
The piezometric surface in deep tubewells as recorded by GWRDB
ranges from 5.1 m in DG/DTW-27 (Dangigaun) to 37.5 m in DG/
DTW-21 (Lalpur), and in shallow tubewells ranges from 0.7 m in
NISP/STW-7 (Ammapur) to 5.0 m in DG/STW-6 (Dundre) (Table
4). The general pattern observed in the area is an increase in depth
to piezometric surface towards the northern part ofthe valley.
Water table
The greater fluctuation of water level, as revealed by the dugwell
inventory data, takes place in central and northern parts of the
valley (Table 3). The depth to water level in dugwells is found to be
less toward the south and near the banks of river. This may be due
to high transmissivity in wells toward the north, resulting in rapid
recharge of storage during the monsoon season and quick release
of water to the south during post-monsoon (Uprety and Karanjac
The maximum yield is greater in the central and southern part of
the area, in places such as Dundre (DG/STW-6) and Dangigaun
(DG/DTW-27) (Table 4). This suggests that the southern and central
parts ofthe study area would offer better venues in which to develop
tubewells for irrigation purposes.
Transmissivity in the deep tubewells of Dangigaun (DG/DTW-27)
and Ammapur (DG/STW-7) is greater than in other wells of the
valley. Hydraulic conductivity, calculated as the ratio of
transmissivity to cumulative aquifer thickness, is also greater in
these wells. Even wells adjacent to each other, for example NISP/
STW-7 and DG/STW-7 may vary in transmissivity. The discontinuous
FIGURE 1. Location map of the study area
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TABLE 1. Thickness of permeable, semi-permeable and impermeable layers in STWs
DG/STW-6 Dundre
Saibahani Ghorahi
NISP/INV/STW-7 Ammapur
DG/STW-7 Ammapur     20.1
TABLE 2. Thickness of permeable, semi-permeable and impermeable layers in DTWs
Well No.
Thickness of (m)
able layer
able layer
TABLE 3. Dugwell inventory preparation data of study area
Well No.
Post monsoon
water level
depth (m asl)
Monsoon water
level depth
Water level
Source: GWRDB (1996); m bgl: meters below ground level, m asl: meters above sea
clay layers present in the aquifer differ in
percentage of the permeable material.
Thus, wells with more cumulative
thickness ofthe aquifer tapped zone give
more transmissivity.
Groundwater recharge
In the study area, the aquifers are mainly
recharged by rainwater infiltration. In
addition, parallel streams flowing across
the valley assist in recharging the valley.
Since the northern fringe of the valley
consists of coarse materials (gravels and
boulders), major recharge occurs in this
Safe yield
The storage co-efficient is much lower in
confined aquifers because they are not
drained during pumping. Any water
released from storage is obtained primarily
by compression of the aquifer and
expansion of the water when pumped.
Thus, assuming the higher value for the
aquifer in the study area, which is 10~3
(Driscoll 1987),
Safe yield = area of aquifer x storage
coefficient x mean piezometric surface
=     ~24xl08m2xl0-3x 13.2 m/
~ 3.16 x 10 7m3/ year
*mean piezometric surface
fluctuation = 13.2 m/year (Piya
Groundwater draft
In the valley groundwater is extracted
through dugwells, deep tubewells and
shallow tubewells. The requirement for
drinking and domestic use per person per
day as per WHO (1984) standard is 45 1
(0.045 m3). The estimated population of
Dang valley in 1995 was 411149 (CBS 1996).
Therefore the total amount of
groundwater draft by that population is
411,149 x 45 l/day = 18,501,705 1/day
For livestock, total draft of
groundwater as estimated by WHO (1984)
is 1/10 of population demand. This is equal
to 1,850,1711/day. Total groundwater draft
for domestic purposes comes to be
20351876 1/day, or 7.43 x 10 6 m3/ year.
This is about 48.7% ofthe groundwater
Thus, the annual draft for
domestic use is less than safe yield, or in
other words, the recharge rate is much
higher than the draft. Therefore, with
proper planning and management,
extensive well development can be carried
out in the valley in the future. However,
irrigation of maximum land surface can
 research papers
TABLE 4. Hydrogeological characteristics of deep and shallow aquifers
Well No.
Water Depth of        Total cumulative       Piezometric      Discharge/ Transmissivity        Hydraulic
level well thickness of surface maximum yield     (mVday) conductivity
(masl) (m) aquifer (m) (mbgl) (mVday) (m/day)
Source: GWRDB (1996); m asl: meters above sea level; m bgl: meters below ground level
be achieved through combined use of both the surface water and
groundwater. ■
CBS. 1996. Statistical pocket book Kathmandu: Central Bureau of Stastics, HMGN.
301 p
Driscoll FG. 1987. Groundwater and wells, 2nd ed. St. Paul (Minnesota): Johnson
Filtration System Inc. 5512.1089p
GWRDB. 1996. A compilation of'tube-well inventory data of'Dang valley, mid-western
Nepal. Kathmandu: Groundwater Resource Development Board. 52 p
PiyaB. 1993. Hydrogeological studies in parts of 'Dang valley, western Afepa/[thesis].
Kathmandu: Central Department of Geology, Tribhuvan University. 120 p
Uprety SR and J Karanj ac. 1989. Shallow well drilling, testing and monitoring in 198 7/
88: Basic documentation and preliminary interpretation, Dang valley. Technical
report no 8. Kathmandu: UNDP and HMGN. 19+ 38 p
WHO. 1984. Guidelines for drinking water quality, Vol 1. Geneva: World Health
YamanakaHandHYagi. 1984. Geomorphological development ofthe Dang dun. JNep
GeolSoci: 151-9
I am grateful to Megh R Dhital, Central Department of Geology, TU, for supervising
this study, andtoMadhavBelbase, GWRDB, Lamahi, for providing materials and
allowing the field observation ofthe running tube wells.
 research papers
Silica gel chromatographic study of phenolic compounds in
some cultivated cucurbits
Suresh N Baitha* and Vijoy S Pandey
Botany Department, Mahanth Sheo Shankar Giri College, Baba Sahab Bhim Rao Ambedkar Bihar University, Muzaffarpur,
Areraj 845411, India
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail:
Phenolic compounds in the leaves of cultivated cucurbits viz. Trichosanthes dioica Roxb., Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standi., Luffa
cylindrica (L.) Roem., and Luffa acutangula (L.) Roxb. were carried out through silica gel chromatographic separation to ascertain their
relative phylogenetic position. On phytochemical analysis, paired affinity, group affinity and isolation value supported the inclusion of
these species in the same tribe Cucurbiteae on the basis of earlier cytotaxonomic studies. The two species of Luffa showed the closest
phytochemical affinity and occupied as intermediate position between Lagenaria and Trichosanthes. Luffa was distantly related to other
two genera having paired affinity values of less than 50%.
Keywords: Silica gel chromatography, separation of phenolic compounds, cultivated cucurbits
HimJScil(2): 123-125
Received: 21 Nov 2002
Accepted after revision: 20 June 2003
The secondary metabolites such as alkaloids, terpenes and phenolics
including flavonoids can be employed to study phylogenetic afflnitiy
in many plant genera. The thin layer chromatography was employed
successfully for the separation of phenolic compounds in a number
of genera like Secale (Frost 1966, Dedio et al. 1969), Aegilops (Kaltsikes
and Dedio 1970), Hordeum and Triticum (Frost and Holm 1973),
Cucumerineae (Das et al. 1974) etc. for substantiating earlier
conclusions drawn on the status of their taxa on the basis of
cytogenetic evidence. Among the earlier reports of
chemosystematics in the Cucurbitaceae, Enslin and Rehm (1958)
used the distribution of cucurbitacins as an index in the taxonomy
ofthe Cucurbitaceae. On the basis of distribution of phenolics, Das
etal. (1974) concluded that Citrullus vulgarishad closer relationship
with Lagenaria than Citrullus vulgarisvar fistulosusand suggested
the possible evolution of Citrullus vulgaris from Lagenaria or
vice-versa. They also showed the close relationship between
Lagenaria and Luffa.
The present investigation on the distribution of phenolics
was carried out in four morphologically related species of cucurbits
to examine their relative phyletic distance as evidenced from their
biochemical picture.
Materials and methods
Four species of cucurbits viz. Trichosanthes dioica Roxb., Lagenaria
siceraria (Molina) Standi., Luffa cylindrica (L.) Roxb. and Luffa
acutangula (L.) Roxb. were studied in the present investigation.
The leaves from the apical portion of all the species of same age
were collected for biochemical assay. The leaves were first washed
thoroughly in running tap water and dried at 40°C in an oven for 24
hrs. The leaves were crushed and kept in a 50% solution of pertoleum
ether (BP 40-60° C) and aqueous methanol for 24 hrs in order to get
phenolic extracts. Each extract, on evaporation under vacuum
pump, yields a sticky residue.
A chromatographic plate was prepared with silica gel. 0.1
ml aqueous methanolic extract was applied at the starting point of
the plate. It was then dipped in the solvent TCA (toluene-
chloroform-acetone) and allowed to develop chromatogram. The
chromatogram was first treated with ammonia vapour, then with
iodine vapour and finally with 1 % lead acetate as recommended by
Block et al. (1953) to distinguish the spots. Ammonia vapour gave
distinct colour under visible and UV light in case of some phenolic
spots. The spots of other phenolic compounds became apparent
after treatment with iodine vapour and lead acetate. The visible
spots were traced on a transparent paper. The RF (relative distance)
of each spot was used as a basis for comparison and specification
of various phenolic compounds obtained. On the basis of colour
and position, spots assumed to be indentical in two or more species
were assigned the same number. The chromatographic results were
subjected to numerical taxonomic treatment as an aid to establish
phenolic relationship in the different species of the family
Analysis of phytochemical data
The method adopted by Ellison et al. (1962) was followed to make
the suitable comparisons in the form of qualitative relationships.
Species were compared on the basis of their biochemical afflnityies.
Values of paired affinity (PA), group affinity (GA) and
isolation value (IV) were calculated as follows:
Spots common in species A and B      .„„
PA=  —    xlOO
Total spots in A and B
GA=    Total PA value+100
Number of unique spots in a species
IV =    xlOO
Total number of spots in all species
The total number of spots obtained in all the species was 20, out of
which eight were found in T. dioica, nine in L. siceraria, eight in L. ♦
 research papers
cylindrica and nine in L. acutangula (Figure 1). From the
observation ofthe composite chromatogram it was distinct that L.
cylindrica and L. acutangula had six spots in common. A relative
distribution of all the spots has been shown in Table 1.
The PA value calculated on the basis of presence and
absence ofthe phenolics is shown in Table 2. The highest PA value
70.68% was observed between L. cylindrica and L. acutangula.
The lowest PA value (25%) was found between L. cylindrica and L.
siceraria. The PA value between T. dioica and L. siceraria was
35.29%. These values showed that two species of Luffa were closely
related but showed a distant relationship with both T. dioica and L.
siceraria. Above observations showed the intermediate position
of Luffa species between L. siceraria and T. dioica.
Group affinity values also showed the close relationship
between L. cylindrica (230.57) and L. acutangula (230.31). The
Luffa species were also related to L. siceraria (215.02) on one hand
and T. dioica (195.58) on the other (Table 3).
The isolation value was found to be 20% each in T. dioica
and L. siceraria while for L. cylindrica and L. acutangula it wasjust
half i.e. 10% (Table 3).
Although phenolics are considered to be metabolically inert, they
are present in the cell wall of plants in considerable amounts and
are stable and characteristic end products (Bate-Smith 1958). In
the present investigation a number of phenolic compounds were
spotted but they were not identified qualitatively. Chromatographic
spots are regarded as excellent markers and are much more
important than the chromosome numbers in taxonomy of plants
(Grant 1968).
In the present study spot no 4 was present in all the species
and appeared to be the characteristic spot for all the 4 species. Spot
no 20 was found in three species viz. L. siceraria, L. cylindrica and
L. acutangula. Its absence in T. dioica
indicated that in comparison to T. dioica, L.
siceraria was closer to the Luffa spp.
Higher PA value was considered
as an indication of close affinity between
different species. PA value of 50% and above
was considered as a marker of close
relationship. In this regard, the two species
of Luffa (with PA value of 70.58%) were most
closely related and appeared distantly related
with Lagenaria and Trichosanthes
conforming the conclusions drawn from
The PA value was supported by the
GA value, on the basis of which it could be
said that T. dioica was distantly related to
the other species; L. cylandrica and L.
acutangula were very close and showed
some closeness to Lagenaria siceraria.
According to Ayyangar (1967), on
the basis of a number of criteria like
chromosome number, chromosome
morphology, meiotic behaviour, secondary
association, satellites, nucleoli, chiasma
statistics, developmental morphology, amino
acid assay, geographical distribution pattern
Colour ofthe spots: Bl: Blue, Or: Orange,
Gr: Green, Vi: Violet, Ye: Yellow
Reagents used: a: ammonia, b: iodine,
c: 1 % lead acetate
Concentration ofthe spots: +++ more intense,
++ less intense, + trace, - absent
®     ®
c§>     ©
CD  ©
A           B
FIGURE 1. A composite chromatogram showing distribution of
phenolic compound in
B - Lagenaria siceraria
D - Luffa acutangula
Trichosanthes dioica
Luffa cylindrica
LABLE 1. Lhin layer chromatographic separation of phenolics in four cucurbits revealing
colour of spots, their RF values and concentration
Or (a)
Or (a)
Or (a)
Or (a)
 research papers
in conjuction with conventional
morphological characters a system is
proposed in which Trichosanthes, Luffa and
Lagenaria were placed in the same tribe
Cucurbiteae and were closely related, with
Luffa occupying intermediate position
between Trichosanthes on one hand and
Lagenaria on the other. The distribution of
phenolic compounds as reveled in the
present study also supports the classification
and phylogeny suggested by Ayyangar
It has been mentioned by
Griesbach (1972) that the presence and
concentration of given substance depend
on the physiological growth condition of a
plant and on its stage ofthe development. It
was found that the same chromatographic
patterns of the flavonoids from the leaves
of one and the same plant varied with age
and environment (Harbornel967,
Armstrong 1968, Parks et al. 1972).
Therefore, the most suitable leaves for the
study of phenolic compounds were
considered the apical leaves obtained from
the plants of same age. ■
LABLE 2. Paired affinity value (PA) of different species
Tricosanthes dioica
Lagenaria siceraria
Luffa cylindrica
70. 58%
LABLE 3. Group affinity, number of unique spots and isolation value of phenolic compounds in
No of unique
Isolation value
Tricosanthes dioica
Lagenaria siceraria
Luffa cylindrica
Luffa acutangula
Armstrong SM. 1968. Effect of potassium, magnesium and
nitrogen deficiencies on the chlorogenic acid in
tobacco [abstract]. DissAhstr. Abstract no 2311B.
Ayyangar KR. 1967. Taxonomy of Cucurbitaceae. Bull
Natl Inst Sci IndM: 380-96
Bate-SmithEC. 1958. Plant phenolics as taxonomic guide.
ProcLinn Soc Lond169(3): 198-210
Block RJ, EL Durrani and G Zoreig. 1958. A manual of
paperchromatographyandpaper electrophoresis, 2nd
ed. NewYork: Academic press. 710 p
Das HC, GS Randawa and M Kaur. 1974. Phylogenetic
studies in Cucumerinae by leaf phenolics. The
NucleusXmQS): 103-8
Dedio W, PS Kaltsikes and EN Larter. 1969. A thin layer
chromatographic study ofthe phenols in Triticale
and its parents. Can]Bot47:1589
EllisonWL, RE AlstonandBLTurner. 1962. Methodsof
presentation of crude biochemical data for
systematic purposes with particular reference to
the genus Bahia (Compositae). Am]Bot49: 599-
Enslin PR and S Rehm. 1958. The distribution and
biogenesis of the cucurbitacins in relation to
taxonomy ofthe Cucurbitaceae. ProcLinn SocLond
169(3): 230-8
Frost S and G Holm. 1973. Thin layer chromatographic
studies of phenolic compounds in twenty varieties
of barley. Hereditas74{2): 304
Frost S. 1966. Variation of phenolic compounds in
different inbred lines of rye. Hereditas 55: 68-72
Grant WF. 1968. Botanical editors and biochemical
systematics. Chem Taxon 17:159-60
GriesbachH. 1972. Comparative biosynthetic pathways
in higher plants. Chem Taxon Newslett186
Harborne JB. 1967. Comparative biochemistry of the
flavenoids. NewYork: Academic Press. 383 p
Kaltsikes PJ and W Dedio.   1970.  A thin layer
chromatographic study ofthe phenolics ofthe genus
Aegilopsl: Numerical taxonomy ofthe diploid species.
CanJBot43{10): 1775-80
ParksCR, SSSandhuandKRMontogometry 1972. Floral
pigmentation studies in the genus Gossypium IV:
Effects of different growing environments on
flavonoid pigmentation. Am J Bot 58:158-64
Quercus semecarpifolia Sxw. in the Himalayan region:
Ecology, exploitation and threats
BharatB Shrestha*
Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal
* For correspondence, E-mail:
Oaks (Quercus spp.) are among the dominant vascular plants ofthe Himalayas, ranging from the subtropical to the sub-alpine zones. They
play an important role in maintaining ecosystem stability. Oaks in the Himalayan region are intimately linked with subsistence hill
agriculture as they protect soil fertility, watershed and local biodiversity. They also supply fodder, leaf litter, firewood and timber. Q.
semecarpifolia is a high altitude oak, ranging up to the timberline in the Himalayan region and forming the climax community on the
southern aspect; it is considered to be one ofthe oldest plants ofthe region. It is also one ofthe most over-exploited species and fails to
regenerate adequately either in disturbed or undisturbed natural habitat. Since plantation has not been successful, it is important to
manage natural forest more effectively. This can be done by implementing sustainable methods of lopping the trees for fodder, removing
an adequate number of old and dying trees to make the canopy more open, and controlling the population of cattle and wild animals that
damage seedlings through browsing and trampling.
Keywords: Himalayan region, oak, Q. semecarpifolia, khasru, regeneration of Quercus
HimJScil(2): 126-128
URL: www.
Received: 24 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 20 June 2003
Oaks in general
Oak (Quercus), a genus under the family Fagaceae, is a large group
of hardwood trees with about 600 species. Oaks are found in the
northern temperate zone, subtropical and tropical Asia, and the
Andes of South America. Oaks dominate many forest landscapes
and are intimately linked with a large number of other organisms,
ranging from fungi to ferns, birds to bears, and wasps to ants.
Human beings have always had a strong connection with oak.
Throughout history the oak has been a symbol of permanence,
strength, and courage (Keator and Bazel 1998).
Himalayan oaks are evergreen, mostly gregarious,
medium- to large-sized tree, distributed at elevations of 800 to
3800 m asl throughout the Himalayan region. There are more than
35 species reported from this region (Negi and Naithani 1995),
most of which are abundant in temperate forest. Eight species
occurinNepal (DPR 1997): Q. floribundahmdl., Q.glaucaThunb.,
Q. lamellosa Sm., Q. lanata Sm., Q. leuchotrichophora A. Camus,
Q. mespilifolioides A. Camus, Q. oxyodon Miq. and Q.
semecarpifolia Sm.
The economical and ecological values of oak are generally
higher than those of other species associated with oak. It is closely
linked with hill agriculture as an important source of fodder for
animals, litter for making compost, fire wood and timber. Oaks
dominate the canopy in many temperate forests ofthe Himalayan
region. In comparison to other forests such as pine, oak forests are
characterized by higher species diversity, stratification, litter
production and soil fertility. The bark of mature trees supports a
luxurious growth of non-vascular as well as vascular epiphytes.
Many oaks are keystone species without which the complex web of
the ecosystem would soon unravel. Oaks also promote the recharge
of mountain springs (Valdia 1998).
Unfortunately, the regenerative capability of this
important forest element is poor not only in the Himalayan region
but also in North America (Lorimer et al. 1994) and Europe
(Andersson 1991). Some reasons that have been suggested to explain
the poor regeneration of oak forest are erratic seed production,
defoliation, acorn herbivory, browsing damage to seedlings, forest
fire, extensive lopping, accumulation of thick litter with slow
decomposition rate, infestationby stem parasites such as mistletoe,
and leaf damage by insect pests. These factors, concatenated,
interfere with the natural regeneration of oak forest.
Biology of Q. semecarpifolia
Q. semecarpifolia (local name khasru) is an element of central
Himalayan vegetation, which has occurred in this region for millions
of years. Steppe formed after the final uplift ofthe Himalayas was
invaded by this species and oak became the dominant element of
then sub-alpine and alpine forest (Singh and Singh 1992). At present
it is a dominant species in the Himalayas, from southwest China to
Afghanistan, at elevations of 2100 to 3800 m asl. It occurs in moist
temperate and sub-alpine regions with heavy snowfall and
moderate rainfall, and is absent from the dry regions ofthe inner
Himalayas (Negi and Naithani 1995).
Community structure
Khasru is a gregarious species forming pure forest stands. Its forest
is one ofthe oldest vegetation types ofthe Himalayan region and a
climax community, especially on the southern aspect (Negi and
Naithani 1995). Disturbances such as lopping, felling, grazing and
fire in most cases result in the development of mixed conifer-oak
forest, which represents a serai stage of secondary succession. Major
species associated with Khasru in mixed forests are Q. floribunda,
Q. lanata, Q. leucotrichophora, Abies pindrew, Rhododendron
arboreum, Picea smithiana, Cotoneaster acuminata, Viburnum
mullaha, Betula utilis, etc.
In natural forest, khasru grows up to 35 m; the lower two-thirds are
clear bole without branches. Coppicing results in luxuriant growth.
Tree trunks and branches are usually densely covered with epiphytic
plants, including ferns and orchids. The leaves are coriaceous,
elliptical to oblong, with sub-cordate to rounded base, and veins
forked near the margin; they are glossy green above, generally with
rust coloured hairs beneath, but old leaves are almost hairless. The
leaves of saplings and coppice shoots have spines on the margin
but those of older branches of trees have smooth margins. Male
spikes are pendulous and occur in fascicles. Involucral scales are
free and imbricate, and the acorns are globular, developing in
clusters of three. Seeds are among the largest in the oak family,
weighing 5.0 to 6.5 gm (Jackson 1994).
New shoots appear in May and June and leaf fall begins during the
same period, but most ofthe new leaves attain full size before the
completion of leaf fall. Sometimes, however, leaf fall is completed
before the new shoot emerges, and the tree stands leafless for a
brief period. Male and female spikes appear at the same time as
new shoots, and pollination takes place in June. The period between
the pollination and the ripening of the acorn is about thirteen
months. The ripening ofthe acorn takes place from July to August,
and germination takes place immediately after the fruit falls.
Phenology, however varies with altitude, aspect and micro-climate.
Foliar phenology of Khasru in central Nepal (Shivapuri National
Park) is different from the pattern mentioned above. Shrestha and
Lekhak (2002) reported completely leafless trees during early
Seed germination
Mature seeds fall during the rainy season and are viable for a very
short period, while stored seeds cannot germinate. More than 95%
of fresh seeds can germinate. Some seeds start germination even
before they fall on the ground, i.e. partial vivipary (Negi and Naithani
1995). Germination is hypogeous, and a long tube is formed by the
cotyledonary petiole which pushes the radicle (tap root) through
the thick layer of litter deep into the soil. The plumule lies safely at
the base ofthe petiolar tube. Seedlings are normally leafless in the
first year with buds on the axil ofthe scale leaf, which enables them
to withstand autumn drought and winter cold. Food stored in the
large seed is sufficient to allow the early growth of the seedling
before green leaves are produced. However, under favorable
conditions new leaves are produced in the first season. The growth
of the tap root is rapid which ensures early establishment in soil
with thick litter cover. Dying back ofthe seedling is common but
does not occur under favorable conditions (Negi and Naithani
Use and level of exploitation
The economic and ecological benefits of khasru oak are substantial.
Khasru foliage is a staple dry season fodder from February to April
when other green fodder is not available. The leaves are also suitable
for feeding the caterpillars of the silk moth Antheraea perrnyl.
Litter collected from the forest floor is used for making compost.
The bark yields tannins. The wood is fine, strong, durable and
attractive, and can be easily shaped, making it useful for furniture
and agricultural implements. Large branches and trunk wood are
in high demand as firewood; the wood is also readily processed
into charcoal of superior quality. The acorn is a favored food of
many wild animals including bears, monkeys, squirrels and birds.
Unfortunately, it has become one ofthe most over-exploited tree
species ofthe Himalayan region.
The primary reason for the over-exploitation of khasru
oak is the demand for dry season fodder, but large branches with
foliage are lopped for firewood as well. In privately owned forests,
trees are lopped for fodder once every two years, and sometimes
even less often (Mathema 1991). In public forests, however, heavy
and indiscriminate lopping continues throughout the year (Shrestha
and Paudel 1996). Trees are reduced to naked poles. Flower and
seed production are impeded to the point that the forest cannot
regenerate itself. Leaf production is slashed to the point that the
fodder supply is inadequate. And, to maintain the soil fertility of
mountain farmland, more and more litter is collected, which
prevents seedling establishment and upsets the nutrient balance of
the forest.
The ecological benefits of any forest community cannot
be expressed in monetary terms. As a dominant tree species of
temperate and sub-alpine forest, khasru provides food for a wide
range of fauna. The closed canopy allows the growth of shade-
loving ground vegetation. Vascular and non-vascular epiphytic
plants grow luxuriantly on the trunks and branches of mature trees.
The abundant litter production helps to maintain soil fertility. The
distribution of many plant and animal species depends on microclimatic conditions maintained by khasru. In a climax community
it is a keystone species, playing a critical role in environmental
balance at both the local and also the regional level.
Due to over-exploitation and an inherently slow growth
rate, khasru oak forest is degrading and shrinking in Nepal and the
adjoining Himalayan region (for e.g., Mathema 1991, Singh and
Singh 1992, Shrestha and Paudel 1996, Metz 1997). Degradation of
khasru oak forest reduces the supply of dry season fodder, manure,
higher quality firewood and durable timber. Reduced supply of
fodder forces the farmers to abandon the practice of animal keeping
and ultimately reduces the crop production in the region (Shrestha
and Paudel 1996), which has already faced the problem of food
security. This will present the farmers with two alternatives: either
to abandon cultivation and migrate or to adopt agricultural method
based on chemical fertilizer (Mathema 1991). However, hill and
mountain agriculture based on chemical fertilizer cannot
economically be profitable. The ecological cost of oak forest
degradation is perhaps more important and damage is irreversible.
The intensity of soil erosion and landslide is increasing and mountain
spring recharge is decreasing. Many dependants, including epiphytic
plants, ground vegetation and animal may be locally extinct.
Natural regeneration of khasru oak is poor both in disturbed and
undisturbed forests. It is failing to regenerate under its own canopy.
Lack of regeneration is sometimes attributed to the effect of climate
change (Upreti et al. 1984), however there is no long-term data on
population dynamics to support this. Healthy and regenerating
forests owe their vitality to a continuing sequence of young, mature
and old individuals of dominant species. In many undisturbed and
little disturbed khasru oak forests, unfortunately, there are large
old trees and seedling, but saplings and recruits are absent (Metz
1997); this indicates large-scale death of saplings and small trees
before they reach the canopy. Annual, heavy and indiscriminate
lopping precludes flowering and seed production for regeneration.
Loss of photosynthetic surface as a consequence of repeated lopping
not only leads to early senescence but also impairs the ability to
coppice (Singh and Singh 1992). A comparative study has shown
that trees lopped every year and at the interval of two years did not
produce seeds, while trees lopped at the interval of three years or
more do produce seeds (Shrestha and Paudel 1996). Litter collection,
overgrazing and forest fire indiscriminately damage the seedling
and sapling recruits.
Seed germination depends strongly on the quality and ^
thickness of litter and quality of light. Litter is an important general
factor determining the spatial variation in seedling recruitment.
Thick litter generally reduces the rates of germination and of seedling
establishment. However, herbaceous cover, rather than litter, has
an even more adverse effect on seedling emergence, survival and
growth (Tripathi and Khan 1990, Dzwonko and Gawronski 2002).
Kharsru has an unusual mode of germination, with rapid elongation
of a cotyledonary petiolar tube pushing the radicle deep into the
soil penetrating the thick layer of litter. Dense growth of weeds
such as Pteracanthus alatus (Wallich ex Nees) Bremek and P.
urticifolius (Kuntze) Bremek inhibit the survival of seedlings and
saplings; their removal has resulted in the establishment of many
khasru oak seedlings at previously unproductive sites (Negi and
Naithani 1995). On the other hand, there is no clear relationship
between seedling survival and soil variables, indicating that above-
ground factors are more important for seedling survival (Vetaas
2000). Khasru is a light demander; seedlings and saplings respond
positively to high intensity solar radiation. As a result, saplings form
a thicket along the edges of khasru oak forest, but in the interior of
dense forest no young plants beyond seedling stage are found
(Negi and Naithani 1995).
The problem of inadequate natural regeneration of
khasru oak has long been reported (e.g., Singh and Singh 1992,
Negi and Naithani 1995, Metz 1997 and Vetaas 2000). Some
management attempts, including artificial plantation, have been
undertaken in order to induce natural regeneration. The direct
sowing of seeds and planting nursery-raised seedlings are both
practiced, however the former is widely preferred. Direct sowing
has been successfully adopted in various parts of India (Negi and
Naithani 1995). Survival of nursery-raised seedlings in plantation is
very low, less than 4% in Solukhumbu, Nepal (Stewart 1984). Due to
lack of detailed information on seedling establishment and growth
behavior of khasru, the problems of poor survival of planted
seedlings have remained unsolved (Jackson 1994, Shrestha and
Paudel 1996). Metz (1997) hypothesized that khasru is not able to
reproduce in individual tree fall gaps, but needs more severe
disturbance. Management practices in natural forest, involving
thinning of old trees, so as to open the canopy and allow more light
to reach the ground, have produced promising results in India
(Negi and Naithani 1995, and references therein). However, even
the community forestry programmes in Nepal have not developed
any management strategies that might induce natural regeneration
of khasru and other oaks (Shrestha and Paudel 1996). In some
districts of western Nepal (Parbat and Myagdi), facilitated by Lumle
Agricultural Research Center (Kaski), local people have adopted
sustainable lopping practices. The accessible forest was divided
into several blocks and a few blocks were opened each year for
fodder lopping on a three-year rotational cycle. Protection of a few
mother trees without lopping was recommended (Shrestha and
Paudel 1996) to ensure seed production and natural regeneration.
These management practices can increase the total fodder
production and ensure regeneration.
Khasru in Shivapuri National Park (SNP)
The temperate forest of Shivapuri National Park (1366 to 2732 m
asl), lying on the northern hills of Kathmandu valley, is a major
source of water supply to the capital. It is dominated by Q. lanata
at lower elevations and Q. semecarpifolia (khasru oak) at higher
elevations. Regeneration of khasru is very poor in comparison to
Q. lanata. A preliminary study showed that khasru forest had only
old dying trees and seedlings but no individuals between these two
size classes (Shrestha and Lekhak 2002), a clear indication of
inadequate regeneration. The forest is mature, with above-ground
biomass and basal area cover of 462.14 t/ha and 0.73% respectively
at 2600 m (Subedi and Shakya 1988), which is remarkably high for
this altitude (Singh and Singh 1992). Khasru density was 217 trees/
ha, although it is the most exploited among the oak trees (Siluwalet
al. 2001). The forest has been protected for nearly three decades
(since 1975) but khasru oak fails to regenerate under its own canopy;
mitigation or removal of human induced pressure alone is not
sufficient to ensure regeneration of khasru oak forest in Shivapuri
National Park. The regeneration is continuous in the nearly
undisturbed forest of khasru in Langtang National Park, central
Nepal (Vetaas 2000) but such a situation was not observed in SNP
(Shrestha and Lekhak 2002) indicating that absolute conservation
does not ensure continuous regeneration of this species. The forest
shows prominent signs of decline. Abnormal growth and branching
(i.e., clusters of thin, profusely branched and slender branches
with shorter internodes), increased defoliation and dying back of
leader and branch tips, which are frequently observed in the forest,
are sure signs of decline (Larcher 1995). ■
Andersson C. 1991. Distribution of seedlings and saplings of Quercus robur in a
grazed deciduous forest. JVegSci 2: 279-82
DPR. 1997. Flora of Nepal: Fagaceae,\o\l, Part 20. Kathmandu: Department of Plant
Resources, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, HMGN. 12 p
Dzwonko Z and S Gawronski. 2002. Influence of litter and weather on seedling
recruitment in a mixed oak pine woodland. Ann Bot 90: 245-51
Jackson JK. 1994. Manual of afforestation in Nepal,Vol land 2. Kathmandu: Forest
Research and Survey Center, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, HMGN.
741 p
Keator G and S Bazel. 1998. The life of an oak: An intimate portrait. Heyday Books
and California Oak Foundation, USA. 256 p
Larcher W. 1995. Physiological plant ecology, 3rded. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. 448 p
Lorimer CG, W Chapman and WD Labmert. 1994. Tall understory vegetation as a
factor in the poor development of oak seedlings beneath mature stand. JEcol
82: 227-37
MathemaP 1991.Focusonoakforest. Banko Janakari3(l): 13-6
MetzJJ. 1997. Vegetation dynamics of several little disturbed temperate forest in
east central Nepal. Mount ResDevtf{4): 333-51
Negi SS and HB Naithani. 1995. Oaks of India, Nepal and Bhutan. Dehradun:
International Book Distributors
Shrestha BB and HD Lekhak. 2002. Vanishing oak: Shivapuri National Park. The
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Shrestha RK and KC Paudel. 1996. Oak forest under threat: An urgent concern for
the mountain environment. In: Jha PK, GPS Ghimire, SB Karmacharya, SR
Baral and P Lacoul (eds), Environment and biodiversity: In the context of South
Asia. Kathmandu: ECOS. p 114-9
Siluwal HR, HD Lekhak and PK Jha. 2001. Ecological study of Quercus species in the
surrounding hills of Kathmandu valley Nepal. In: Jha PK, GPS Ghimire, SB
Karmacharya, SR Baral and P Lacoul (eds), Environment and biodiversity: In
the context of South Asia. Kathmandu: ECOS. pl81-9
Singh JS and SP Singh. 1992. ForestofHimalaya. Nainital: Gyanodaya Prakashan.
257 p
Stewart J. 1984. Community forestry development in Solukhumbu district 1979-
1984 [Miscellaneous document no 22]. Kathmandu: Community forestry
development project
Subedi MN and PR Shakya. 1988. Above-ground bio-mass and productivity studies
of Quercus semecarpifolia Sm. forest at Phulchoki in Lalitpur district. In:
Proceedings of the First National Conference on Science and Technology.
Kathmandu: RONAST. p 381-5
Tripathi RS and ML Khan. 1990. Effects of seed weight and micro-site characteristics
on seed germination and seedling fitness in two species of Quercus in a
subtropical wet hill forest. OIKOSS1: 289-96
Upreti N, JC Tiwari and SP Singh. 1985. The oak forest of Kumaun Himalaya (India):
Composition, diversity and regeneration. MountResDev 5(2): 163-74
Valdia KS. 1998. Dynamic Himalaya. Haidarabad: University Press Ltd. 178 p
Vetaas OR. 2000. The effects of environmental factors on regeneration of Quercus
semecarpifolia Sm. in central Himalaya, Nepal. PlantEcol 146:137-44
Invasive alien plants and Eupatorium'.
Biodiversity and livelihood
Ripu M Kunwar*
Society for Economic and Environmental Development (SEED), Kathmandu, Nepal
* For correspondence, E-mail:
Invasive alien species colonize aggressively, threatening native biodiversity. The success of invasive alien plants is due to their opportunistic
exploitation of anthropogenic disturbances, the absence of natural enemies, and, frequently, their allelopathic competitive strategies.
Invasive species can have a significant impact on development, affecting sustainability of livelihood, food security and essential ecosystem
services and dynamics. EupatoriumadenophorumSprenq. and f. odoratumL (forest killer, local name banmara) are unpalatable and
highly competitive. They have taken hold in scattered sites throughout eastern and central Nepal, currently, they are also rapidly spreading
westward. Efforts are being made to control established invasive species, but a better understanding of why species become invasive
offers the possibility of taking pre-emptive measures.
Keywords: Invasive alien plant species, Eupatorium, biological control, livelihood
HimJScil(2): 129-133
Received: 6 Apr 2003
Accepted after revision: 27 July 2003
All ofthe threats to Nepal's biodiversity are due to the activities of
human beings: habitat destruction and over-exploitation are
accompanied by introduction of exotic species leading to habitat
change and soil degradation (Chaudhary 1998). The wide range of
habitats and environmental conditions makes Nepal especially
vulnerable to the establishment of invasive species of foreign origin.
Potential invasive alien species from most areas ofthe world may
find suitable habitat somewhere in Nepal. In recent years invasive
species have gained considerable notoriety as major threats to
native species and ecosystem.
Introduction of plants from one place to another may be
natural or planned. Accidental and intentional introduction by
gardeners, traders and foresters have contributed to the large
number of exotic plants in Nepal. Nepal has a long history of
introduction of non-native species, especially species proven to be
productive elsewhere and offering potential economic benefits to
the country. Tamarindus indica (tamarind), originally from Africa,
isbelievedto have been first introduced into Turkey in 126 B.C.-220
A.D. (Yan et al. 2001), spreading gradually toward China along the
'Silk Road'; by now it has been thoroughly naturalized in Nepal. In
the 19th century, the British were major contributors, bringing
economically important plants from almost every continent (Islam
1991). Some ofthe alien tree species, such as Tectonagrandis (teak)
and Albizia spp. (siris), were introduced for their timber potential
or for watershed protection. Some now-common fruit trees,
including Litchi chinensis (litchi), Ananas comosus (pineapple),
and Cornsnucifera (coconut), were also introduced, as were most
ofthe pulses and oilyielding plants (Das 1982). Similarly, vegetables
such as Cucurbita spp. (cucurbits), Raphnus sativus (radish),
Solanum tuberosum (potato) and Daucus carota (carrot), came
from other countries and have been welcomed by Nepalese farmers.
Likewise, Eupatorium odoratum, E. adenophorum, Lantana
camara and Eichhornia crassipes were first introduced as
ornamental plants and they are now well established and dominant
in forest, farmland, wetland and wasteland.
In the 20th century, the country's economic development
including growth in trade and transportation systems multiplied
the avenues of introduction and spread of invasive species.
Newcomers such as Leucaena leucocephala (ipil ipil), Eucalyptus
camaldulensis (masala), Acacia auriculoformis (watal), Cassia
occidentalis (chakor) and Samania saman, are becoming
plantation favorites. In the hills and even in the Terai, fields are
sown with the woody legume species L. leucocephala in order to
rehabilitate soils left bare by intensive deforestation. In recent
decades, however, there has been a growing awareness of the
significant impact of such transformations of indigenous
Biological invasion worldwide threatens biodiversity,
ecosystem dynamics, resource availability, national economy and
human health (Ricciardi et al. 2000). It is a pervasive and costly
environmental problem (Larson et al. 2001). Over the past half
century it has become the focus of intense management and
research activities worldwide (Kennedy et al. 2002). The Convention
on Biological Diversity (CBD), to which Nepal and 177 other
countries are party, calls on governments to prevent the
introduction, control or eradication of those alien species that
threaten ecosystems, habitats or species (Article 8). However,
approaches taken to combat this phenomenon and even the data
on which they should be based are clearly inadequate to deal with
the onslaught of invasive species in Nepal. Participatory biodiversity
conservation programme and an inventory of alien species are
being run by International Union for Nature Conservation Nepal
(IUCN/Nepal). However, accurate predictions of community
susceptibility to invasion remain elusive. No story ofthe ecosystem
of Nepal will be complete or comprehensive without taking into
account the role played by the well-established Eupatoriumspecies
(local name banmara, or "forest killer"). This study is an attempt to
BOX 1. Recommended terminology in plant invasion ecology
Plant species or subspecies or lower taxa, occurring within their natural range (past or present) and dispersal
potential (i.e. within the range they occupy naturally or could occupy without direct or indirect introduction by
Plant taxa in a given area whose presence there is due to intentional or accidental introduction as a result of
human activity (Syn.: exotic plants, non-native, non-indigenous plants)
Alien plants that may flourish and even reproduce occasionally in an area, but which do not form self-replacing
populations and which rely on repeated introduction for their persistence
Alien plants that reproduce consistently (casual alien plants) and sustain populations over many life cycles
without direct intervention by humans. They often recruit offspring freely, usually close to adult plants, and do
not necessarily invade natural or human-made ecosystems
Naturalized plants that produce reproductive offspring, often in very large numbers, at considerable distances
from parent plants (approximate scales: > 100 m; < 50 years for taxa spreading by seeds and other propagules; >6
m/3 years for taxa spreading by roots, rhizomes, stolons, or creeping stems), and thus have the potential to
spread over a considerable area
Invasive alien Plants become established in natural or seminatural ecosystems or habitats and are agents of change,
plants threatening native biological diversity
Weeds Plants (not necessarily alien) that grow in sites where they are not wanted and which usually have detectable
economic or environmental effects. Environmental weeds are alien plant taxa that invade natural vegetation,
usually adversely affecting native biodiversity
Sources: De Candolle (1855), Humphries et al. (1991), Randall (1997), Richardson (1998), IUCN/SSC (2000), Richardson et al. (2000)
Native plants
Alien plants
Casual alien plants
Naturalized plants
Invasive plants
review available information on invasive species and to recommend
Invasive species
The term 'invasive species' denotes plants and animals that: (i)
have been introduced into ecosystems where they are not native
by either intentional or unintentional human activity, (ii) have
established self-reproducing populations, and (iii) have caused
significant changes in pre-existing natural or artificial ecosystems
(Richardson 1998) (Box 1).
Eupatoriumspecies have aremarkable range of altitudinal
distribution (800 to 2000 m asl) in Nepal (Sharma and KC 1977),
which overlaps with human settlements (Shrestha 1989). It has
been sporadically spreading and now it is reported from 305 to
2500 m in abandoned slopes after slash and burn cultivation (Joshi
1983), fallow lands and disturbed forests with severe human
interference. It is represented by six species in Nepal (Press et al.
2000) viz. E. acuminatum, E. adenophorum, E. cannabinum, E.
capillifolium, E. chinense and E. odoratum out of which two (E.
adenophorum and E. odoratum) are highly undesirable (Singh
1979). E. odoratumand E. adenophorum are aggressively colonizing
abandoned slopes in the tropical to lower temperate zones,
respectively (NBLP 2001). £ adenophorumwas introduced in India
after 1498 (Biswas 1934) and it is likely that it was introduced into
Nepal from India through eastern border (Banerji 1958) probably
before 1950. It is now widespread in eastern and central part of
Mode of invasion
Biological invasion is a natural process. Nevertheless, the growing
human population and improved worldwide transport have led to
a skyrocketing incidence and scale of invasions by non-indigenous
species (Ewel et al. 1999). Their introduction relies on mutualism in
their new habitats to overcome barriers to establishment and
naturalization (Richardson et al. 2000). Parasitism is significantly
reduced in organisms in the introduced range, a fact that supports
the 'enemy release hypothesis' (ERH) - the idea that species are
more likely to become invasive when they are released from control
by their natural enemies (Torchin et al. 2003). The biotic resistance
hypothesis (BRH) argues that diverse communities are highly
competitive and readily resist invasion because interactions with
native species, including natural enemies, limit invaders' impacts
(Darwin 1859, Maron and Vila 2001). As a result, deep forest, which
is less diverse than the forest margin, is vulnerable to ecological
invasion (Pimm 1984). Distribution of invasive plants directly
correlates with human disturbances, which can be easily seen in
forest fringe areas. In general, increasing the frequency, intensity,
spatial patterns, or scale of disturbances will likely lead to faster
replacement of native species by exotic species (Yan et al. 2001).
Massive invasion and spread is also typically allelopathic (Rai and
Tripathi 1982, Chettri 1986).
Intentional introduction has been performed by various
institutions for economic development, recreation uses, ecosystem
betterment, highway beautiflcation and creation of wildlife habitat.
It may also take place due to import without quarantine of biological
inputs, seeds and saplings, implements and fertilizers from foreign
countries. Plants introduced for commercial and ecological
purposes include Eucalyptus species, Grevillea robusta and
Leucaena leucocephala. Some ofthe most invasive and widespread
unintentional introductions include the Amaranthus spp.
(amaranth), Solidagospp. (gold enrod), Eupatorium spp. (crofton
weed), Lantana camara, and Cestrum spp. (Table 1).
Impacts: boon or bane?
Introductions of non-native species can be both boon and bane to
society. The relative magnitudes of costs and benefits vary both in
space and over time. Although an introduction may meet a desired
objective in one area, at one time, or for some sectors, unwanted
and unplanned effects may also occur.
Socio-economic impacts
Humans depend heavily on non-native species for food, shelter,
medicine, ecosystem services, aesthetic enjoyment and cultural
identity. Intentionally introduced plants have priority over native
species with respect to household economy and national economy.
Only nine crops (wheat, maize, rice, potato, barley, cassava, soybean,
sugarcane, and oats) which are cultivated far beyond their natural
range yield over 70% ofthe world's food (Sattaur 1989). Similarly,
85% of our industrial forestry plantations are established with species
of just three genera (Eucalyptus, Pinus and Tectona), which are
TABLE 1. Some alien species, which have detrimental impacts on ecosystems
Scientific Name
Impact on the ecosystem
Ageratum conyzoides (Asteraceae)
Weed frequently encountered on cultivated land and wasteland
Amaranthus spp. (Asteraceae)
N. America
Invasive, widely distributed weeds
Cassia occidentalis (Fabaceae)
Trop. America
Common weed of hilly areas; prevents the regeneration of
native species
Cestrum diurnum (Solanaceae)
Trop. America
Weed of roadside and wasteland
Chenopodium ambrosioides (Chenopodiaceae)
Trop. America
Weed of roadside
Convolvulus arvensis (Convolvulaceae)
Common weed of wasteland and fallow land
Conyzaspp. (Asteraceae)
N. America
Common weed of farmlands and wastelands
Eichhornia crassipes (Pontederiaceae)
S. America
Probably the world's most widespread and serious invasive
aquatic weed
Eucalyptus camaldulensis (Myrtaceae)
Controversy over water recharge and discharge
Eupatorium adenophorum (Asteraceae)
West Indies
Common weed of waste land; suppressed the regeneration of
other species
Eupatorium odoratum (Asteraceae)
Jamaica and
Common weed of waste land; suppressed the regeneration of
other species
Grevillea robusta (Proteaceae)
Agricultural landscape and roadside invasion
Ipomoea carnea (Convolvulaceae)
Common weed in aquatic and marshy habitat
Lantana camara (Verbenaceae)
Trop. America
Common weed of wastelands
Leucaena leucocephala (Fabaceae)
Trop. America
Suppress the regeneration of other species
Ludwigia adscendendens (Onagraceae)
Common weed of all habitats
Mimosapudica (Fabaceae)
Common weed of cultivated and wasteland
Opuntiastricta (Cactaceae)
Coastal area
Widespread weed in hot and dry areas
Plantagospp. (Plantaginaceae)
N. America
Common in grassland and along roadside
Solidagosp. (Asteraceae)
N. America
Common in suburbs, along roadside
Sources: De Bach (1964), Das (1982), Islam (1991), Richardson (1998), Hossain and Pasha (2001)
also cultivated as exotics (Evans 1992). Thus, although native species
fulfill some human requirements, non-native species play an
integral role in the economies and culture of most countries.
Despite the many benefits provided by alien species,
deliberate and accidental introduction of these species poses a
threat to native biodiversity and rural livelihoods. The impact may
be devastating, and may entail reduction of carrying capacity of
ecosystem (Banerji 1958), alterations in structure and function of
natural ecosystem, human health hazards (Ricciardi et al. 2000),
crop failure, species extinction, and reduced water yield from
watersheds (Harrington andWingfleld 1998). The distribution and
composition of biodiversity and local forest resources is affected
directly by the invasive species due to change in host pathogen
relationship and species competition. The invaders thereby affect
the availability of forest resources, both timber and non-timber
forest products. This may cause a change in the local people's
utilization patterns of forest resources.
Invasion of Eupatorium is an enormous problem.
Transitional zones and swamp forest are being invaded by dense
monospecific stands of Eupatorium, which have little understorey
except for Eupatorium seedlings. Although the species of
Eupatorium have pesticidal properties (Chettri 1986) which have
been applied in a few areas of Nepal, no commercially viable
application has been found. Neither cattle nor goats eat this plant,
and areas traditionally used for grazing can no longer be used for
this purpose, forcing villagers to walk farther in search of grazing
pasturage. The increased time spent on this activity translates into
a substantial economic loss. The alternative, trying to control the
weed, also involves a burden of labour and financial investment.
Eupatorium spp. growing in fallow land prevents soil
erosion. They are used as green manure during spring, when the
plant is heavily laden with leaves. Dried Eupatorium may be burnt
to yield potash rich fertilizer. In some parts of the country, it has
been used for cattle bedding material (Shrestha 1989). Eupatorium
leaves when boiled and taken, cure severe stomachache and the
apical leaves when made into paste and slaked with lime and applied
on the cuts, stops bleeding (Joseph and Kharkongor 1981). Local
people apply the fresh juice ofEupatorium leaves to stop bleeding
from cuts and wounds (NBLP 2001).
Ecological impact
The dominance of Eupatoriumspecies has occurred in transitional
zones with adequate moisture (Kunwar 2000) and disturbance
regimes, which can be easily seen in disturbed forest sites (Baniya
and Bhattarai 1984). This plant inhibits growth and may even kill
local plants and domestic animals (Jha and Sah 1985). Although
many factors interact to determine the susceptibility of an ecosystem
to invasion by Eupatorium, habitats may be ranked according to
their vulnerability: undisturbed forest < moderately disturbed forest
< disturbed forest < shrub land < grassland < dunes < denuded
land (Richardson and Higgins 1998). Roads or trails, which usually
occur in transition areas, often function as conduits for the dispersal
of alien plants (Hobbs and Mooney 1991).
Invasive alien species (Ageratum conyzoides, Eupatorium
spp., Imperata cylindrica etc.) grow luxuriantly in sunny exposed
wasteland (Kunwar et al. 2001) and encroach fresh landslides or
areas with deep gullies and open grasslands. The invasive species
spread primarily through wind dispersal and propagate through
vegetative means (Saxena and Ramakrishnan 1984). The once slow,
erratic and small-scale transfer of species has shifted to a rapid and
large-scale translocation; the rate of invasions in San Francisco
Bay, for instance, has accelerated from an average of one new
species established every 55 weeks during the period 1851-1960 to
one new species every 14 weeks during the period 1961 -1995 (Cohen
and Carlton 1998). Thus, the invasive effects of these species become
compounded because of their growth mode and the reproductive
strategy. They can promote fire and alter water and nutrient
availability. Moreover, the cattle grazing and trampling has allowed
noxious Eupatorium spp. to take root (NEPA 1998).
It is argued that the complexity ofthe interactions between
alien plants, the native biota and the environment they invade
precludes prediction (Bruke and Grime 1996). Invasive alien species
reduce biodiversity, replace economically important native plant
species and increase the investment in agriculture and silviculture
(Ricciardi et al. 2000), disrupt prevailing vegetation dynamics and
alter nutrient cycling (Richardson 1998). The invasion process affects
all ecosystems but the impact of particularly aggressive species is
especially severe on the structure and function of vulnerable and
isolated ecosystems (SCBD 2001). In native forests, invasive alien
plants are able to dominate the understorey, to strangle saplings
and to suppress native species (Denslow 2002). The problem will
likely worsen with time because of climatic changes that promote
species migration worldwide.
Invasive plants also have a major impact on catchment
hydrology: 30-70% lower water runoff is reported from watershed
areas with dense stands of alien species (Geldenhuys 1986). Most
impacts are detrimental to the invaded systems and threaten
sustained functioning and the provision of important ecosystem
services. The reduced stream flow obviously has detrimental
impacts on aquatic biota. It can also disrupt stock watering, irrigation,
tourism and recreational use of resources and heritages.
Controlling measures
The spread of invasive alien species is creating complex and far-
reaching challenges that threaten both the natural biological niches
ofthe earth and the well-being of its citizens. Some aspects ofthe
problem require solutions addressing the specific values, needs,
and priorities of local ecosystems, national environment and
sustainable development. It is now widely accepted that the control
of invasive alien species is not a short-term or single effort. On the
contrary, it requires detailed surveillance, monitoring and research
into the most suitable long-term control options. Much effort is
devoted to controlling them after they are established, but a better
understanding of why species become invasive offers the possibility
of taking pre-emptive measures (Clay 2003).
A variety of well-known methods can be used as
measures to control alien invasive species and their spread. These
vary from administrative (national and international cooperation
and coordination, database management, legislation regarding
quarantine and so on), to mechanical (including digging up root
systems, slashing and chopping), to chemical (utilizing acceptable
and tested herbicides) and to biological (making use of plant specific
insects or pathogens to damage and control aliens). These options
are generally incorporated into integrated control programme
employing a combination of strategies which together may impede
and control the invasive species to some extent.
Suitable strategies are needed to conserve the forest and
its biodiversity while ensuring a sustainable resources base for
indigenous people. Biological control of Eupatoriumspecies using
gall fly Procecidochares utilishas been carried out throughout world
including Nepal. It was successful in Hawaii, USA, and elsewhere
(Bess and Haramota 1971); however, this technique has not yet
been successful in Nepal. 'Best management practices' should
include removal of known invasives, and their use should be
discouraged. Known invasive alien plant should be replaced with
non-invasive native species or with exotics unlikely to spread into
native plant communities. Horticultural material such as seed and
green mulch should be inspected for their potential to introduce
troublesome species. Nurseries, botanical gardens and government
agencies should inform the public ofthe potential danger of invasive
species and should encourage the use of alternative native or exotic
species unlikely to contribute future invasive species problem.
Some strategies that urgently require implementation are:
(i) alert local people to the importance and impacts of alien species;
(ii) accord highest priority to preventative initiatives designed to
protect vulnerable ecosystems; (iii) give priority to the eradication
of invasive alien species on areas that with highly distinctive
ecosystems and threatened and endemic species; (iv) undertake a
systematic compilation of research and educational materials and
initiate a database on invasive species; (v) conduct more research;
(vi) introduce legislation regarding quarantines; and (vii) strengthen
international cooperation, national coordination, and local
implementation of policies concerning alien species.
The deliberate introduction of alien invasive species threatens to
native species, habitats and ecosystem functions and is economically
costly. The major impact of alien invasion follows reduction in
forest product availability, which directly affects the rural livelihood
because the subsistence of rural livelihood entirely relies on such
products. Thus, some aspect of the problem requires solutions
addressing the specific needs and priorities of human livelihood,
local ecosystems and national environment and sustainable
development. Concurrently, it is more essential to understand why
these species become invasive. ■
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(ed). Bangkok: TecpressBooks. 324 p
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of herbaceous plants in lower Arun river basin of Makalu Barun buffer zone,
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Kathmandu: Hokkaido University, Tribhuvan University and the United
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the natural enemies andbiotic resistance hypothesis. OIKOS95: 361-73
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PimmSL. 1984. The complexity and stability of ecosystem. Nature 307: 321-6
Rai JPN and RS Tripathi. 1982. Allelopathy as a factor contributing to dominance of
Eupatorium. Ind]Ecol 9:14-20
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In: Richardson DM (ed), Ecology and biogeography of Pinus. Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, p 450-73
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Sattaur O 1989. The shrinking gene pool. New Sci 1675: 37-41
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in Eupatorium odoratum in secondary successional environment following
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[thesis]. Kathmandu: Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University.
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species and their missing parasites. NatureA21: 628-30
YanX, L Zhenyu, WP Gregg and L Dianmo. 2001. Invasive species in China: An
overview. Biod Conserv 10: 1317-41
Thanks are due to Sagendra Tiwari, IUCN and Ram P Chaudhary, Central
Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, for their valuable suggestions,
and to Vijaya Kunwar, Society for Economic and Environmental Development
(SEED), Nepal for providing necessary supports.
National Seminar on Natural Resource Management
(November 6-7, 2003; Kartik 20-21,2060; Biratnagar, Nepal)
Ecological Society (ECOS)
C/o Central Department of Botany, TU
Kathmandu, Nepal
PG Campus
Tribhuvan University
Biratnagar, Nepal
Nepal Biological Society
C/o Post Graduate campus
Biratnagar, Nepal
In human term, one ofthe important renewable resources is plant, without that we cannot
think of existence of life on this planet. This rich variety of genes, species and biological
communities gives us food, wood, fibres, energy, raw materials, industrial chemicals,
medicines, and above all free mineral recycling and air purification service. To continue the
ecological and economic benefits sustainable use of natural resource is important.
Nepal is rich in natural resources but these resources need special attention and
sustainable management. Population growth is another important factor which is linked with
various environmental issues including natural resource management. Therefore, organisers
ofthe seminar have resolved to organise a national seminar on 'Natural Resource
Management' with the following objectives:
Discuss research findings and share knowledge for betterment of human population
and environment.
Evaluate the natural resources of Nepal and neighbouring countries.
Discuss the natural resources management issues and strategies.
Highlight the intricate relation of natural resources, environment and population.
Ecology and Environment, Agriculture,
Human Population Dynamics, Foresty,
Natural Resources Management, Medicine,
Biotechnology, Systematics, Biodiversity,
Ethnobotany, etc and a special session on
Environment and Population.
Programmes: Keynote Address, Invited
Lectures, Contributory Papers, Poster
Presentation, Exhibition, Excursion
Venue: Post Graduate Campus, Biratnagar,
Language: The official language ofthe
conference will be English
Call for abstracts and papers
Abstracts should reach the conference
secretariat by the last of August 2003. The
abstract (not exceeding 200 words) should
include title, name of author(s), address and
abstract. Abstract can be sent by email.
The full text ofthe paper in duplicate (with
diskette) should reach before October 15th
2003. The papers will be peer reviewed for
publication in ECOPRINT: An international
j ournal published by ECOS.
Poster presentation: The full text should be
arranged in one sheet (size 110 by 80 cm) for
poster presentation. Young scientists are
encouraged for poster presentation.
Accommodation and food
Participants will be provided a modest
accommodation, launch and snacks/tea/
coffee duringthe conference hours.
Registration fee
Nepalese participants: NRs 500 (50%
concession to students)
Foreign participants: US $ 20 (IRs 500 for
scientists from India)
Prof Dr GP Sharma
Vice-chancellor, Tribhunvan University
Prof TB Karki
Vice-chancellor, Purbanchal University
Prof Dr GPS Ghimire (Dean, Institute of
Science and Technology, TU)
Dr SP Koirala (Campus Chief, Post Graduate
Campus, Biratnagar)
Advisory board
Prof DrPK Jha (Head, CDBTU/Past
President, ECOS), Prof Dr B Upadhyay,
Dr D Parajuli, Dr Ekalabya Sharma,
Mr GB Karki, Dr HD Lekhak,
Prof Dr KP Sharma, Prof Dr PN Mishra,
DrRBThapa, ProfDrRKKherwar,
Mr RN Sapkota, Prof Dr RP Chaudhary,
Prof Dr SD Joshi, Dr SM Amatya,
Dr SR Baral, Prof Dr TK Shrestha,
DrUR Sharma
Chairperson: Dr SB Karmacharya
(President, ECOS)
Co-chairperson: DrMRDhakal (President,
Secretary: DrMK Chettri (General Secretary,
JointSecretary: DrTNMandalMrSNJha,
Treasure: Mr Umesh Koirala
Joint Treasure: MsBabitaLabh,
Ms Bindu Pokharel
Members: Mr BhabindraNiraula, Ms Bipana
Acharya, Mr Damodar Thapa, Mr Kamal
Maden, Mr Kul P Limbu, Mr RP Shah, Mr
Rakesh Bhagat, Dr S Bajracharya, Mr SK Jha,
Mr SK Rai, Dr SR Joshi, Mr Tilak Gautam, Dr
VN Prasad, Mr YN Das
Mailing address
Dr MK Chhetri, Secretary
Ph.: 4332560,4411637
Dr TN Mandal, Joint Secretary
POBox 137, Biratnagar, Ph.: 00977-21-527968
Contact persons
Dr SB Karmacharya, President (ECOS)
Trichandra Campus, TU, Kathmandu
POBox 21319,Kathmandu
Ph.: 6613353,4330829
DrMR Dhakal, President (NBS)
Post Graduate Campus, Biratnagar, Nepal
PO Box 137, Biratnagar
Dr Mukesh K Chettri, General Secretary
(ECOS), Amrit Campus, TU, Kathmandu
Ph.: 4332560,4411637
DrTN Mandal, Vice President (NBS)
Post Graduate Campus, Biratnagar, Nepal
Volume 1
Issue 2
July 2003
ISSN 1727 5210
Assistant Editors
Kumar P Mainali, MSc
Ganesh P Bhattarai, MSc
Executive Editor
Khagendra Prasai, M A
Arjun Adhikari, MSc
RajanTripathee, M Sc
Language Editor
Seth Sicroff, PhD
Rana B Chhetri, Ph D
Ripu M Kunwar, M Phil
Shishir Paudel, MSc
Himalayan Journal Online
Full text of all opinion-based papers,
summary of all papers, guide to authors
and other materials are available online at
To help the authors of research papers, we
have added a section 'How to write a
scientific paper' in the website (see p 76).
For latest information about the journal,
please visit the website.
The Editor
Himalayan Journal of Sciences
Lalitpur, Nepal
Tel: 977-1-5525313 0,977-1-5528090 R
To visit the office
Himalayan Journal of Sciences
ICIMOD, Jawalakhel, Lalitpur, NEPAL
Office hours: 4 pm to 7 pm
Advisory Board
Reviewers of this Issue
Dr Bishwambher Pyakuryal
Professor, Central Dept Economics, TU
Dr Dayananda Bajracharya
Vice-Chancellor, RONAST
Professor, Central Dept Botany, TU
Dr Damodar P Parajuli
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Soil
Conservation, HMG Nepal
Dr J Gabriel Campbell
Director General, International Center for
Integrated Mountain Development
(ICIMOD), Lalitpur
Dr Mohan B Gewali
Professor, Central Dept Chemistry, TU
Dr Madhusudhan Upadhyaya
Nepal Agricultural Research Council
(NARC), Lalitpur
Dr Pramod K Jha
Professor, Central Dept Botany, TU
Dr Teiji Watanabe
Associate Professor, Hokkaido University,
Dr Udayraj Khanal
Professor, Central Dept Physics, TU
Dr Ananda S Tamrakar, Central Department
of Zoology, TU, Kathmandu
Mr Bimal K Baniya, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC), Lalitpur
Dr Braj N Prasad, Central Department of
Botany, TU, Kathmandu
Dr Devi D Poudel, Central Department of
Computer Science, TU, Kathmandu
Dr Hari P Bimba, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC), Lalitpur
Dr Mukunda Ranjit, Green Research and
Technology Nepal, Baneswor
Dr Kamal K Joshi
Himalayan Botanical Research Centre Pvt.
Ltd., New Baneshwor, Kathmandu
Mr Khadga B Thapa, Central Department of
Meteorology, TU, Kathmandu
Dr Keshav P Sharma
Department of Hydrology and Meteorology,
HMG Nepal
Dr Krishna C Poudel, Ministry of Forest and
Soil Conservation, HMG Nepal
Dr Lok N Jha, Central Department of
Physics, TU, Kathmandu
Dr Mukesh Chettri
Amrit Campus, Kathmandu
Dr Puspa R Shakya, Natural History Society
of Nepal, Kathmandu
Dr Roshan M Bajracharya
Department of Biological & Environmental
Sciences, Kathmandu University
Mr Rupak Rajbhandari
International Center for Integrated
Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Lalitpur
Mr Sagendra Tiwari
IUCN Nepal, Lalitpur
Dr Samudra L Joshi, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC), Lalitpur
Mr Suresh D Shrestha, Central Department
of Geology, TU, Kathmandu
Dr Surya P Pandey
Singhdurbar Plaza, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC), Kathmandu
Mr Thaneshwor Pokharel, Nepal Agricultural
Research Council (NARC), Lalitpur
Mr Walter Immerzeel
International Center for Integrated
Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Lalitpur
Many institutions and people have helped us bring out this second issue. We would like to
acknowledge the logistic support (office space, computers, furnitures) of International
Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD); and especially we are thankful
to Dr J Gabriel Campbell, Greta Rana and Nira Gurung. We are thankful to Bridges-PRTD
and San Miguel Brewery for financial support (NRs 20,000). The faithful assistance of
Yogendra R Mainali, Bina Gajurel and Sanjay Gajurel is highly appreciated. We thank
Bharat B Shrestha (Central Department of Botany, TU) for help in editing one paper, and
Bamadev Deep, Krishna Roka, Bijaya Kunwar, Ram B Pant (Nepal Rastra Bank), Babu R
Adhikari, Krishna B Karki and Murali D Tiwari for helping to raise funds through advertisement. To all our reviewers and authors, for your patience and persistence, thankyou!
Copyright ©2003 by
Himalayan Journal Publishing Group
GPO Box No 2838, Lalitpur, Kathmandu
Personal: NRs 100.00
Institutional: NRs 300.00
Outside Nepal: US $7.00


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