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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Management options for a land use conflict area in Chitawan, Nepal Burton, Sandra Lee


A land use management study was conducted in an area of north eastern Chitawan in central Nepal. Changes in soil properties, forest and agricultural productivity, farm management and profitability were compared among ten land use categories. The research revealed that the most intensively managed agricultural land, under annual triple crop rotations had excellent productivity with little evidence of soil deterioration (pH, organic carbon, exchangeable bases). Several soil properties (pH, base saturation, available phosphorus, compaction) under such farming systems were found to be better than those under degraded forest. The degradation of the forests, as measured by wood biomass, regeneration and soil quality was found to be widespread. A 15 to 30 percent decline in timber, fuelwood and fodder was observed between the natural and degraded forest. This removal of forest products was accompanied by changes in soil properties such as exchangeable bases, pH, compaction and exchangeable and free aluminum. Alternative land uses were evaluated using a decision making method which considered crop preferences, productivity, gross margins, resource requirements, soil quality indicators and risk factors. Data from farm interviews and from the soil study were incorporated into this micro-computer based method. The data evaluation showed that soil conserving and productive land use options were not always feasible for the small farmer because they were more risky and required more resources of irrigated land, labour and operating capital. Interesting relationships were found between soil properties, productivity, land uses and fertility inputs. The flexibility of the methodology makes this technique an attractive tool for land use decision making at the farm and village level. The mapping units used for the national Land Resource Mapping Project (LRMP) formed the basis for this study and the approach developed can therefore be applied to other areas in Nepal.

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