Academic journal article Contributions to Nepalese Studies

Land Use Dynamics and Environmental Threats in Mid Western Development Region, Nepal

Academic journal article Contributions to Nepalese Studies

Land Use Dynamics and Environmental Threats in Mid Western Development Region, Nepal

Article excerpt

Introduction

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

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

It is evident that landform and land use study can establish an intimate relation among the landscape components. Moreover, the productivity of land resources could also increase by addressing appropriate land use strategy with a view to remove poverty and economic hardship of the rural people. Pointing out the land resources problems in Nepal, Petschel-Held (1999) noted that the converging and diverging coping strategies by small holders are the main causative factors for land degradation. Wolman's study (1993) also corroborated the observation. …

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