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Title: Land Use Intensity Dynamic in the Andhikhola Watershed, Nepal
Authors: Chidi, Chhabi Lal
Keywords: Empirical Studies;Land use;Land Development
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Department of geography
Institute Name: Central Department of Geography
Level: Ph.D.
Abstract: Land use/land cover science has so far mainly focused on broad land cover conversions while the spatial patterns of the intensity systems remain highly unclear. Land use intensity refers to the function of energy use per unit area of land that can be measured on the basis of input and output of a land. Traditional approaches often only examine one or a few aspects of land use intensity disregarding the multidimensionality of the in tensification process in the complex land system. This situation hampers the development of a sound understanding of the mechanisms, determinants and constraints underlying changes in land use intensity. Thus, analysis and monitoring of land use intensity should follow an integrative conceptual framework of land use in tensification. Mountainous regions like Nepal have long practice of intensive subsistence farming in practice integrating all land use/land cover units, which requires integrative approach to fully understand. However, literatures concerning on integrated concept of understanding of this intensive subsistence farming in the hills of Nepal is still lacking. Thus, this study is concerned on 1) land use/land cover change, 2) land use intensity change, and 3) to identify major determining factors of landuse intensity change. This study consists of very valuable information to understand dynamics of land use intensity in the integrated agriculture system. Even in the incompatible spatial scale of various data sources, this study included maximum number of variable in order to identify major determining factors of land use intensity dynamics. This study is mainly based on secondary data source. However, primary information was used for update and verification of data in order to identify the ground reality. Various maps and other secondary information were collected from available sources. Land use/land cover data were derived from aerial photo and high resolution satellite image. Object based image analysis technique was used so as to derive land use/land cover data. Several raster and vector based processes were executed in GIS to derive explanatory variables. Quantified values of land use intensity makes possible to address the complex spatial relationship of land use intensity dynamics with its driving factors through multivariate geo-statistical analysis. Twenty four quantitative explanatory variables were selected to test the strength of defining the dynamics of land use intensity. Thus, the land use intensity change was response variable and 24 variables were explanatory variables. Finally, land use intensity method is very vi valuable concept to understand complex land use/land cover change and landscape ecological system. The following findings have been derived in order to fulfill the objectives of the study: This study was conducted in the northeast part of Andhikhola watershed area located in the middle Hill region of Nepal having altitude range from 800 m to 1600 m from average mean sea level, which is located in subtropical and warm temperate climatic regions. The annual rainfall is around 3500 mm in the study area, which is quite high than national average 1600 mm. Only 13% of land has less than 5° and more than 50% land is 5° to 30° slope. This area is more accessible than most of the other Hill regions of Nepal due to its connectivity with Siddhartha highway, which was constructed in 1960s. Siddhartha highway crosses the study area and connected by several branch roads to other parts of the study area. The district headquarter including other market centers provide services with several service centers located in urban areas and other rural areas. Traditional intensive subsistence farming practice is dominant economic activities with limited commercial agriculture practice at accessible areas. Recent outmigration of rural farmers from the hill, urbanization process towards low land and accessible area are general scenario of the study area. It has resulted increasing agriculture land abandonment in the hill slope area is responsible for increasing greenery and increasing built up area along with the Siddhartha highway. First, abandonment of agriculture land converts into shrubs and shrubs into forest are major land use/land cover changing pattern in the study area. Increasing built up area in lowland along with highway has developed slowly and gradually into urban area. Second, average land use intensity is decreasing in the study area. Most of the areas have decreasing land use intensity. Marginal and remote areas has higher rate of decreasing land use intensity than in lowland suitable areas for agriculture. Very limited urban areas along with the highway have increasing rate of land use intensity. Third, statistical analysis shows that the spatial distribution of land use intensity dynamics is highly controlled by physical, accessibility and natural resource variables. Incompatible spatial scale of socioeconomic data is the major cause of low strength of determining land use intensity dynamic. vii Implementing part of land use policies in Nepal has remained weak since many decades. Thus, traditional intensive subsistence farming system remained stagnant over a long period of time with very limited commercialization in the accessible areas. The income opportunities outside this area were the attracting attributes of rural farmer to move them from their original places not only resulted agriculture land abandonment, but also pressure release in forest, grass land and shrubs. These types of heavy land use/land cover change has multifaceted implications on food security issue due to shrinking agriculture land, loss of biodiversity due to the increasing invasive plant, inter species competition between human and wildlife, biomass intensity due to increasing vegetation and ground water recharge due to vegetation cover. These fields need for further investigation.
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