Land Use changes in Two Subwatersheds in Chitwan and Tanahun Districts, West Nepal

  • M. K. Balla Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, P.O. Box 43, Pokhara
  • K. D. Awasthi Institute of Forestry, Tribhuvan University, P.O. Box 43, Pokhara
  • P. K. Shrestha Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD) Mahendrapul, PO. Box 324, Pokhara
  • D. P. Sherchan Local Initiatives for Biodiversity Research and Development (LI-BIRD) Mahendrapul, PO. Box 324, Pokhara

Abstract

A GIS - based appraisal was canied out to establish information database and to assess land degradation and dynamics of land use changes in two subwatersheds namely Kali Khola and Andheri Khahare subwatershed of Chitwan and Tanahu districts respectively with the help of aerial photographs taken in 1978 and 1994, land utilization map and the base maps of 1986. In the former watershed, agriculture and forest occupied 366.45 ha and 436.96 ha in 1999 whereas it was 194.90 ha and 537.36 ha in 1978 respectively. The shifting cultivation was practiced in 66.84 ha. A significant increase (88.02%) in area under agriculture is noted over a period of 22 years between 1978 to1999. The increase in area came from forest, shrub land and shifting cultivation. About 40% of the area under shifting cultivation has been converted into permanent agriculture land. In the later subwatershed, areas under agriculture and forest were 257.61 ha and 320.92 ha respectively whereas the same were 243.94 ha and 477.63 ha in 1978. Area under shifting cultivation has increased from 104.73 ha to 238.24 ha. Overall, 32.81% of forestland has been converted into shifting cultivation and agriculture.