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Rural livelihood, crop land abandonment and community forestry: Empirical evidence from mid-hill regions of rural Nepal

Authors: Rajesh Bista*, UNC Chapel Hill
Topics: Rural Geography, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Cropland abandonment, multi-level model, depopulations, rural community, Nepal
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Cropland abandonment has been observed throughout the world at different time periods. Nepal is one of the countries facing an increasing trend of cropland abandonment in recent years. Though few researches have analyzed cropland abandonment in relation to migration and changing population dynamics, no solid empirical researches have been carried out to understand the multiple factors contributing to cropland abandonment and its possible consequences in the Nepalese context. Despite increasing food insecurity and increasing rate of agriculture product imports, no significant policy interventions have been carried out to address the cropland abandonment in Nepal. Using the extensive HH survey from two geographic locations covering 410 HH, we model biophysical and socio-economic factors determining cropland abandonment in mid-hill regions of Nepal. The study recorded GPS coordinates of individual land parcels; and derived biophysical parameters, distance to the nearest forest edge, distance to HH from parcel; and used multiple socio-economic factors at HH level. Plot level analysis showed that around 1/4th of the agriculture land is abandoned due to multiple factors. Using multi-level model, the study found that land abandonment is more likely to occur on land parcels that are far from the house, close to the forest, parcels with steep slopes, parcels with high intensity of crop-raiding incidence and among the households with more agricultural land and the higher number of migrants. The study also analyzed the cost and production of agriculture products and the role of community forestry in agriculture production and cropland abandonment.

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