Swidden cultivation among two Chepang communities in the Central Hill Districts of Nepal: local perceptions and factors influencing change
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Mukul, Sharif Ahmed1, Forfatter
Byg, Anja1, Vejleder
1Det Biovidenskabelige Fakultet, København, Danmark, diskurs:18              
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Ukontrollerede emneord: Swidden agriculture, Chepang, land-use change, environmental perception
 Abstract: Nepal, being situated in the Himalayas has been experiencing rapid land-use changes in the last years mainly due to changing governmental policy, local developments, growing concern about environmental issues and changes in local perceptions. For decades, swidden agriculture - locally known as bhasme or khoria kheti – has been a common land-use practice in the mountains of Nepal. Despite decades of policy disputes, ignorance and misunderstanding of that age-old system, swidden agriculture is still the mainstay of livelihoods for many rural farmers, particularly those who live in or on the periphery of forests. Until recently, policy makers and conservationists viewed this system as unfavorable for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem functioning, a view still dominating in some countries. Some development activist, on the other hand, considered the system from the standpoint of traditional human right and ethics.

The present study aimed to investigates the changes, local understanding and perceptions of swidden agriculture amongst swidden farmers (N = 51) in two central districts of Nepal, namely Dhading and Chitwan. Data were collected through focus group discussion, a questionnaire survey and field observations from Jogimara and Shaktikhar Village Development Committee focusing on the indigenous Chepang communities, to whom swidden agriculture is more than a way of subsistence. Additionally, interviews with professionals from relevant government and non-governmental organizations were conducted to get their stand points on that specific issue.

The study revealed that, although the land-use practice is changing rapidly in both of the study areas, and cash crop based sedentary agriculture is becoming the prominent land-use practice, the role of swidden agriculture in food security is still important to most of the farmers. The main reasons why farmers in the two areas practice swidden agricultural are, in an order of importance: lack of secure tenure; poverty and unemployment; cultural identity; absence of alternative land-use options and as their traditional right. On the other hand, swiddening is negatively affected by its labor intensiveness; lack of manpower available for work; negative government policy and attitudes; low economic returns and shrinking land-base for swiddening. There were however, differences in views within and among the study sites. Farmers¿ themselves regarded swiddening as having negative impacts on the local environment and biodiversity.

The findings of the study emphasized the role of more equitable land-use options, tenure security, access to government support and in allowing rural Chepang farmers to perform long-lasting, environment friendly land-use (here for example, sedentary agriculture in terraced land, agroforestry in lease-hold forestry land and community forestry) in the studied regions.
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 Type: Speciale
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Sprog: English - eng
 Datoer: 2011
 Sider: 68 pages
 Publiceringsinfo: København, Danmark : Skov & Landskab
 Indholdsfortegnelse: -
 Note: Agricultural Development, Agricultural Development
 Type: Speciale
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