KRISHNA BAHADUR K. C., WERNER DOPPLER
University of Hohenheim, Department of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
Agriculture is the mainstay of Nepal's economy as it generates about 56% of the country's GDP and provides employment to 93% of the labour force. People, land and water are the major resources of Nepal. Varied topography and geographical locations reflects opportunities and constraints, illustrating the diversity and complexity of the farming system. Dominant farming system varies with physiographic regions. Farming system in the mountainous, is mixed subsistence and heavily dependent on forest resources. However, Nepal's forests are declining in both quantity and quality continuously over the years and the imbalance so produced is posing a threat to the sustainability of agriculture-based subsistence economy. Hence integrating forestry with agriculture had become utmost necessity, as sustainable development is to link the conservation of the natural resources with the perceived development needs of the people.
This poster presents a methodological concept of integrating socio-economic assessment with biophysical environment with a GIS. Biophysical indicators were assessed using RS/GIS technology. Socio-economic conditions of the people were assessed based on a survey with in-depth interviews with randomly sampled families. Then these data were linked to the GIS by using each family's respective geographical positioning, and their spatial distributions were observed by interpolation.
Current results show differences in the long-term development of land use in the past following different gradient in the area. Forest resource degradation, soil losses were found to be directly correlated with the altitude and slope of the land. Similar trend was observed with spatial differentiation of living standard parameters including farm family income, food availability, dependency on resources, etc. There was direct negative correlation in between the distance from the road, market and the altitude, and the socio-economic status-- e.g. family income, education level, crop production and selling. Hence it is concluded that integration of socio-economic data into the GIS system is an appropriate tool to formulate long-term problem solving strategies achieving both sustainable natural resource management and better livelihood simultaneously.
Keywords: Degradation, land use change, resource use, remote sensing, rural development, socio-economic situation, soil loss, watershed