Internal migration and land use and land cover changes in the middle mountains of Nepal

K. C. Bhawana, Tiejun Wang, Popular Gentle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The movement of rural households from remote uplands to valley floors and to semiurban and urban areas (internal migration) is a common phenomenon in the middle mountain districts of Nepal. Understanding the causes and effects of internal migration is critical to the development and implementation of policies that promote land use planning and sustainable resource management. Using geospatial information technologies and social research methods, we investigated the causes and effects of internal migration on land use and land cover patterns in a western mountain district of Nepal between 1998 and 2013. The results show a decreasing number of households at high elevations (above 1400 m), where an increase in forest cover has been observed with a consequent decrease in agricultural land and shrub-or grassland. At lower elevations (below 1400 m), forest cover has remained constant over the last 25 years, and the agricultural land area has increased but has become geometrically complex to meet the diverse needs and living requirements of the growing population. Our findings indicate that internal migration plays an important role in shaping land use and land cover change in the middle mountains of Nepal and largely determines the resource management, utilization, and distribution patterns within a small geographic unit. Therefore, land use planning must take an integrated and interdisciplinary approach rather than considering social, environmental, and demographic information in isolation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-455
Number of pages10
JournalMountain Research and Development
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

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