Rehabilitating land degraded by shifting cultivation | WWF

Rehabilitating land degraded by shifting cultivation

Posted on 30 November 2012
Broom grass plantation
Broom grass plantation
© Keshav Khanal / WWF Nepal
Shifting cultivation is widely practiced in Asia including Nepal. It is an agricultural land use system where land is cleared of forest and cultivated until its fertility diminishes, after which it is abandoned and the farmer moves on to clear a new area. This kind of land use system promotes deforestation and forest degradation, thus contributing to carbon emission and biodiversity loss. Shifting cultivation has been practiced for a long time by several indigenous groups including Chepang, Magar, Sherpa, Rai, Limbu, Tamang and Gurung in over 20 districts of Nepal (Regmi et al., 2005). In Tanahun district alone there are twelve VDCs where it occurs including Devghat and Chhimkeshwari VDCs.

The Hariyo Ban Program with the support of the District Forest Office Tanahu and seventeen leasehold Forest Users Groups (LFUGs) started a rehabilitation program by cultivating Amriso, popularly known as broom grass. The LFUGs contributed by voluntarily planting around 375,350 Amriso plants in approximately 37.5 ha of steep slopes in Amdanda, Gaighat and Sinchangghdi of Devghat VDC and in the Baralung area of Chhimkeshwari VDC. This area serves as a forest corridor to enhance the ecological connectivity of the Chitwan Annapurna Landscape (CHAL), so this restoration is very critical.

Amriso is a popular non-timber forest product (NTFP) in Nepal. The flowers can be used to make sweeping brooms, the leaves provide good fodder and the stems provide fuel. It has mat-like roots that bind the soil firmly, preventing soil erosion. When planted with tree species, Amriso stabilizes slopes preventing landslides. It also helps to reduce the growth of invasive plant species like Lantana camara.

Once planted, Amriso can be used in the first year of growth and lasts for many years. Planting Amriso is an efficient method of rehabilitating degraded land and an effective way of enhancing the livelihoods of poor and marginalized communities dependent on forest and shifting agriculture.

For further information:
Pallavi Dhakal
Communications Officer
Hariyo Ban Program, WWF Nepal

Disclaimer: The Hariyo Ban Program is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this website are the responsibility of WWF and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. 
Broom grass plantation
Broom grass plantation
© Keshav Khanal / WWF Nepal Enlarge
Local community people helping plant broom grass
Local community people helping plant broom grass
© WWF nepal Enlarge