Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Transition to sustainable mountain agriculture: Agroforestry experiences in the mid-hills of Nepal
Niels Schwab, Leonie Kreipe, Eva Wieners, Theresia Müller, Nina Kiese, Udo Schickhoff

Last modified: 2017-08-14


A transformational strategy towards sustainable development has to promote further improvement of mountain farmers’ livelihoods while at the same time ensuring ecological sustainability and inducing social equity. In this context, a multiyear joint project with local farmers was launched in spring 2009 to introduce agroforestry practices in the village Kaule, Nuwakot District, mid-hills of Nepal. The farmers got involved in the entire process, beginning with the definition of goals, the envisioning of a desired future and formation of their NGO ‘Kaule Environment Nepal’. Practical components of the project included trainings and workshops on agroforestry, restructuring of terrace fields for conversion to agroforestry, and monthly meetings for open discussions among involved households. In order to improve water supply and management, a corresponding sub-project was initiated recently after evaluation of environmental, technical, social and political framework. The project was accompanied scientifically to analyse socio-economic and ecological initial conditions and impacts.
This paper presents scientific findings and summarises the experiences during the transition to sus-tainable land management of various sub-projects from an interdisciplinary perspective. Participation of the farmers in the entire process, and the integration of local knowledge, skills and resources was found to be of key importance for the project success.
We conclude that the transition from conventional terrace cultivation to agroforestry practices, accompanied by various specifically fitted measures to improve framework conditions, e.g. improvement of water management, has the potential to generate significant environmental and socio-economic benefits, thus contributing to increased livelihood security and to sustainable modernisation processes in mountain agriculture.

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