RASUWA, Sep 1: The area of farmland is declining in the Chilime watershed area in Rasuwa district.
Though the main listed occupation of the people here is agriculture and livestock farming, the practice of farming is decreasing rapidly.
Some of the major reasons for decrease in the area of farmland are foreign employment, challenges to production, spread of pest, and lack of water for irrigation.
The locals have also shifted to other means of livelihood because of very little income from farming. There has been a decline of 37 percent in the area of agricultural land over the past 20 years.
Students of the Central Department of Environmental Science of Tribhuvan University, with support from the Mountain Institute, have published a research report on agricultural land in the district keeping 1995, 2005 and 2015 as base years for the changing scenario.
According to the study, agriculture was done in the area of 1,690 hectares in 1995, whereas in 2015, the area decreased to 636 hectares.
The study recommended using compost and constructing gabion walls to protect land from landslides.
The study showed that bushes have developed in areas where there used to be farms and glaciers, according to Ichyaa Thapa, program officer of the Mountain Institute.
In 1995, the bush area was 610 hectares, whereas in 2005, it spread out to 1,178 hectares.
The forest area was 5,767 hectares in 1995. In 2005, the area increased to 7,751 hectares and in 2015, the area was 7,651 hectares.
The area of glaciers has also decreased in the past 20 years. In 1995, glaciers were in the area of 1,792 hectares whereas in 2015, the glaciers were limited to 1,464 hectares.
Likewise, grazing has also been increasing in the area. There are nine kharka (pastureland) in the Chilime watershed area, namely Yukre, Khupru Bhanjyang, Pangsiru, Yagra, Barlu Hill, Jaisur, Somdang, Gothang, and Sanjen.
Meanwhile, the area of pastureland that was spread over 2,837 hectares in 1995 increased to 4,757 hectares in 2005, and 4,767 hectares in 2015.