Use of multipurpose trees in hill farming systems in Western Nepal
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A large number of multipurpose trees and shrubs are deliberately retained or incorporated on farms in the subsistence farming systems on the steep slopes in parts of Nepal. Woody perennials are maintained in contour strips across the slopes and around the fields. The contribution of these trees is the production of foder and firewood and their protective function in reducing the erosion hazards and thereby making crop production possible in those steep slopes where profitable cropping would otherwise be extremely difficult. Based on a case study in two villages of the Western Development Region, this paper presents some data on basic farm management aspects, production of crops and other components, etc. of the system. The performance of the system is assessed and its merits and weakness highlighted.
Although the hill farming system extends over quite a large area and accounts for a large number of Nepal's population, it has not received any research attention nor benefitted by any scientific innovations. Improvement possibilities in terms of component technologies as well as farming systems including the incorporation of the several locally available medicinal plants are indicated.
Key wordsNepal agroforestry multipurpose trees hill farming erosion control medicinal plants
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