Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 15, Issue 13, pp 4211–4238 | Cite as

Home gardens in western Nepal: opportunities and challenges for on-farm management of agrobiodiversity

  • Sharmila SunwarEmail author
  • Carl-Gustaf Thornström
  • Anil Subedi
  • Marie Bystrom


Home gardens are defined as a system of production of diverse crop plant species, which can be adjacent to household or slightly further away and is easily accessible. Species composition and management systems of Nepalese home gardens are poorly known. The study was conducted to develop an inventory on composition of crop species and varietal diversity to characterise the home gardens of Rupandehi and Gulmi of western Nepal, and to observe the species change over the time for last 10–15 years. Semi-structured Interviews, Direct Observation and Focus Group Discussions were employed to collect primary data. Shannon–Weaver index (SWI) was used to determine the species richness. Principal Component Analysis (PCA) was employed to characterise the home gardens. Mid-hill SWI (H′ = 4.41) revealed the higher species diversity (131 species) as compared to terai (123 species). This species richness was significantly higher (p = 0.001) in the mid-hill area. The vegetable species constitute the major component followed by fruits and fodder species that also contributed to the species diversity. The size of home gardens and species richness was positively correlated (r s = 0.29, p = 0.001). Twenty crop species have been lost during the last 10–15 years and eleven species were threatened in the studied home gardens. Inaccessibility of local seed crops and deforestation were the major causes reported accounting for this trend. Self-saved seed was the major source of planting material in home gardens. There is a need to study the seed supply system for these home gardens. Therefore, a challenge is to make these home gardens self-supporting through creating a mechanism on strengthening local seed supply systems for long term sustainability of home garden in agrobiodiversity management.


Focus Group Discussion Home garden Mid-hill Species diversity Terai 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharmila Sunwar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Carl-Gustaf Thornström
    • 1
  • Anil Subedi
    • 2
  • Marie Bystrom
    • 3
  1. 1.Swedish Biodiversity CentreUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Intermediate Technology Development GroupNepal
  3. 3.Swedish International Biodiversity Programme (SwedBio)Swedish Biodiversity Centre (CBM)UppsalaSweden

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