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Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 3, Issue 4, pp 325–333 | Cite as

Combining geomatics and conventional methods for monitoring forest conditions under different governance arrangements

  • Ambika P. Gautam
Article

Abstract

This study employed an innovative methodological framework that combines geomatics and conventional survey methods to monitor changes in forest conditions and examine their associations with local forest governance parameters in a mountain watershed covering 153.3 km2 in the middle mountains of Nepal. The study involved two spatial scales and analytical steps. First, geomatics techniques were used to map and detect changes in major land cover types in the watershed between 1976 and 2000 and to analyze relationships between forest cover changes and governance arrangements. This was followed by micro-level analysis of the relationships between the biological conditions of selected forests within the watershed and their governance arrangements, using conventional survey methods and analytical tools. The findings show that forest cover in the watershed increased by about 15 per cent during the period. The rate of increase in forest cover was highest in areas under a semi-government type of governance arrangement, while the community forests were generally better in terms of current biological conditions compared to the semi-government forests. This inconsistency between the findings from the two analyses does not allow us to draw any firm conclusions regarding the role of property rights in determining forest condition, but it indicates that the outcomes of local forest management initiatives may be more dependent on local institutional arrangements regulating forest use and maintenance of forest resources than on the type of property rights arrangements. The findings also provide evidence of the methodological suitability of the research approach adopted, which may be useful for addressing many other research questions related to forestry and natural resources management, particularly those involving multiple spatial scales.

Keywords

Forest monitoring property rights research approach Nepal 

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Copyright information

© Science Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ambika P. Gautam
    • 1
  1. 1.KathmanduNepal

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