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


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.


Forest monitoring property rights research approach Nepal 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agrawal A. and Ostrom E. 2001. Collective action, property rights, and decentralization in resource use in India and Nepal. Politics & Society 29(4): 485–514.Google Scholar
  2. Gautam A. P. 2002. Forest land use dynamics and community-based institutions in a mountain watershed in Nepal: Implications for forest governance and management. Ph.D. dissertation, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand.Google Scholar
  3. Gautam A. P., Shivakoti G. P. and Webb E. L. 2004. A review of forest policies, institutions, and changes in the resource condition in Nepal. International Forestry Review 6(2): 136–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gautam A. P., Webb E. L. and Eiumnoh A. 2002. GIS assessment of land use-land cover changes associated with community forestry implementation in the Middle Hills of Nepal. Mountain Research and Development 22(1): 63–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) 1993. Kabhrepalanchok District: Assessment of Current Conditions (Vol. II Part IA). ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal.Google Scholar
  6. Jackson W. J., Tamrakar R. M., Hunt S. and Shepherd K. R., 1998. Land-use changes in two Middle Hill districts of Nepal. Mountain Research and Development 18(3): 193–212.Google Scholar
  7. Schweik C. M., Nagendra H. and Sinha D. R. 2003. Using satellite imagery to locate innovative forest management practices in Nepal. Ambio 32(4): 312–319.Google Scholar
  8. Shrestha D. P. and Zinck, J. A. 2001. Land use classification in mountainous areas: integration of image processing, digital elevation data and field knowledge (application to Nepal). International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 3(1): 78–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Tekle K. and Hedlund L. 2000. Land cover changes between 1958 and 1986 in Kalu District, Southern Wello, Ethiopia. Mountain Research and Development 20(1): 42–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Virgo K. J. and Subba K. J. 1994. Land-use change between 1978 and 1990 in Dhankuta District, Koshi Hills, Eastern Nepal. Mountain Research and Development 14: 159–170.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations