Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 743–756 | Cite as

Assessing suitability of apple cultivation under climate change in mountainous regions of western Nepal

  • Sujata Manandhar
  • Vishnu Prasad Pandey
  • Futaba Kazama
Original Article


Mustang, a mountainous region in the Kali Gandaki River Basin in western Nepal, has been increasingly experiencing climatic changes (e.g., higher temperatures). Rising temperatures lead to ecological shifts, which, in turn, can lead to the expansion of the lower limit for the cultivation of apple trees in this area. Apple cultivation can provide opportunities for adaptations under climate change through vulnerability reduction, income source diversification, livelihood improvement, and capacity building for farmers. As there is a lack of a strong basis to justify the expansion of apple cultivation in Mustang, this study examines the biophysical and socioeconomic suitability of apple cultivation in the area. Necessary data and information were collected from both primary and secondary sources. Findings of biophysical suitability using variable and equal weights to the indicators showed that 5.2 and 4.1 % of the areas are highly suitable for apple cultivation, respectively. However, not all potential farming areas are currently in use. Thus, there is the possibility to expand apple cultivation into unplanted areas and to integrate apple crops with other crops on cultivated lands. Increasing temperature may increase the suitable areas for the cultivation of apples in the coming years. High, benefit–cost ratio for land use confirmed the economic suitability of apple farming when compared to other land uses. The social suitability assessment showed no social discords, conflicts, or disagreements with apple cultivation, which is a positive indicator for the expansion of apple cultivation in western Nepal.


Apple Climate change Kali Gandaki River Basin Mountain Mustang Nepal 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Japanese Government (Monbukagakusyo: MEXT) and the Global COE Program at the University of Yamanashi for supporting this study. We are also thankful to Bhim Thakali from DADO-Mustang and Rekha Shreesh for their immense support.


  1. Bartlett R, Bharati L, Pant D, Hosterman H, McCornick P (2010) Climate change impacts and adaptation in Nepal. International Water Management Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka (IWMI Working Paper 139)Google Scholar
  2. Branca G, McCarthy N, Lipper L, Jolejole MC (2011) Climate-smart agriculture: a synthesis of empirical evidence of food security and mitigation benefits from improved cropland management. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  3. Bydekerke L, Ranst EV, Vanmechelen L, Groenemans R (1998) Land suitability assessment for cherimoya in southern Ecuador using expert knowledge and GIS. Agric Ecosyst Environ 69:89–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chadha KL (2009) Handbook of horticulture. Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), New Delhi, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  5. Chattopadhyay TK (2009) A textbook on pomology (temperate fruits), vol IV. Kalyani Publishers, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  6. Chen Y, Yu J, Khan S (2010) Spatial sensitivity analysis of multi-criteria weights in GIS-based land suitability evaluation. Environ Model Softw 25:1582–1591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) (2010) Daily time series of precipitation, at various stations in western Nepal (in text format). Kathmandu, NepalGoogle Scholar
  8. Devkota LN (1999) Deciduous fruit production in Nepal. In: Papademetriou MK, Herath EM (eds) Deciduous fruit production in Asia and the Pacific. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  9. Eriksson M, Jianchu X, Shrestha AB, Vaidya RA, Nepal S, Sandstrom K (2009) Changing Himalayas, impact of climate change on water resources and livelihoods in the greater Himalayas. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  10. FAO (1976) A framework for land evaluation. FAO Soils Bull 32. Retrieved on 5 June 2011. Available online at:
  11. FAO (2010) Climate-smart agriculture, policies, practices and financing for food security, adaptation and mitigation. FAO, RomeGoogle Scholar
  12. Finnigan BF, Colt WM, Fallahi E (2000) Growing apples for local markets in cold climates. University of Idaho, Cooperative Extension System, IdahoGoogle Scholar
  13. Fruit Development Directorate (FDD) (2011) Annual progress report 2009/2010—horticulture development program. Fruit Development Directorate, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  14. Garrity D, Okono A, Grayson M, Parrott S (eds) (2006) World agroforestry into the future. World Agroforesty Centre, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  15. Gautam A, Shivakoti GP (2001) Evolution and impacts of community based forest management in the hills of Nepal. Asian Institute of Technology, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  16. Holmelin N, Aase TH (2013) Flexibility of scope, type and temporality in Mustang, Nepal. Opportunities for adaptation in a farming system facing climatic and market uncertainty. Sustainability 5(4):1387–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. ICIMOD (2008) Food security in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  18. ICIMOD (2012) Mountain GeoPortal downloads—GIS datasets of Nepal 1:250,000. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  19. IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. In: Parry ML, Canziani OF, Palutikof JP, van der Linden PJ, Hanson CE (eds) Contribution of working group II to the fourth assessment report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 976Google Scholar
  20. Jarvis A, Reuter HI, Nelson A, Guevara E (2008) Hole-filled seamless SRTM data V4, International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). Retrieved on 2 June 2011. Available online at
  21. Kalame FB, Aidoo R, Nkem J, Ajayie OC, Kanninen M, Luukkanen O, Idinoba M (2011) Modified taungya system in Ghana: a win-win practice for forestry and adaptation to climate change? Environ Sci Policy 14:519–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kamusoko C, Aniya M, Adi B, Manjoro M (2009) Rural sustainability under threat in Zimbabwe—simulation of future land use/cover changes in the Bindura district based on the Markov-cellular automata model. Appl Geogr 29:435–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kim SO, Chung UR, Kim SH, Choi IM, Yun JI (2009) The suitable region and site for ‘Fuji’ apple under the projected climate in South Korea. Korean J Agric Forest Meteorol 11(4):162–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ko WW (1990) Apple cultivation in the highlands of Malaysia. Acta Hort (ISHS) 279:97–108. Retrieved on 8 January 2012. Available online at:
  25. Lu J, Yufang S, Manandhar S, Ahmad A (2012) Tree crops as an adaptation to climate variability: cases in China, Nepal and Pakistan. In: Pradhan NS, Khadgi VR, Schipper L, Kaur N, Geoghegan T (eds) Role of policy and institutions in local adaptation to cimate change—case studies on responses to too much and too little water in the Hindu Kush Himalayas. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  26. Manandhar S, Schmidt-Vogt D, Perret SR, Kazama F (2011) Adapting cropping systems to climate change in Nepal: a cross regional study of farmers’ perception and practices. Reg Environ Chang 11(2):335–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Manandhar S, Pandey VP, Kazama F (2012) Hydro-climatic trends and peoples’ perceptions: a case of Kali Gandaki River Basin (KGRB), Nepal. Clim Res. doi: 10.3354/cr01108
  28. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives (MOAC) (2010) Statistical information on Nepalese agriculture 2009/2010. Agri-Business Promotion and Statistics Division, Government of NepalGoogle Scholar
  29. National Land Use Project (NLUP) (2012) GIS maps of Mustang district. Ministry of Land Reform and Management, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  30. Nepal Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC) (2008) Sustainable development plan of Mustang. NTNC/GoN/UNEP, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  31. Parish R, Funnell DC (1999) Climate change in mountain regions: some possible consequences in the Moroccan High Atlas. Glob Environ Chang 9:45–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Paudel GS, Thapa GB (2004) Impact of social, institutional and ecological factors on land management practices in mountain watersheds of Nepal. Appl Geogr 24:35–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Roots of Peace (2008) Apple production, perennial crop support series Jalalabad, Afghanistan. Roots of Peace, AfghanistanGoogle Scholar
  34. Saaty TL (2008) Decision making with the analytic hierarchy process. Int J Serv Sci 1(1):83–98Google Scholar
  35. Sharma E, Chettri N, Tse-ring K, Shrestha AB, Jing F, Mool P, Eriksson M (2009) Climate change impacts and vulnerability in the Eastern Himalayas. ICIMOD, KathmanduGoogle Scholar
  36. Shrestha AB, Wake CP, Mayewski PA, Dibb JE (1999) Maximum temperature trends in the Himalaya and its vicinity: an analysis based on temperature records from Nepal for the period 1971–94. J Clim 12:2775–2786CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Streck C, Burns D, Guimaraes L (2012) Incentives and benefits for climate change mitigation for smallholder farmers CCAFS Report no. 7. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  38. Sugiura T, Yokozawa M (2004) Impact of global warming on environments for apple and Satsuma mandarin production estimated from changes of the annual mean temperature. J Jpn Soc Hortic Sci 73(1):72–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Vedwan N, Rhoades RE (2001) Climate change in the Western Himalayas of India: a study of local perception and response. Clim Res 19:109–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Walke N, Reddy GPO, Maji AK, Thayalan S (2011) GIS-based multicriteria overlay analysis in soil-suitability evaluation for cotton (Gossypium spp.): a case study in the black soil region of Central India. Comput Geosci. doi: 10.1016/j.cageo.2011.08.020
  41. World Resources Institute (WRI) in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Environment Programme, and World Bank (2011) World resources 2010–2011: decision making in a changing climate—adaptation challenges and choices. WRI, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  42. Xu J, Grumbine RE, Shrestha A, Eriksson M, Yang X, Wang Y, Wilkes A (2009) The melting Himalayas: cascading effects of climate change on water, biodiversity, and livelihoods. Conserv Biol 23(3):520–530CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sujata Manandhar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Vishnu Prasad Pandey
    • 3
  • Futaba Kazama
    • 1
  1. 1.International Research Center for River Basin Environment (ICRE)University of YamanashiKofuJapan
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, Graduate School of EngineeringTohoku UniversitySendaiJapan
  3. 3.Asian Institute of Technology and Management (AITM)LalitpurNepal

Personalised recommendations