Agricultural Land Use Intensity and Determinants in Different Agroecological Regions in Central Nepal Himalaya

  • Shanta Paudel Khatiwada
  • Jifei Zhang
  • Yi Su
  • Bikash Paudel
  • Wei Deng
Part of the Springer Geography book series (SPRINGERGEOGR)


Intensification of agricultural land use is the only viable option to achieve food security in countries possessing very limited arable lands such as Nepal. Since sustainable intensification has been policy targets in recent years, understanding agricultural land use intensity and its determinants would provide important support to policy formation toward sustainable agricultural development. However, the status and determinants of agricultural land use intensity in Nepal have been seldom investigated. Based on questionnaire surveys of 453 households, 12 key informant surveys and three focus group discussions, this study assesses cropping frequency, as an indicator of agricultural land use intensity (ALUI), in three agroecological regions in central Nepal. The results show that average cropping frequency in Khet land is 2.9, 2.6 and 1.6 in low-land Terai, mid-hill and high-hill area, respectively, while in Bari land is 2.4, 2.3 and 2.1, respectively. In addition, Terai region has significantly higher ALUI in both Khet and Bari lands than mid- and high-hill areas. Among a total of 18 investigated impacting factors, age and education of household heads, land quality and use of improved seed positively influence ALUI in Khet land, while distances from home to land and vehicle passable roads have negative effects. For the Bari lands, land quality, irrigation facility, tractor availability and improved seeds are positively associated with ALUI, but education of household heads, distances from home to land, home to market center and home to vehicle passable road are negatively influencing factors. This study provides an empirical evidence that agricultural modernization and access to infrastructural facilities are the major pathways to promote agriculture intensification in mid and high hills. Intensification of agricultural land use might be a preferable option to reduce poverty and food shortage in Nepal; however, there is a need of effective land management and agricultural policy, along with incentive programs to attract young generations engage in agriculture. More than that, education, training and awareness programs about the importance of maintaining soil fertility under intensified farming are greatly needed in order to achieve a sustainable agricultural in Nepal.


Agricultural land use intensity Cropping frequency Agroecology Analysis of covariance Central Nepal 



We would like to acknowledge the support from the NSFC-ICIMOD Cooperation Project (No. 41661144038-02), the 2013 Aid project on Science and Technology for Developing Countries, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) and CAS-TWAS President Fellowship Program. We appreciate the valuable comments and suggestions of the editors to finalize this paper. In addition, farmers and local assistants in Bachhauli, Ghyalchok and Ghanpokhara VDCs are thanked for their hospitality and supports to complete survey. Similarly, we thank students of Institute of Agriculture, Tribhuvan University, Rampur, Nepal, who involved in household questionnaire survey.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shanta Paudel Khatiwada
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jifei Zhang
    • 1
  • Yi Su
    • 1
  • Bikash Paudel
    • 3
  • Wei Deng
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Center for Mountain Development, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD)PokharaNepal

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