Linking Upstream and Downstream Landscape Communities for Integrated Land Resource Management Project

NDRC
Published: 13 November 2017
Last edited: 13 November 2017
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Summary

The solution was carried out to minimize a set of environmental challenges like floods, wildfires, landslides, biodiversity loss and land degradation in the Jagdishpur wetland (a Ramsar site) and its upstream area. These threats are linked to harmful anthropogenic activities such as slash and burn practices and shifting cultivation in the Banganga River Basin. The project reached 14,168 indigenous households highly dependent on forest resources, improved their livelihoods and increased food security up to 9-12 months. Project objectives were achieved through awareness campaigns, agro-forestry practices, sloping area land technology, bioengineering techniques, a revamp in irrigation and water recharge systems, and installations of cooking stoves, solar home systems, as well as biogas plants. For co-funding and sustainability, relevant government and non-government stakeholders were involved from the start.

Classifications

Region
Southeast Asia
Scale of implementation
Local
Ecosystem
Agro-ecosystem
Agroforestry
Theme
Access and benefit sharing
Adaptation
Agriculture
Disaster risk reduction
Erosion prevention
Fire management
Flood management
Food security
Forest Management
Genetic diversity
Health and human wellbeing
Indigenous people
Land management
Mitigation
Outreach & communications
Restoration
Sustainable financing
Traditional knowledge
Water provision and management
Watershed management
Aichi targets
Target 1: Awareness of biodiversity increased
Target 2: Biodiversity values integrated
Target 4: Sustainable production and consumption
Target 5: Habitat loss halved or reduced
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry
Target 8: Pollution reduced
Target 10: Ecosystems vulnerable to climate change
Target 13: Safeguarding genetic diversity
Target 14: Ecosystem services
Target 15: Ecosystem restoration and resilience
Target 16: Access to and sharing benefits from genetic resources
Target 19: Sharing information and knowledge
Target 20: Mobilizing resources from all sources

Location

Sitganga Municipality, Arghakhanchi district, Nepal | Banganaga Municipality, Kapilbastu district, Nepal

Challenges

Floods in the Banganga River cause the loss of 8,000 ha of land annually (VCA reports-2016). In the past 53 years, 16 major landslides in the upstream area destroyed 6,112 ha of land. Erratic rainfall patterns and longer drought reduced the average crop production by 60% (DADO, 2016). About 3-5 forest fires are reported every year (DFO, 2015), amounting to tremendous biodiversity losses. Located in the downstream area of the Banganga River Basin, the Jagadishpur wetland has been highly impacted by annual flooding and siltation. Its bed is increasing by 0.02m/ year (DSCO Kapilvastu, 2015). This wetland is one of the 27 'important bird areas' of Nepal and harbors 118 species, of which 4 are on the verge of extinction.

Beneficiaries

The target communities are comprised of 14,168 households with a total population of 72,751, of which 47.6% are male and 52.4% female. The area is dominated by indigenous Magars, Tharu and Madhesis groups that are highly dependent on forest resources

How do the building blocks interact?

We connect 'sustainable livelihoods' with 'alliance development'.

 

Components of 'sustainable livelihoods' include (i) productivity enhancement, (ii) linkage with value chains, (iii) entrepreneurship and employment. 'Alliance and partnership development' supports 'sustainable livelihood' through resource leverage, market linkage, policy formulation/improvement and mainstreaming. 'Sustainable livelihoods' encourage coordination and collaboration among agencies and foster 'alliance and partnership development'. For the sustainability of the project, relevant government and non-government stakeholders were involved as lead executors from the start. Good practices have been mainstreamed in their plans and programs, hence allocation of a part from their fiscal budget is ensured for economic sustainability. Local communities contributed 300% more than the grant amount for small scale construction activities like bio-engineering. The project worked to link farmers directly with market networks so that they continue to receive fair prices for their produce. After continuous advocacy and campaigning, the poor and marginalized farmers are now getting inputs from government and non-government entities in subsidized rates.

Impacts

For ecologically sound and profitable land-use, the project eliminated the traditional unsustainable slash-and-burn farming practices through awareness campaigns in local languages. Agro-forestry (broom grass, lemon grass, etc), Sloping Area Land Technology (SALT), climate resilient cash crops (banana, turmeric etc), climate adaptive leguminous cover crops and zero tillage farming systems were introduced as better alternatives through farmers groups. These techniques have not only helped to restore soil biodiversity and control erosion but also increased poor families’ income. The cultivation of cash crops has ensured higher food security. In the lead role of user groups, conservation ponds and wells were constructed for irrigation as well as soil moisture maintenance and water source recharge. Bioengineering techniques were applied to reduce the impact of floods in the Banganga River and save cultivable land. Installations of Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS), solar home systems, and biogas plants have proved effective in minimizing the use of woods thus conserving forest biodiversity. Awareness raising campaigns were organized to control human-induced forest fire and biodiversity loss. Advanced animal husbandry through stall feeding, improved sheds, and use of fast growing fodder and grass have further helped in protecting local biodiversity and increasing livelihood resilience.

Story

NDRC

"Until last year, we could not imagine earning money from barren land as there was no irrigation facility here. We’d been living in the area for generations without realizing that the command area of our irrigation system could be increased. The overhaul of the irrigation system has brought about a number of positive changes. First, the number of water management-related disputes related to water theft has declined. The price of land has increased because irrigation facilities are better. The time we need to clean our canals each year has decreased drastically. We have started to cultivate climate-resilient crops like ginger, turmeric, and taro as well as seasonal vegetables like cucumber and pumpkins, all of which fetch a good price in local markets. We are happy because we are now making a good income using previously barren land. I think bio-engineering is a huge success. It has not only safeguarded our farmland from destructive floods but also brought social harmony. To complete the bio-engineering project, we provided seven days of labor. We have prepared a plan of action to conserve the bio-engineering sites that includes educating shepherds, introducing grazing-control measures, and CFUG-regulated monitoring on a rotational basis. It would be nice to replicate this technology in other villages along the riverbank. Before the bioengineering work, the river was a scourge for us. The Banganga River has destroyed many lives, houses, cattle, crops, and hectares of land right in front of our eyes. Over the last 60 years, it has eroded a quarter of the land of Pawora. I am glad that the irrigation water users’ committees have appointed “chaukidar” (watchman) for water management. Not having to go to the field at night to check if irrigation water is flowing is a huge relief for women. Nighttime is a risky time for women, especially with wild animals roaming around.  A reliable supply of water for irrigation can ensure a reliable income. My husband used to go to Punjab for work but since the irrigation has been improved, my husband has stopped going to Punjab and is instead engaged in vegetable farming. We earned NPR 46,500 from the sale of garlic and NRS 68,250 from the sale of onions from the five ropani of land that we have planted. Local vendors from Kapilvastu now come to our village to buy vegetables from the field, so we don't have to share our profits with middlemen." – Kalpana Magar (female farmer)

Contributed by

Dhruba Raj Gautam National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre

Contributors

Dhruba Gautam, Ph.D.
National Disaster Risk Reduction Center Nepal (NDRC Nepal)