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Rehabilitation of degraded communal grazing land [Nepal]

Kshetigrasta samudayik charan bhumi ko punaruththan (Nepali)

technologies_1492 - Nepal

Completeness: 76%

1. General information

1.2 Contact details of resource persons and institutions involved in the assessment and documentation of the Technology

Key resource person(s)

SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
SLM specialist:
Name of project which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
People and Resource Dynamics Project, Nepal (PARDYP)
Name of the institution(s) which facilitated the documentation/ evaluation of the Technology (if relevant)
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) - Nepal

1.3 Conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT

When were the data compiled (in the field)?


The compiler and key resource person(s) accept the conditions regarding the use of data documented through WOCAT:


2. Description of the SLM Technology

2.1 Short description of the Technology

Definition of the Technology:

Rehabilitation measures, including eyebrow pits and live fencing, were implemented on degraded communal grazing land to
reestablish a protective vegetative cover

2.2 Detailed description of the Technology


An area of heavily degraded grazing land was rehabilitated by establishing eyebrow pits to control and harvest runoff, planting trees and grasses, and fencing the site to control grazing. The main purpose was to re-establish vegetative cover on the almost bare, overgrazed site. The site is community land of the 40 households (240 people) of Dhotra village in the Jhikhu Khola watershed. These people are very dependent on this area due to the lack of alternative grazing sites. The rehabilitation site is surrounded by irrigated cropland downstream, grazing land, and degraded sal (Shorea robusta) dominated forest. Rainfed forward-sloping terraces immediately adjoin the site.
About 130 eyebrow pits were dug, together with catch drainage trenches. Several species of grass and fodder were planted along the ridges of the eyebrows and drainage trenches. Contour hedgerows were established between the eyebrow pits and trenches, and trees were planted just below the pits. The maintenance is quite easy: the vegetation needs to be cut back from time to time and the pits cleaned before the pre-monsoon period. The remaining bare areas should be revisited each year and replanted.
The area has a distinct dry season from November to May and a wet monsoon period from June to October. Annual rainfall is around 1200 mm. The site has red soils that are highly weathered and, if not properly managed, are very susceptible to erosion.

2.3 Photos of the Technology

2.5 Country/ region/ locations where the Technology has been applied and which are covered by this assessment



Region/ State/ Province:

Kavre Palanchok/ Dhotra village, Jhikhu Khola watershed

2.6 Date of implementation

If precise year is not known, indicate approximate date:
  • less than 10 years ago (recently)

2.7 Introduction of the Technology

Specify how the Technology was introduced:
  • through projects/ external interventions
Comments (type of project, etc.):

The hedgerow technology came from the Philliphines, modified from the SALT (Sloping agriculture land technology) technology. The eye brow pit technology was implemented by the Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management in Nepal and was adapted from them. Villagers approached the People and Resource Dynamics Project (PARDYP) for advice. PARDYP assisted, based on experiences made before with rehabilitation experiments under similar conditions. Mainly developed according to theoretical and site specific knowledge.

3. Classification of the SLM Technology

3.1 Main purpose(s) of the Technology

  • reduce, prevent, restore land degradation

3.2 Current land use type(s) where the Technology is applied

Grazing land

Grazing land

Extensive grazing land:
  • Ranching

Major land use problems (compiler’s opinion): The major land use problem is the small per capita landholding size for cropping. These holdings are mostly rainfed, have a low soil fertility status and acidity problems, and are susceptible to erosion. Intense rainfall at the beginning of the rainy season causes considerable soil loss (rill and gully erosion).

Major land use problems (land users’ perception): Overgrazing leading to lack of vegetation.

Ranching: Yes

Future (final) land use (after implementation of SLM Technology): Forests / woodlands: Fp: Plantations, afforestations

If land use has changed due to the implementation of the Technology, indicate land use before implementation of the Technology:

Grazing land: Ge: Extensive grazing land

3.3 Further information about land use

Water supply for the land on which the Technology is applied:
  • rainfed
Number of growing seasons per year:
  • 3

Longest growing period in days: 150; Longest growing period from month to month: Jun - Oct; Second longest growing period in days: 120; Second longest growing period from month to month: Nov - Feb

3.4 SLM group to which the Technology belongs

  • improved ground/ vegetation cover
  • water diversion and drainage

3.5 Spread of the Technology

Specify the spread of the Technology:
  • evenly spread over an area
If the Technology is evenly spread over an area, indicate approximate area covered:
  • < 0.1 km2 (10 ha)

Total area covered by the SLM Technology is 0.019 km2.

3.6 SLM measures comprising the Technology

vegetative measures

vegetative measures

  • V1: Tree and shrub cover
structural measures

structural measures

  • S4: Level ditches, pits
management measures

management measures

  • M5: Control/ change of species composition

Main measures: vegetative measures, structural measures

Secondary measures: management measures

Type of vegetative measures: aligned: -contour, in blocks

3.7 Main types of land degradation addressed by the Technology

soil erosion by water

soil erosion by water

  • Wt: loss of topsoil/ surface erosion
physical soil deterioration

physical soil deterioration

  • Pc: compaction

Main type of degradation addressed: Wt: loss of topsoil / surface erosion

Secondary types of degradation addressed: Pc: compaction

Main causes of degradation: overgrazing (insufficient forage supply from the private land.), education, access to knowledge and support services (identification of appropriate SWC technologies and appropriate collaborators)

Secondary causes of degradation: deforestation / removal of natural vegetation (incl. forest fires) (for daily household needs ( litter , firewood, timber), other natural causes (avalanches, volcanic eruptions, mud flows, highly susceptible natural resources, extreme topography, etc.) specify (excessive rainfall during pre-monsoon and monsoon), poverty / wealth (to buy planting materials and for logistics), labour availability (for community level social work)

3.8 Prevention, reduction, or restoration of land degradation

Specify the goal of the Technology with regard to land degradation:
  • restore/ rehabilitate severely degraded land

4. Technical specifications, implementation activities, inputs, and costs

4.1 Technical drawing of the Technology


A.K. Thaku, Madhav Dhakal

4.2 Technical specifications/ explanations of technical drawing

Technical drawing of layout of vegetative and structural measures.

Location: "Dhotra" village, near Dhulikhel. Kabhre Palanchok district

Date: July 2004

Technical knowledge required for field staff / advisors: low

Technical knowledge required for land users: low

Main technical functions: improvement of ground cover, increase / maintain water stored in soil, water harvesting / increase water supply

Secondary technical functions: reduction of slope angle, reduction of slope length, increase in organic matter

Aligned: -contour
Vegetative material: G : grass
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 6 m

In blocks
Vegetative material: T : trees / shrubs
Number of plants per (ha): 120
Spacing between rows / strips / blocks (m): 6 m
Vertical interval within rows / strips / blocks (m): 4 m

Trees/ shrubs species: Prunus cerasoides, Michelia champaca, Melia azedarach, Schima wallichii,Cherospondias axillaries

Grass species: Stylosanthes guianensis, Panicum maximum, Pennisetum purpureum, Melinis minutiflora, Brachiaria decu

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 20.00%

Gradient along the rows / strips: 2.00%

Wall/ barrier
Spacing between structures (m): 5-10 m
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 1-2 m
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 1 m
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 1.5-4 m

Bund/ bank: semi-circular/V shaped trapezoidal
Spacing between structures (m): 6 m
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 40-50 cm
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 1-1.5m
Length of ditches/pits/dams (m): 2-2.5 m
Height of bunds/banks/others (m): 10-30
Width of bunds/banks/others (m): 1-1.5 m
Length of bunds/banks/others (m): 1-2 m

Structural measure: diversion ditch / cut-off drain
Spacing between structures (m): 6 m
Depth of ditches/pits/dams (m): 0-30 cm
Width of ditches/pits/dams (m): 10-30 cm

Construction material (earth): soil resulting from the digging activities were used to construct eyebrow shaped bunds.

Slope (which determines the spacing indicated above): 20%

Lateral gradient along the structure: 2%

Vegetation is used for stabilisation of structures.

Other type of management: closing for change of management / intensity level - grazing as well as "symbolic" fencing by small living fence to delineate SWC area.

4.3 General information regarding the calculation of inputs and costs

Specify currency used for cost calculations:
  • US Dollars
Indicate average wage cost of hired labour per day:


4.4 Establishment activities

Activity Type of measure Timing
1. Planting of tree seedlings and cuttings and sowing of grass seeds. Vegetative before onset of monsoon (June)
2. Drawing layout of eyebrow terraces, drainage ditches, hedgerows on the bare land Structural before onset of monsoon (June)
3. Digging holes for eyebrow pits, drainage ditches Structural before onset of monsoon (June)
4. Making sure that all livestock is stall- fed Management All the time
5. Establishing small live fences with grasses and shrub cuttings Management before onset of monsoon (June)

4.5 Costs and inputs needed for establishment

Specify input Unit Quantity Costs per Unit Total costs per input % of costs borne by land users
Labour Eyebrow terraces and vegetative measure Persons/day 52.0 2.0 104.0 100.0
Plant material Seeds ha 1.0 6.0 6.0
Plant material Seedlings ha 1.0 23.0 23.0
Fertilizers and biocides Fertilizer ha 1.0 12.0 12.0
Other Transportation ha 1.0 41.0 41.0
Other Lunch, tea for farmers ha 1.0 47.0 47.0
Total costs for establishment of the Technology 233.0

Duration of establishment phase: 12 month(s)

4.6 Maintenance/ recurrent activities

Activity Type of measure Timing/ frequency
1. cutting vegetation Vegetative 3 times /year
2. planting vegetation in any gaps Vegetative before monsun /annual
3. Cleaning of sediment-filled pits Structural oncea year, before onset of monsoon

4.7 Costs and inputs needed for maintenance/ recurrent activities (per year)


Machinery/ tools: hoe, spade,sickle, hoe, spade

All costs and amounts were roughly estimated by the technicians and authors in 2004.

5. Natural and human environment

5.1 Climate

Annual rainfall
  • < 250 mm
  • 251-500 mm
  • 501-750 mm
  • 751-1,000 mm
  • 1,001-1,500 mm
  • 1,501-2,000 mm
  • 2,001-3,000 mm
  • 3,001-4,000 mm
  • > 4,000 mm
Agro-climatic zone
  • humid

Thermal climate class: subtropics

5.2 Topography

Slopes on average:
  • flat (0-2%)
  • gentle (3-5%)
  • moderate (6-10%)
  • rolling (11-15%)
  • hilly (16-30%)
  • steep (31-60%)
  • very steep (>60%)
  • plateau/plains
  • ridges
  • mountain slopes
  • hill slopes
  • footslopes
  • valley floors
Altitudinal zone:
  • 0-100 m a.s.l.
  • 101-500 m a.s.l.
  • 501-1,000 m a.s.l.
  • 1,001-1,500 m a.s.l.
  • 1,501-2,000 m a.s.l.
  • 2,001-2,500 m a.s.l.
  • 2,501-3,000 m a.s.l.
  • 3,001-4,000 m a.s.l.
  • > 4,000 m a.s.l.
Comments and further specifications on topography:

Altitudinal zone: 900 m a.s.l.

Slopes on average: Also very steep

5.3 Soils

Soil depth on average:
  • very shallow (0-20 cm)
  • shallow (21-50 cm)
  • moderately deep (51-80 cm)
  • deep (81-120 cm)
  • very deep (> 120 cm)
Soil texture (topsoil):
  • fine/ heavy (clay)
Topsoil organic matter:
  • low (<1%)
If available, attach full soil description or specify the available information, e.g. soil type, soil PH/ acidity, Cation Exchange Capacity, nitrogen, salinity etc.

Soil depth on average is variable

Soil texture: red soils with high clay content

Soil fertility was very low before implementation of rehabilitation activities

Topsoil organic matter was low before implementation of rehabilitation activities

Soil drainage / infiltration was poor before implementation of rehabilitation activities

Soil water storage capacity was very low before implementation of rehabilitation activities

5.4 Water availability and quality

Availability of surface water:

poor/ none

Water quality (untreated):

poor drinking water (treatment required)

Comments and further specifications on water quality and quantity:

Water quality (untreated): More in rainy season (June- September), less in April/May

5.6 Characteristics of land users applying the Technology

Market orientation of production system:
  • subsistence (self-supply)
Off-farm income:
  • 10-50% of all income
Relative level of wealth:
  • poor
Individuals or groups:
  • groups/ community
  • women
  • men
Indicate other relevant characteristics of the land users:

Land users applying the Technology are mainly common / average land users

Population density: 200-500 persons/km2

Annual population growth: 2% - 3%

95% of the land users are average wealthy.
3% of the land users are poor.
2% of the land users are poor.

Off-farm income specification: In most farm households, off-farm income plays at least a minor and
increasingly a major role. Occasional opportunities for off-farm income present themselves in the form of daily
labour wages. Some households’ members receive regular salaries, whilst an increasing number of Nepalis are
working in India, the Middle East, Malaysia, and elsewhere and sending remittance incomes home.

5.7 Average area of land owned or leased by land users applying the Technology

  • < 0.5 ha
  • 0.5-1 ha
  • 1-2 ha
  • 2-5 ha
  • 5-15 ha
  • 15-50 ha
  • 50-100 ha
  • 100-500 ha
  • 500-1,000 ha
  • 1,000-10,000 ha
  • > 10,000 ha
Is this considered small-, medium- or large-scale (referring to local context)?
  • small-scale

Only limited grazing area for whole village

5.8 Land ownership, land use rights, and water use rights

Land ownership:
  • state
Land use rights:
  • communal (organized)

5.9 Access to services and infrastructure

  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
technical assistance:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
employment (e.g. off-farm):
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
roads and transport:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
drinking water and sanitation:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good
financial services:
  • poor
  • moderate
  • good

6. Impacts and concluding statements

6.1 On-site impacts the Technology has shown

Socio-economic impacts

Income and costs

farm income

Comments/ specify:

Increased carrying capacity of land; about $17 was collected from selling grass seeds and grass

Socio-cultural impacts

community institutions

Comments/ specify:

collected money used for social work

SLM/ land degradation knowledge


conflict mitigation

Comments/ specify:

At the beginning a few people opposed the activities

Ecological impacts

Water cycle/ runoff

excess water drainage


soil moisture


soil cover

Comments/ specify:

about 80 percent bare land covered by the various grasses

soil loss


6.2 Off-site impacts the Technology has shown

downstream siltation

Comments/ specify:

into irrigation canal downstream

6.3 Exposure and sensitivity of the Technology to gradual climate change and climate-related extremes/ disasters (as perceived by land users)

Gradual climate change

Gradual climate change
Season Type of climatic change/ extreme How does the Technology cope with it?
annual temperature increase well

Climate-related extremes (disasters)

Meteorological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
local rainstorm not well
local windstorm not known
Climatological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
drought not well
Hydrological disasters
How does the Technology cope with it?
general (river) flood not known

Other climate-related consequences

Other climate-related consequences
How does the Technology cope with it?
reduced growing period not well

6.4 Cost-benefit analysis

How do the benefits compare with the establishment costs (from land users’ perspective)?
Short-term returns:

neutral/ balanced

Long-term returns:


How do the benefits compare with the maintenance/ recurrent costs (from land users' perspective)?
Short-term returns:

neutral/ balanced

Long-term returns:



The high establishment costs of the technology means that the shortterm benefit for the community only matches the costs involved. In the long-term the environmental benefit of rehabilitated land is high and
economically it is positive.

6.5 Adoption of the Technology

  • more than 50%
If available, quantify (no. of households and/ or area covered):

40 households in an area of 0.019 sq km

Of all those who have adopted the Technology, how many have did so spontaneously, i.e. without receiving any material incentives/ payments?
  • 0-10%

100% of land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

40 land user families have adopted the Technology with external material support

Comments on acceptance with external material support: survey results

There is no trend towards spontaneous adoption of the Technology

Comments on adoption trend: No initiative could be seen in the area , but inerst is there.

6.7 Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities of the Technology

Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the land user’s view
The technology already started generating income from the degraded land.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? In the long run, by selling grass and grass seed, funds can be generated.
The technology is effective against land degradation.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? More tree and fruit species should be added and grass species multiplied to cover the remaining bare land
Strengths/ advantages/ opportunities in the compiler’s or other key resource person’s view
The technology package is easy to apply as it does not need much knowledge and is cost effective.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? Regular maintenance of the structure and grasses is required
Improvement can be seen fast and easily; the vegetation cover increased and the loss of top soil decreased.

How can they be sustained / enhanced? As above

7. References and links

7.2 References to available publications

Title, author, year, ISBN:

Nakarmi, G. (2000) Soil Erosion Dynamics in the Middle Mountains of Nepal, a report submitted to PARDYP, ICIMOD, Kathmandu.

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

Schreier, H.; Brown, S.; Shah, P. B.; Shrestha, B.; Merz, J. (2002) Jhikhu Khola Watershed – Nepal, CD ROM. Vancouver: Institute for Resources and Environment, University of British Columbia.

Available from where? Costs?


Title, author, year, ISBN:

Shrestha, B. (2004) Progress Report PARDYP-Nepal. Paper presented at the PARDYP – Access Mid Year Meeting, 19-22 July 2004, ICIMOD, Kathmandu.

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