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  Rangeland Ecology & Management
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Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 29(2)

Indigenous rangeland resource management in the mountainous areas of northern Nepal: a case study from the Rasuwa District

S. K. Dong A F, J. P. Lassoie B, Z. L. Yan C, E. Sharma C, K. K. Shrestha D, D. Pariya E

A State Key Laboratory of Water Environment Simulation, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.
B Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University, 14853-3001 Ithaca, New York, USA.
C Natural Resources Program, ICIMOD, Kathmandu, Nepal.
D Agricultural Research Station (Pasture), NARC, Dhunche, Rasuwa, Nepal.
E Pasture and Fodder Division, NARC, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Kathmandu, Nepal.
F Corresponding author. Email: dongshikui@sina.com
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Rangelands perform numerous functions that have significant ecological and livelihood values for mountain societies in Nepal. There are no other systems more suitable than indigenous management systems, which have evolved over long periods of time and offer approaches to land use that are suitable to the varying climatic, biophysical conditions and ethnic diversity that characterise Nepal. However, traditional resource management practices have been ignored in the past, which has resulted in conflicts and resource degradation. In this context, a survey was conducted in the Rasuwa District of northern Nepal to identify existing indigenous rangeland management systems, examine the challenges facing the development of sustainable practices and suggest possible strategies for promoting their development. It was concluded from this study that local herders in the Rasuwa District of northern Nepal have developed effective indigenous rangeland management systems that include good grazing and conservation practices. Well organised local institutional arrangements and efficient traditional right and tenure systems have evolved that result in the sustainable use of rangeland resources. However, both internal and external factors are now challenging these traditional systems. Results indicated that to remain sustainable rangeland management systems in northern Nepal will require a clear recognition of indigenous knowledge of rangeland management as well as the integration of indigenous practices and strategies with modern technologies. More attention should be paid to the facilitation of rangeland legislation covering traditional rights and customary tenure, institutional cooperation and collaboration between government and civil society. Co-management and participatory research and development should be initiated on rangeland resources and the improvement of infrastructure and public service systems.

Keywords: institutional arrangement, property right systems, traditional practices.

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