5 October 2017 Analysis of changes in crop farming in the Dudh Koshi (Nepal) driven by climate changes
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Abstract
Nepal is one of the poorest nations of the world and the Koshi Basin includes some of the poorest regions of this country. It’s farming system is subsistence agriculture, mainly rainfed, with crop productivity among the lowest in South Asia. Nepal is also severely impacted by climate changes, such as retreat of glaciers, rise in temperature, erratic rainfalls and increase in frequency of extreme weather. This paper describes the spatio-temporal evolution of cultivated land in Dudh Koshi during the last four decades (1970s-2010s), by mapping the farming of its four main cereals in the districts of Solukhumbu, Okhaldunga and Kothang from space. The analysis of satellite time series showed a 10% of increment in farmland from 1970s to 1990s, and about 60% in the following twenty years. With a shift of cropping to higher altitudes. Data belonging to of the second twenty years are strongly correlated with the population growth observed in the same period (0.97<R2<0.99) and consistent with the average daily caloric intake. Finding confirms the result of recent studies that agriculture practices once distributed in lowland areas have now spread to higher altitudes and seems to suggest that demographic and socioeconomic pressures are driving the expansion, while climatic and topographic parameters are just channeling the expansion. Apart from any policies that could change the tack, Dudh Koshi should be able to meet the increasing demand of cereals in the near future and climate seems not being a limiting factor for further development as it will be the availability of an irrigation system.
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Marco Gianinetto, Francesco Polinelli, Federico Frassy, Martina Aiello, Francesco Rota Nodari, Andrea Soncini, Daniele Bocchiola, "Analysis of changes in crop farming in the Dudh Koshi (Nepal) driven by climate changes", Proc. SPIE 10428, Earth Resources and Environmental Remote Sensing/GIS Applications VIII, 104281R (5 October 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2278637; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2278637
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