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Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 933; doi:10.3390/su8090933

Changes in Cropland Status and Their Driving Factors in the Koshi River Basin of the Central Himalayas, Nepal

1
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
4
College of Resources and Environment, Southwest University, Chongqing 400716, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Adrian Muller
Received: 2 June 2016 / Revised: 27 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 13 September 2016
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Abstract

In recent decades, human activities have significantly transformed land use and land cover (LULC) and the environment of the Central Himalayas region. LULC is a major component of environmental and climatic research. The aim of this study was to determine the changes in cropland status and its drivers in the Koshi River Basin (KRB) of the Central Himalayas region of Nepal between 1978 and 2010. The cropland status in 1978 was obtained from the Land Resources Mapping Project (LRMP) datasets. The cropland status in 1992 and 2010 was determined on the basis of satellite imagery, with an object-oriented classification method, together with field investigations. Advanced geographical tools were used for data processing and binary logistic regression models were used for the statistical analysis of potential driving factors of cropland change. A noticeable overall change in cropland area was found, with rapid increases from 1978 onward at differing rates and to different extents. The cropland area covered 7165 km2 in 1978. It peaked at 7867.49 km2 in 1992, and had reduced slightly (by 90 km2) to 7776.66 km2 by 2010. The change in cropland area was mainly related to four potential driving factors: topography (elevation, slope, and soil types), socioeconomics (population and foreign labor migration), climate (annual mean temperature and precipitation), and neighborhood factors (roads, rivers, and settlements). However, the effects of the different variables have occurred over various stages and at different rates. An understanding of long-term changes in cropland status in the KRB would be useful, and this could be extended to spatial reconstructions with the help of historical data, including cropland and climatic archives. View Full-Text
Keywords: cropland change; driving factors; logistic regression; Koshi River Basin; Nepal cropland change; driving factors; logistic regression; Koshi River Basin; Nepal
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MDPI and ACS Style

Paudel, B.; Gao, J.; Zhang, Y.; Wu, X.; Li, S.; Yan, J. Changes in Cropland Status and Their Driving Factors in the Koshi River Basin of the Central Himalayas, Nepal. Sustainability 2016, 8, 933.

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