Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Outmigration and Land-Use Change: A Case Study from the Middle Hills of Nepal
Previous Article in Journal
Simulation of an Urban-Rural Spatial Structure on the Basis of Green Infrastructure Assessment: The Case of Harbin, China
Previous Article in Special Issue
Power of Agricultural Credit in Farmland Abandonment: Evidence from Rural China
Open AccessArticle

Spatiotemporal Degradation of Abandoned Farmland and Associated Eco-Environmental Risks in the High Mountains of the Nepalese Himalayas

1
Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), Beijing 100049, China
3
Wanzhou Key Regional Ecology and Environment Monitoring Station of Three Gorges Project Ecological Environmental Monitoring System, Wanzhou 404020, China
4
National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal, Kathmandu Lalitpur Po. Box 13667, Nepal
5
Central Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, University Campus, Kirtipur Po. Box 44613, Nepal
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9010001 (registering DOI)
Received: 30 October 2019 / Revised: 14 December 2019 / Accepted: 16 December 2019 / Published: 18 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Land Abandonment: Patterns, Drivers and Consequences)
Globally, farmland abandonment has been a major phenomenon for eco-environmental and social landscape changes in the mountain regions. Farmland abandonment led to endangering the capacity of mountain ecosystems as well as variety of eco-environmental processes that play a pivotal role in regional as well local level eco-environment security. This research aims to (i) assess the spatiotemporal degradation of abandoned farmlands, (ii) identify the major causes of farmland degradation, and (iii) analyze the eco-environmental risks triggered or exacerbated by the degradation of abandoned farmlands. We conducted an inventory of the spatiotemporal distribution of abandoned farmlands and their degradation status with Google earth images and by modeling and interpreting low-height remote sensing images taken by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Geomorphic damages were mapped at the scale of individual abandoned farms. A multivariate regression statistical (MRS) model was used to identify the major causes of degradation. This research revealed that out of the total surveyed farmlands, 92% were already completely irreversibly damaged. The damages started with the disruption of terraces and bulging processes that occurred within the year after abandonment. This degradation induced diverse hazardous processes, such as landslides, debris flows, rock falls, the formation of gullies, soil erosion, and the development of sinkholes, which increase the negative effects of on both land resources and plant succession. Farmland abandonment does not automatically lead to plant colonization because geomorphic damage is intensified prior to colonization. Therefore, land management is required for plant colonization as well as other efforts to reduce degradation induced eco-environmental risk. This study thus could help land planners and environmentalists in the development of suitable guidelines (pre- or post-abandonment) plans, programmes, and legislation to effectively address the problem of abandoned farmland. View Full-Text
Keywords: farmland abandonment; spatiotemporal degradation; eco-environmental risk; regression model; mountain region; Nepal farmland abandonment; spatiotemporal degradation; eco-environmental risk; regression model; mountain region; Nepal
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Chaudhary, S.; Wang, Y.; Dixit, A.M.; Khanal, N.R.; Xu, P.; Fu, B.; Yan, K.; Liu, Q.; Lu, Y.; Li, M. Spatiotemporal Degradation of Abandoned Farmland and Associated Eco-Environmental Risks in the High Mountains of the Nepalese Himalayas. Land 2020, 9, 1.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop