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Impacts of Agriculture Land use Changes on Mobile Pastoral System in Naran Valley of Western Himalayan Northern Pakistan

Impacts of Agriculture Land use Changes on Mobile Pastoral System in Naran Valley of Western Himalayan Northern Pakistan

Muhammad Khurshid, Muhammad Nafees, Inam-ur-Rahim and Wajid Rashid

Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhawa, Pakistan; Foundation for Research and Socio-Ecological Harmony, Islamabad, Pakistan; University of Swat Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan. 


 The upland pastures in western Himalayan of Northern Pakistan are traditionally used by mobile pastoralists for livestock grazing during summer. Since the late 1980’s, these pastures have been used for off season vegetables cultivation which leads to change the traditional mobile pastoral system. This study was carried out in Naran valley in 2015, to understand the agriculture land use changes during the past three decades and its impacts on traditional mobile pastoral system. For this purpose, participatory discussions, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) were used to identify and record land use changes during past three decades. Detail interviews were also conducted with nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoralists to identify and evaluate the impacts of agriculture land use changes on their pastoral activities. The result shows that since the late 1980’s cash crops cultivation extended from 2880 m asl (above sea level)to 3500 m asl over 1887 ha of pastureland in Buhrawai. This rapid growth of cash crops cultivation has reduced the available grazing land by 23% in Buhrawai. The over expansion of cultivation in herding venues affected the livestock grazing pattern in term of rotational grazing and open mobility within the pastures. This led to decrease herding venues 43.7% mobility routs 37.5% and herd size by 60.4% for both groups respectively. Analysis of gender-based family labor distribution during past 30 years shows that herding labor (male and female) of age 14 to 60 significantly (P<0.01) reduced during past 30 years and partly shifted to cropping. The male herding labour reduced 40.2% in semi-nomadic pastoralists and 8% in nomadic pastoralists. Similarly the female herding labour reduced 54.3% in semi-nomadic and 32.2 in nomadic pastoralists. This reduction is highly observed in herding labour of semi-nomadic pastoralists followed by nomadic pastoralists. It is concluded that due to this irrational agriculture land use changes, the present nomadic pastoral system is in transition from pure nomadism to commercial vegetable farming in upland areas and this has exposed the traditional nomadic life to socio-economic and environmentally vulnerability in upland areas.

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Sarhad Journal of Agriculture


Vol.39, Iss. 1, Pages 1-297


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