. Status of Rangeland Resources and Strategies for Improvements in Nepal
Rameshwar Singh Pande
(Published in: Pande, RS, 2009. Review:Status of Rangeland Resources and Strategies for Improvements in Nepal, CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 2009 4, No. 047 http://www.cababstractsplus.org/cabreviews )
The livelihood of the Himalayan Sherpa people depends on rangeland based livestock farming in Nepal. In above 2,500 m altitude contribution of rangelands in livestock feed supply is more than 65 percent. Rangeland comprises about 11.5 percent of the total land resources on Nepal and over 98 percent are located in high Mountains & Himalayan regions. Nepal is rich in biodiversity and over 180 native species of grasses and legumes are found. Major rangelands vegetations are Tropical (Phragmitis- Saccharum- Imperata type), Sub-tropical (Themeda- Arundinella type), Temperate (Andropogon type), Sub-alpine (Danthonia type), Alpine (Kobresia type) and Steppe. The production and productivity of rangelands range from 0.12 to 3.2 mt DM/ha. Only 64 percent of the rangelands are accessible. Most of the rangeland are over stocked and severely grazed out. The estimated carrying capacity ranges from 0.06 to 1.4 LU/ha. The stocking rate on rangelands is 3.5 times to 37 times high. Indigenous techniques for the rangelands management are not keeping pace with the increased livestock population. Traditionally, practiced transfrontier pasturing between Tibet and Nepal has been closed by the Tibetan/Chinese government for Nepalese migratory herds effective from 1990, which compelled the Nepal government to initiate various rangeland development activities to meet the feed supply for Himalayan herds. Till now only 0.5 % of the total rangelands of the high Himalayan regions have been improved. Major challenges on rangeland development/management are dispute on ownership/users’ right on rangelands resources, lack of basic information on rangelands, deteriorating conditions of rangelands and associated forests, poor infrastructural facilities, remoteness, ad hock collection of grazing fees, lack of co-relation between stocking rate vs carrying capacity, community awareness, lack of support services, invasion of rangelands, poor people's participation, poor research and extension, high cost of development, poor supply/production of planting materials are some major problems for rangelands improvements. Since, 1990 UNDP supported 'High Altitude Pasture and Fodder Development Project' phased out, no significant work has been done to improve the pastures of Himalayan regions. The pasture improvement programmes should be continued to cover much more areas of indigenous rangelands. Legume components in the natural rangelands of Nepal are negligible. Incorporation of the legume in natural rangelands, improvement of physical facilities, opening new rangelands/use of unutilised community pasture areas, adoption of proper grazing management, closing of the rangelands from the grazing animals are some recommendations to improve the rangelands productivity.
Keywords: Rangeland, Himalaya, Yak, Nepal, Sherpa,
Documents, reports related to rangeland resources, livestock production, feeds and fodder situations and other relevant issues were published from Department of Livestock Services (DLS), Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC), Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), International Centre for Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Institute of Agriculture and Animal Sciences (IAAS), Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MFSC) and others were studied, reviewed, analysed and documented to prepare this paper.
1. Importance of Rangelands in Nepal
Rangelands are important resource of feed for domestic as well as wild ungulates in Nepal (Figure 1 & 2). Rangelands are abundant in high altitude Himalayan areas of Nepal. Overall rangeland contributes 11.5 percent in total livestock feed supply. In high altitude Himalayan areas above 2,500 m contribution of rangelands in feed supply is more than 65 percent . Rangelands are rich sources of herbaceous vegetation. Many rare medicinal plants and herbs are found in Himalayan rangelands. Most of the rangelands are found as a part of watershed areas contributing significantly on soil water conservation as well. The physical conditions of these rangelands not only contribute to the feed supply to the grazing animals but also influence the natural resource management and bio-diversity conservation.
2 Areas and Distribution of Rangelands, Nepal
It is estimated that over 1.7 million ha of land is considered as rangelands which comprises approximately 11.5 percent of the total land resources on Nepal  (LRMP, 1986). Area of the rangelands increases so as the elevation. Out of total area under rangelands, over 98 percent is located in Hills and High Mountains and less than 2 percent rangelands are found in plain below 1000 m altitudes are mainly confined inside the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The percentage of rangelands in different ecological region is presented in (Table 1).
Table 1: Type of Rangelands according to the Ecological Belt, Nepal
Description Ecological belt Nepal
Mountains Terai Hills
Area (ha) 10,82,232.0 74,100.9 5,45,334.9 17,01,670.8
Percent 63.6 4.4 32.0 100
Climate Temperate Tropical Sub-tropical -
Source:  LRMP, 1986
3.0 Vegetation Type of Rangelands, Nepal
Due to the extreme climate variations, different types of rangeland are found in Nepal. Nepal is rich in biodiversity; over 6,500 species of flowering plants have been recorded to be found  (Forestry Master Plan, 1989;  (MFSC, 2006). It was estimated that over 180 species of different species of grasses and legumes are found. Most of these species are grasses; only few species are legumes such as Astragalus spp, Medicago SP, Desmodium spp and others. On the basis of physiographic and ecological distribution of rangelands,  Livestock Master Plan (1993) identified following type of vegetation:
• Tropical: Phragmitis- Saccharum- Imperata type
• Sub-tropical: Themeda- Arundinella type
• Temperate: Andropogon type
• Sub-alpine: Danthonia type
• Alpine: Kobresia type
3.1 Tropical Rangelands Vegetation (Phanta):
The Plain areas of Nepal has tropical types of vegetation. Such types of vegetation are found up to the elevation below 1,000 m, where the climate is humid - warm tropical. In this zone, summer is hot (35-38oC) and cool winter. Rainfall is quite heavy during monsoon (July to September). Average rainfall is 1917 mm/yr. Most of the growth of the grasses takes place during monsoon period. Humid tropical rangelands are more confined in the national park, wildlife reserves of Terai belt, bordering to India. The rangelands of this zone are called "Phanta" in Nepali. The characteristic feature of such rangeland is the dominance of tall grasses such as Phragmites, Sacharum, and Imperata spp. These grasses have low feeding value, however, these grasses provides excellent shelter to the wildlife. The rangelands of this zone are associated with the evergreen hardwood forest.
• Major grasses: Andropogon pumilus, Bothriochloa intermedia, Bothriochoa odorata, Chrysopogan aciculatus, Cynoden dactylon, Desmostachys bipinnata, Hymenachne pseudoinlerrupta, Imperata cylindrica, Ischaemmum timorense, Narenga porphyroecoma, Panucum natatum, Paspalum conjugatum, Phragmites karka, Saccharum arundinaceum, Sacchrrum bengalense, Saccharum spotaneum, Sclerostachya fusca, Sporobolus indicus, Vetiveria zizaniodes and others.
• Major fodder tree and shrubs: Artocarpus lakoocha, Ficus bengalensis, Ficus religiosa, Zizyphus jubuta, Tamarindus indica, Bahunia variagata, Dalbergia sissoo and others.
Tropical rangelands are rapidly disappearing. For example, most of the tropical rangelands outside the national parks and wildlife reserves are converted into cultivable lands. Remnants of these species can be found in the uncultivated barren lands, river and roadside. No attempts have been made to evaluate the feeding value of these grasses in Nepal. As these grasses are coarse and fibrous, the feed value is considered as low. Besides the animal feed these grasses also used for thatching, to prepare household materials such as broom, mats and for paper mills. The Dry Matter (DM) production is considered is about 3-4 Mt/ha of herbaceous forage and about 250 kg of browse per hectare  Alirol, 1979; Archer, 1987;  Archer, 1990;  FAO, 1990)  Grela, A. and Sharma, K.P. 1991 Wide ranges of tree/shrub species grown in this region are used fodder source.
3.2 Sub-tropical Rangelands Vegetation
This type of rangelands is found in the Middle hills between the elevations of 1,000-2,000 m. In this zone, sub-tropical climate is found. The average temperature is 15- 20oC and rainfall is 1,700 mm/yr. These are the open grazing-lands appears in a small patches associated with the evergreen forests around the vicinity of human dwellings. The forest vegetation is Chir pine (Pinus roxburghii); Chilaune (Schima wallichii) and Castenopsis spp). These rangelands are developed by clearing the forest trees for domestic use. The characteristic feature of these rangelands is the domination of the Arundinella; Themeda, Thysanolaena and other grass species. Most of the rangelands suitable for crop cultivation are converted into the croplands.
Most of these rangelands are heavily grazed out and are in poor conditions. The productivity of these rangelands are estimated to be about 1.5 to 2.0 mt DM/ha of herbaceous forage and 300 kg/ha of browse materials  Archer, 1987;  Archer, 1990;  FAO, 1990);  Grela, A. and Sharma, K.P. 1991.  Dhaubhadel, T.S., Tiwari, B.N. 1992. The feed quality of these grasses is of medium quality. A list of major species of these types of rangelands is as follow:
• Major grasses: Andropogon pumilis, Apluda mutica, Arundinell bengalensis, Arundinella nepalensis, Bothriochloa intermedia, Bothriochloa decumbens, Chrysopogon fulvus, Chrysopogon gryllus, Chrysopogon jwarancusa, Capillipedium parviflorum, Cymbopogon microtheca, Cymbopogon stracheyi, Cynodon dactylon, Dimeria fuscescens, Digitaria setigera, Digitoria cruciata, Eragrostiella leioptera, Eragrostis nigra, Eulaliopsis binata, Eleusina indica, Heleropogon contortus, Isachna globusa, Ischaemum baratum, Oplismenus compositus, Paspalidium flavidum, Paspalum dilitatum, Paspalum scrobiculatum, Penisetum clandestinum, Penisetum pedicellatum, Perotis hordeiformis, Polygonum spp, Sporobolus fertilis, Thysanolaena maxima and others.
• Major fodder trees/shrubs are: Artocarpus lakoocha, Bauhinia purpurea, Boehmeria rugulosa, Bomax malabaricum, Utea brondosa, Erythrina variegata, Eugenia jambolana, Ficus religiosa, Garuga pinnta, Litsea monopetala, Morus alba, Premna spp, Terminalia chebula, Terminalia tomentosa, Ziziphus spp and others.
3.3 Temperate Rangelands Vegetation (Kharka):
This type of rangelands is found in between the elevation of 2,000 - 3,000 m. In this zone summer, is mild and winter is cold, average temperature is 10-15oC. Average rainfall is 1500-1700 mm/yr. This type of rangelands is characterised by the domination of Andropogan spp. The most common species such as Pennisetum flaccidum (Nepali name: Dhimso) is used to make hay by the farmers of these region. This rangelands are associated with the evergreen oak (Quercus spp and Pinus excelsa) forest. Study on species composition of natural rangelands at Guthichaur Sheep Farm, Jumla in June 1989 showed that Chrysopogan grylus and Arundinella hookerii are the major indigenous grass species either in caged or un-caged areas. The Relative Density was 54.5 and 33.2 percent respectively in the caged areas, whereas in the un-caged area the relative density was 70.0 and 18.4 percent of the above-mentioned two species.  Singh, et al 1990.
The major species are found in such rangelands are as follow:
• Major grasses: Agropyron canaliculatum, Agropyron semicostatum, Agrostis canina, Agrostis falipus, Agrostis micrantha, Agrostis muriantha, Agrostis pilosula, Anaphalis contorta, Andropogon pumilus, Andropogen tritis, Arundenella hookerii, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Bromus ramorus, Bothriochloa bladhii, Calamagrostis epigejos, Calamagrostis emodensis, Calamagrostis pseudophragmites , Chrysopogon gryllus, Cymbopogon distans, Cymbopogon microtheca, Danthonia jacqnemontii, Deschampsia caespitosa, Deyeuscia scabrescens, Digiterai spp, Eragrostis nigra, Erigeron alpinus, Elymus caninus, Eulalia mollis, Festuca gigantea, Festuca ovina, Festuca rubra, Helictotrichon asperum, Keoleria cristata, Muhenbergia spp, Miscanthus nepalensis, Oryzopsis aequiglumis, Paspalum spp, Pennisetum flaccidum, Poa pratensis, Poa alpina, Poa annua, Polygonum spp, Seteria pallidefusca, Schizachyrium delarvayi, Stippa concinna, Taraxacum officinale, Themeda quadrivalis, Thymus serphyllum, Trisetum spicatumm, Trisetum micans and others.
• Major legumes: Desmodium spp, Medicago denticulata, Medicago lupinina, Pretropis cytosoides, Trigonella emodi, Vicia spp and others.
• Major fodder tree/shrubs: Alnus nepalensis, Bassia butyracea, Bauhinia purpurea, Brassaiopsis hainla, Grewia tiliaefolia, Saurauia nepaulensis, Ficus nemoralis, Buddleja asiatia, Ficus clavata, Wandlandia exerta, Castanopsis indica, Celtis australis, Eurya spp and others.
Temperate rangelands have major contribution in high altitude livestock production. The productivity of these rangelands is estimated about 1- 1.5 mt DM/ha of herbaceous forage and 1,500 kg of browse/ha  Archer, 1987;  Archer, 1990;  FAO, 1990).
3.4 Sub-alpine Rangelands Vegetation:
These rangelands are found in between the elevation of 3,000 - 4,000 m. The region is semi-arid, average temperature is 3 – 10C, and annual rainfall is very low varies from 150-500 mm/yr depending on location. These rangelands are the important sources of animal feed for the migratory stock. Nomadic herds of yak, chauris and sheep heavily depend on these grazinglands during summer. The grasses are associated with Rhododendrons, Betula spp, Tsuga dumosa, Danthonia, Stipa spp.
The major vegetation is as follow:
Major grasses: Agrostis inaequiglumis, Agrostis pilosula, Agrostis tenuis, Anthoxanthum hookerii, Arrhanatherum elatius, Bromus himalaicus, Calamagrostis emodensis, Calamagrostis pulchella, Crotalaria albida, Danthonia schneideri, Duthiea nepalensis, Elymus canaliculatus, Elymus dehuricus, Elymus nuleris, Elymus schrenleiannus, Festuca eumminsii, Festuca leptopogon, Festuca omina, Helictotricton virescens, Medicago lupina, Poa alpina, Poa ludens, Poa polycolea, Stipa concinna, Stipa duthiea, Stipa koelzei, Stipa regeliana, Stipa seliria, Triluria oreophilia, Trisetum spicatum and others.
Major legumes: Medicago lupina, Vicia tetrasperma and others.
Major Shrubs: Berberis, Caragana, Junipers, Potentiall, Rosa, Spiraea and others.
Major trees: Rhododendron spp, Juniperus spp, Betula spp, Rosa spp, Potentilla spp, Berberis and others.
Major fodder tree/shrubs: Albizzia leblek, Betula spp, Brassaiopsis glomerulata, Castanopsis tribuloides, Ilex dipyrena, Machilus odoratissima, Quercus semicarpifolia, Quercus lamellosa, Symplocos spp and others.
The productivity of this rangeland is about 1.5 t DM/ha of the herbaceous foliage.  Archer, 1987;  Archer, 1990;  FAO, 1990).
3.5 Alpine Rangelands Vegetation:
Such type of rangelands is situated above 4,000 m and is covered with snow most of the year. During summer when snow melts the grasses grow very quickly and complete the life cycle. During these period these rangeland provides 3 - 4 months of grazing to the nomadic herds of Yak, Chauris and sheep.
A small of different plant community are common in this region. Department of Medicinal Plants reported that in alpine meadow of Langtang Valley the major species were Cortia depressa and Kobresia spp. In the Cortia type meadow 40-80 percent of the coverage was occupied by Cortia depressa and the subsidiary species were Potentilla pedunculosa, Primula obliqua, Carex spp and Geranium polyanthes. Whereas in the Kobresia type meadow, Kobresia spp occupied 40-90 percent of the coverage and the subsidiary species were varying in different sites. In the slopes the meadow were dominated with gramineous vegetation. The major species were Carex spp, Agrostis and Poa spp. On the level ground of open meadow Caltha palustris was a dominant species. The abundance of Caltha spp on well-grazed rangelands may be due to the unpalatability of this species to the animals. Caltha could be poisonous to the livestock. The other major species on level ground was Potentilla coriandifolia and others  Department of Medicinal Plants (1976)
On the exposed ridge the dominant species was Oxygraphis gracialis. Whereas on gravely slopes with mosey ground cover Bistorta vaccinifolia vegetation was common. The major type of vegetation is as follow:
• Major grasses: Agrostis pilosula, Androsace lehmani, Carex spp Cortia depressa, Elymus nutans Kobrasa hookerii, Kobresia nepalensis, Poa alpina, Poa attenuata, Potentilla argyrophylla and others.
• Major forbs: Astragalus spp, Galium spp, Geranium nepalensis, Plantago lanceolata, Potentilla spp, Saxifraga spp, Taraxacum sp. Thymus serpyllum, Trifolium repens Vicia spp and others.
• Major shrubs: Berberis spp, Juniperus communis, Rhodendron spp, Rosa spp, Salix spp and others.
The productivity of the herbaceous forage is about 1.5 mt/ha.  Archer, 1987;  Archer, 1990;  FAO, 1990). Major Plant species found in the Langtang Valley  (Department of Medicinal Plant, 1976) (Table-2)
Table 2 Vegetational composition of Langtang Valley, Nepal
Type Alt m Coverage % # Spp
Cortia depressa 3,880 88 21
Kobresia pygmaea 3,900 98 11
Caltha palustris 3,950 95 10
Potentilla spp 4,030 95 7
Source:  Department of Medicinal Plant, 1976
3.6 Steppe Rangelands Vegetation:
The northern side of the Dhaulagiree/Annapurna Himalayan range (Manang, Mustang and Dolpa) an arid, treeless plateau; is categorized as steppe zone and the elevation ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 m. This entire zone is dry and receives rain less than 500 mm/annum. Wind erosion is quite common; a high velocity wind blows during afternoon. The soil of the region is severely eroded with loss of fine particles and organic material. Most of the areas are denuded and bare ground. The vegetation cover is sparse and poor in quality. The major vegetation type is as follows:
• Major grasses: Andropogon tritis, Aristida spp, Calamagrostis spp, Crysopogon stellera, Cymbopogon stracheyi, Danthonia cachemyriana, Deyeuxia holciformis, Deyeuxia pulchella, Festuca ovina, Melica jacquemontii, Melica scaberrima, Orinus thordii, Oryzopsis lateralis, Pennisetum flaccidum, Poa alpigena, Poa pagophila, Poa poophagorum, Rumex nepalensis, Stippa spp and others.
• Legume: Medicago falcata and others.
• Major forbs: Astragalus spp, Medicago falcata, Nepata elata, Polygonum spp, Sambucus wightiana , Taraxacum spp, Thymus serpyllum, Viola spp and others.
• Major shrubs: Artemisia maritima, Berberis spp, Caragana brevispina, Caragana gerardiana, Ephedra gerardiana, Lonicera spinosa, Rosa sericea and others.
• Major trees: Juniperus squamata, Pinus wallichiana and others.
Scattered bushes of Caragana spp are observed to be appearing on such rangelands  Basnyat (1988) observed that grasses and legumes grow inside these bushes and complete its lifecycle by protecting from wind erosion and grazing. The productivity of these rangelands is very low and feed quality is also considered as low. Kandel et al reported the plant composition and the productivity of the rangelands of Mustang regions  Kandel et al. (1988) in (Table 3).
Table 3. Plant Composition and DM yield at Mustang, Nepal
Plant Species Muktinath
(Alt 3610 m) Ghami
(Alt 3740) Lho-Manthang
DM Kg/ha Cover % DM
Kg/ha Cover % DM kg/ha Cover %
Rosa sericea 1,116 35.2 - - - -
Caragana spp 511 16.3 216.0 40.2 232.2 28.2
Artimisia sp 435 13.5 181.7 33.8 201.6 24.8
Cotoneaster sp 195 6.2 - - - -
Stippa spp 234 7.4 - - - -
M. falcata 93 3 - - 22.3 2.8
P.flaccidium 72 2.2 49.6 9.2 67.3 8.3
Anaphalis sp 190 6.1 14.4 2.7 - -
S.hamaefasme 84 2.7 - - - -
E.gerardiana 101 3.2 - - - -
Potentilla spp - - 1.4 8.0 67.3 8.3
S.sponteneum - - 42.9 8.0 - -
Others 160 4.3 31.6 5.9 - -
Average Production 290 - 76.8 - 116.3 -
Source: Adapted from  Kandel et al. (1988).
4.0 Rangelands Production and Utilisation
4.1 Productivity of Rangelands:
The quality and quantity of fodder produced in natural rangelands are very poor, on an average pasture production range from 0.12 Mt DM/ha to 3.2 mt DM/ha  Alirol, 1979;  Archer, 1987; and  Shrestha et al, 1990). Similarly, FAO estimate that pasture production is more in per-humid rangelands compared to the other climatic zone  FAO (1990) (Table 4). Similarly, an experiment was carried out to estimate DM production of native rangelands of two different sites at Solukhumbu area, Syangboche (elevation 3720-3780 m) and Tauche (elevation 4220-4400 masl). Mean DM yield recorded in September 1990 was 1010 kg DM/ha at Tauche and 1440 kg DM/ha at Syangboche  FAO (1990). (Table -4)
Table 4 Pasture Production from Different types rangelands
Types of rangelands Yield mt DM/ha
Per humid rangeland 3.0-4.0
Semi humid rangelands 1.0-1.5
Semi arid rangeland 0.15-0.035
Per humid/humid forest 8.75
Sub-humid forest 0.50
Source:  FAO, 1990
Pasture production is much more depends on altitude and ecological zone in natural state of growth. In the high altitude regions, above the tree line rangelands are the main vegetation. The climate is too cold and unsuitable for tree growth. The growing season is very short. For example, in Syangboche region vegetational growth starts from late April – first May depending on the initiation of the spring and ends towards mid Nov to mid Dec, which gives average 175- 204 days of vegetation growth period  (Grela and Sharma, 1991). Wiart found that pasture production was highest at 2700 m altitude compared to 2000 m; 3,700 and 4,000 m. Total DM yield was 3.2, 2.02, 2.03 and 2.06 Mt DM/ha respectively; on the basis of 3 cut per year in the central regions of Nepal  Wiart (1983). Shrestha et al reported that annual DM production is approximately 3.6 Mt DM/ha in Terthum district of eastern Nepal at elevation 2040 - 2150 m and Taplejung (altitude 2,450 - 2,630 m). Similarly under Jiri conditions the fodder yield was 3 Mt DM/ha and the growing season was for 5 months  Shrestha et al (1990) (Table 5).
Table 5: Production Pattern of Native pasture (kg DM/ha).
Alt. 2450-2630 m Terhathum
Alt.2040-2150 m Jiri ( Alt 1935 m)
Jan 175.0 101.5 0.0
Feb 93.6 68.0 0.0
March 0.0 60.3 0.0
April 234.8 55.7 0.0
May 293.2 0.0 0.0
June 842.1 64.5 1000
July 212.8 0.0 700
August 588.1 0.0 600
September 516.8 835 300
October 284.1 300 400
November 140.0 306 0.0
December 161.0 0.0 0.0
Total 4041.8 1791 3000
Source:  Shrestha et al, 1990,
Paudyal and Bauer found that in most of the kharka at altitude 2200 to 3,999 m in Sagarmatha National Park the grass cover was 40-50 percent. And, most of the pasture was at the height below 30 cm  Paudyal and Bauer (1988). Many exotic pasture species introduced in Nepal. The productivity of these pastures varies according to the cultivar used as well as the management practices. Mono- cultivation of ryegrass at Jumla yielded 12.6 Mt/ha  Singh et al 1990). Similarly, cocksfoot 6.5 mt/ha at Jiri  Panday et al 1990).
4.2 Production and Utilization of Pastures:
The total production of fodder from the rangelands is 5067,963 MT DM. A large quantity of forage lost due to inaccessibility to harvest and/or due to under utilization by the animals. It is estimated that only 64 percent of the rangelands are accessible. Rest are inaccessible due to steepness, lack of trail, lack of drinking water, rocks and others. Pasture production from the accessible rangelands is only 3241428.5 MT DM. Furthermore, whole quantity of pasture produced in accessible rangelands may not be utilized by/for the livestock due to seasonality of growth, migratory system of grazing, snow fall, rain, plant senescence and others. It is estimated that only 74.4 percent of the pasture produced in accessible area are utilized. When compared to the total pasture production, only 2413160.7 MT DM , which is 47.6 percent, are assumed to be available for grazing stock  Pande, 1994;  Pande, 1997. (Table 6).
Table 6: Fodder production and utilization from rangelands
Description Ecological belt Nepal
Himal Hills Terai
Area of rangelands (ha) 10,82,235 5,45,335 74,101 17,01,671
Fodder yield (mt DM / ha) 3.0 3.0 2.5 2.98
Total fodder (mt DM/yr) 3246705 1636005 185252.5 5067962.5
Accessible % 60 70 80 64.1
Accessible (ha) 649341 381734.5 59280.8 1090356.3
Accessible fodder (Mt DM/yr) 1948023 1145203.5 148202.0 3241428.5
Utilization % 70 80 90 47.6
Utilized fodder Mt/DM/yr 1363616.1 916162.8 133381.8 2413160.7
Based on  Pande, 1994;  Pande, 1997.
4.3 Nutritive Value of Pastures
The nutritive value of the pasture depends on vegetation type and season of availability. The pasture produced in the lower zone is less nutritious and tends to be matured earlier compared to the alpine pastures. The alpine pastures are very nutritious. The average CP content is found 10.5 percent  Dhaubhadel and Tiwari, 1992). Most of the migratory herd gain weight and the breeding take place while grazing on the alpine pastures. The nutritive value of the alpine pastures is presented in (Table 7)
Table 7: Nutritive value of the alpine pastures (Nutrients in %)
Nutrients August September Mean
Dry Matter (DM) 16.1 16.1 16.1
Crude Protein (CP) 10.9 9.5 10.5
Crude Fat (CF) 1.4 1.8 1.6
Total ash 5.5 7.1 6.3
ADF 35.7 38.6 37.2
Organic matter 94.7 92.9 93.8
Nitrogen 1.74 1.52 1.63
Source:  Dhaubhadel and Tiwari (1992)
Calculation of DM and CP percentage of the natural alpine pastures: The alpine pastures remain most succulent and nutritious during the months of June to September. During these period, the DM percent is less than 25 and CP percent is in the peak. As the plant mature percentage of DM increases and reaches up to 80 percent during the months of February  Shrestha, et al ,1990 (Table 8).
Table 8: Monthly variation of DM and CP % of the alpine pastures
Months DM % CP %
January 70 -
February 80 -
March 67 -
May 40 11.6
June 30 12.7
July 22 14.4
August 22 14.0
September 25 -
October 30 12.4
November 34 12.8
December 46 8.6
Source:  Shrestha, et al ,1990
5.0 Stocking Rate and Carrying Capacity
Most of the available land resources are over stocked beyond its carrying capacity. Carrying capacity and stocking rate vary within the region. There is a lack of systematic study to evaluate carrying capacity of grazing areas for different stocks for the different ecological belts of Nepal. Alirol (1979) estimated that the carrying capacity is 1.4 LU/ha for Kalinchok region [5} Alirol, 1979. Whereas Archer estimated that the carrying capacity for the high altitude regions are no more than 0.06 LU/ha/yr  Archer 1987. In the recent study at Terhathum district, Eastern Nepal (elevation 1500-2900m) Shrestha et al estimated that the carrying capacity is 1.7 adult cattle/ha  Shrestha et al 1990 (Table-9)
Table 9: Number of Livestock per Unit of Land
Description Ecological belt Nepal
Mountains Hills Terai
Livestock # 24,31,237 92,97,569 55,91,327 1,73,20,133
Livestock unit (LU) 6,25,558.1 28,27,049.8 18,74,270.0 53,26,877.9
Total land (TL) 51,86,180.8 61,52,459.9 34,09,862.5 1,47,48,503.2
LU/TL 0.12 0.46 0.55 0.36
Agricultural land (AL) 4,80,171.9 19,55,836.6 15,74,548.1 40,10,556.6
LU/AL 1.3 1.45 1.19 1.33
Rangelands (RL)(ha) 10,82,232.0 5,45,334.9 74,100.9 17,01,607.8
LU/RL 0.58 5.18 25.29 3.13
Carrying capacity of rangelands 0.96 0.8 0.68 0.90
Forest land (FL) 14,87,790.1 32,15,969.6 16,02,683.3 63,06,443.0
LU/FL 0.42 0.88 1.17 0.84
Carrying capacity of forest 0.93 0.85 0.68 0.82
Source: Livestock Population:  CBS, 2207; Agricultural, rangeland, forest land:  LRMP, 1988.
Most of the rangelands are over stocked beyond its carrying capacity and are severely grazed out. The stocking rate on agricultural land is probably highest in the world. Based on standard livestock unit (LU: 400 kg body weight  Rajbhandary, HB and Shah SG). Overall stocking rate on total land area is 0.36 LU per ha of total land. Similarly, on agricultural land the stocking rate is 1.33. The stocking rate is highest in Middle belt compared to Southern and Northern belt. Theoretical calculation of the stocking rate reveals that compared to the total landmass of Nepal and/or agricultural land only the stocking rate is relatively high on rangelands resources. Mean stocking rate is 3.1 LU per ha of rangelands. As the rangelands in the Southern belt is minimal the stocking rate is very high i.e. 25.3 LU.
Compared to the stocking rate the carrying capacity of these grazing areas are very low. Overall stocking rate on rangelands resources is 3.5 times high. In the Middle belt the stocking rate is over 37 times high. Contrary to the Southern and Middle belt the stocking rate in Northern belt is less than carrying capacity. It is mainly due to the abundance of rangelands and low population of livestock.
The differences in the estimates of the carrying capacity might be due to the measures used to quantify the carrying capacity. However, all the data presented above are estimates and most of the data represents certain regions only. The relatively high carrying capacity of the grazing areas reported by Shrestha et al might be due to good management because the grazing lands were privately owned.
6.0 Rangelands Management
Indigenous techniques for the rangelands management is exist in Nepal but the techniques are not keeping pace with the increased livestock population and by the closure of Tibetan rangelands for Nepalese migratory herds.
In the traditional system of rangelands management only resting and burning have been adopted. However, due to high grazing pressure and lack of responsibility for managing the community pastures, most of the rangelands are in deterioration conditions. The rangelands could be more productive by their judicious utilization through proper management.
6.1 Range improvements:
Till now only 0.5 % of the total grazing lands of the high altitude districts have been improved [20; 21] 2[Pande, 1994; Pande 1997). The regular pasture improvement programmes should be continued to cover much more areas of indigenous rangelands.
6.1.1 Incorporation of legume into the existing sward:
Legume components in the natural rangelands of Nepal are negligible. Incorporation of the legume such as clover in the natural rangelands, not only increase the productivity and the quality of the pastures by supplying more DM and improving the nutritional quality but also improves the soil fertility level through fixing atmospheric nitrogen. Archer reported that by broadcasting white clover into the natural grazing areas of Himalayan region DM production increased by three folds compared to the existing productivity level  Archer 1990.
6.1.2 Improvement of Physical Facilities:
Most of the rangelands are difficult and inaccessible due to the lack of proper trails, bridges. The mule trails and bridges on river, rivulet should be constructed. Drinking water tank should be erected to facilitate the drinking water to the livestock.
188.8.131.52 Drinking water facilities:
The source of water for drinking to the grazing herds is only streams or lakes in Nepal. There are no artificial facilities provided for the stocks especially at high altitude regions of Nepal. Most of these resources are located far from the grazing grounds. Most of the vegetation near the watering source is severely grazed and degraded. An optimum distribution of the watering points over the rangelands helps in proper utilization of vegetation. Under the Northern Belt Pasture Development Programme over 41 drinking water facilities were constructed during the project period.
184.108.40.206 Provision of Mule trails and Bridges:
The rangelands should be easily accessible by the grazing stock. There should be proper trails for easy access and bridges to cross the river and rivulets. Most of the rangelands are located at high altitude regions, which are inaccessible due to the lack of trail and bridges to cross the river/rivulets. It is estimated that over 40 percent of the rangelands of high altitude regions are inaccessible. Under the Northern Belt Pasture Development Program over 39 mule trails have been constructed during the project periods.
220.127.116.11 Clearing of undesirable bushes:
The removal of undesirable and non-palatable species from rangelands is the most important step towards range improvements. Most of the rangelands are fully covered with undesirable species such as Eupatorium spp. Eradication of such bushes and weeds provides a chance for the desirable species to flourish and utilize the available nutrients and moisture. The bush free rangelands provided five times more fodder compared to the bushy rangelands. If the area is located on a slope the bushes and the shrubs should not be exposed at once. Otherwise the topsoil will be washed away due to increased run off. The undesirable shrubs of the sloppy areas should be removed in strip gradually. In the steppe region such as Mustang the native bushes should be protected as much as possible. They are the major source for moisture conservation in this arid zone. Basnyat recommended that such bushes should be protected and the improved pasture seed should be sown inside the bushes  Basnyat (1988).
6.1.3 Opening new Rangelands/Use of unutilised community pasture areas:
Most of the accessible grazing areas at high altitude region are over exploited and most of the palatable species are detriment. The dominant species are unpalatable grasses and weeds. Approximately 42 % of the grazing areas are still unutilised, due to steepness and unavailability of drinking water. There is an immediate need to open these pasturelands.
6.1.4 Use of Fertilization:
Application of fertilizer in the existing pastures is the effective and quick means to improve the productivity and the vegetational composition of the natural rangelands. But in the Nepalese contest to use fertilizer especially in pastures will be highly costly and uneconomical. Most of the rangelands of Nepal are low in Nitrogen fertilizer. By the use of Nitrogen fertilizer the productivity of the grasses species could be tripled. Grasses are more responsive to fertilizer application compared to the legumes or forbs. For legume species inoculation and the use of Phosphatic fertilizer is recommended. However, the compost and the dung’s should be used to increase the productivity of the pastures. There is a lack of systematic study to evaluate the increased productivity of the native pastures by the use of fertilizers in the natural conditions. However, the trial conducted in the cultivated condition using exotic as well as native species revealed the good response of fertilizer to the production of the fodder. Pandey et al (1990) found that by the use of FYM @ 8 mt/ha as a basal dose to Rye grass and Cocksfoot cultivars at Jiri condition the fodder yield was increased by 20 % compared to the non fertilized conditions. Similarly, tiller density and the plant height were also increased due to manuring  Pandey et al (1990) (Table 10.).
Table 10: Effects of FYM on DM production and tiller density
Description Treatment Ruanui (1) Khumal (1)* Wana (2)* Curie (2)*
DM yield (mt/ha) FYM, 8mt/ha 12.5 7.4 6.5 3.6
FYM, 0 10.1 6.5 5.9 2.6
Plant Den city tiller/sq m FYM, 8mt/ha 4512 1632 2608 1632
FYM, 0 4192 1360 2000 1056
Plant height(cm) FYM, 8mt/ha 26.5 28.9 15.8 14.1
FYM, 0 21.9 27.9 11.9 10.5
Note: 1= Cultivars of Lolium perenne; 2= Cultivars of Dactylis glomerata
Source: Adapted from  Pandey et al (1990)
6.1.5 Use of Irrigation:
Moisture is the major limiting factor for the better establishment as well as the performance of the natural vegetation especially of the herbaceous species. Irrigation of the rangelands could improve the productivity. The DM production of the Medicago falcata in the irrigated orchard in Mustang districts was found 2494 kg DM/ha compared to 93 kg DM/ha in the open rain-fed grazing lands at the altitude of 3610 m  (Kandel et al. (1988).
6.2 Adoption of proper grazing management:
Livestock is the core factor to the rangeland management. The major cause of poor conditions of pastures is due to overstocked livestock and its husbandry system. There is a lack of proper grazing management practices adopted by the farmers and/or at government level. Most of the newly established pastures are over grazed and are in deteriorating conditions. Most of the palatable species fail to bear the seeds and ultimately eliminated from the grazing lands. Following practices should be used for proper grazing management:
6.2.1 Stall feeding:
Stall feeding should be encouraged. The traditionally practised “cut and carry" method should be extensively carried out for the better use of fodder. This would also allow the opportunity to the plants to regenerate and therefore permits continued sustained production. Stall feeding practices control the overgrazing of natural feed resources as well as it increases the collection of dung’s and urine which ultimately improves the soil fertility status of soil. However, in Nepalese conditions where feed deficits is a major problem, the stall fed animals may not get the adequate feed and suffers more with mal nutrition and starvation compared in scavenger grazing and can pick up anything edible.
6.2.2 Closing of the rangelands from the grazing animals:
Due to the continuous grazing of the natural pastures not only lowered the productivity but also caused the lower plant density per unit of lands. Closing the rangeland for grazing animals could provide the opportunity for natural seeding and propagation. However, it requires long period. The practice is quite useful and productive however, it could not be implemented under Northern Belt Pasture Development Programme (NBPDP) due to the lack of people's participation. By providing resting or closing of the natural grazing areas through fencing the relative plant density and the productivity of the pastures increased significantly. For example in the Ghami Village Alt 3740 m the biomass production in the open grazing lands was 76.8 kg DM/ha whereas DM production within the fenced area was 158.0 kg/ha. The major plant species were Pennisetum, Chrysopogon, Caragana spp and others ( Kandel et al. 1988). Similarly, Singh et al. reported that within the three months period of time in Jumla areas alt 2800 masl the total number of plant count was increased by 65 % in the open grazing lands. The total number of plant was 1291 in the open area where as in the caged conditions the total plant count was 1976  (Singh et al, 1990) . Similarly the green matter yield was increased by 76 percent (Table 11).
Table 11: Plant species, plant # and GM yield in caged and uncaged conditions
Description Caged Uncaged
Total plant species 32 24
Total number of plant 1976 1291
Green matter yield (mt/ha) 4.9 3.7
Source: 11] (Singh et al, 1990)
Grazing or browsing by livestock directly effects on species composition and productivity of the grassland vegetation. Livestock are selective grazier; exhibit preferences for different types of plants for their food [24; 25] (Pande, 1990; 1991). Some species are very palatable and selectively grazed out such as pasture legumes. When the grazing pressure is increased or there is a lack of good pasture on the sites, livestock graze on less palatable species. At the higher grazing pressure, the plants are heavily defoliated which could be detrimental to the plant survival. Most of the rangelands available in Nepal are under heavy grazing pressure, and are over grazed, deteriorated conditions and are dominated with unwanted species and weeds. Closing of the rangelands to preserve the plant diversity as well as the productivity is the effective means  Pariyar, 1990. Study conducted at Jumla revealed that the number of plant species and plant cover as well as biomass production was higher at the closed site compared to the open site. Similarly when the rangeland was closed for a long period resulted in the increase in number of plant species and fodder yield  Morrison, 1991. (Table 12).
Table 12: Effect of Long Term Closure on Plant species and Fodder Yield
Description No. of Plant Species Fodder Yield (mt DM/ha)
Open Grasslands 13 0.97
Two years closure 22 3.83
Five years closure 26 4.43
Long term closure 38 5.61
Source: Adapted from  Morrison, 1991.
Due to browsing most of the new seedling of plant and shrubs may inhibit growth and die. Livestock also effects on environment degradation and loss of bio diversity through trampling on ground and camping.
7.0 Major challenges on rangeland development/management:
Ownership/Users’ right on rangelands? Traditionally the rangelands were/have been under the control of some “elites” and were/have been collecting grazing fees “Kharchauri” from the herders. Since the emergence of the community forestry concept and the formation of FUGs in most of the VDCs the “Users Right” has been transferred to the FUGs, that created some conflict/confusion e.g. in Bagam/Chhagam ( Pande, 2005);  Miller, D.J. 1993
Basic information on rangelands? The basic information on the rangelands is virtually, nil e.g. altitudes, aspects, area, pasture composition, biomass production, seasonality of growth and utilisation). Moreover, traditionally the community managed rangelands are recognised by its traditional names and nominal signs e.g. river, hills, lake etc rather than a physical boundary, overlap of the area, boundaries is quite common, which may cause conflict between the users as well as create management problems
Responsibility of the rangelands management? Most of rangelands are over utilised due to continuous grazing and are in deteriorating conditions. The pasturelands are dominated with unwanted weeds and poisonous bushes. It is estimated that the accessible pasturelands are considered to produce only 25 per cent of its potential.
Deteriorating conditions of associated forests: Oak tree foliage is sole diet for the livestock especially during winter season. Most of the oak trees are heavily lopped out and ceased the ability of reproduction. To promote regeneration of oak trees through protection of mother plants has initiated but its impact and its success is not apparent. Similarly, extensive rhododendron forest especially above 3,000 m altitude has been burned annually to expand the pasturelands and to induce faster growth of pastures, which threatens the existing of dwarf rhododendron forest as well as existing of flora and fauna.
Infrastructural facilities: In most of the community pasturelands the infrastructure facilities e.g. drinking water, sheds for herders and young animals, conditions of trail, condition of bridges in river/rivulets is very poor. Moreover, every year herder cuts young trees to renovate their sheds as well as for burning/cooking their meals, which deteriorates the forest resources.
Remoteness of the Rangelands area: The Himalayan regions (above 2,000 masl) where the extensive rangelands are found, are characterized by higher degradation of natural resources, low agricultural productivity, poverty driven migration, limited education, poor health care facilities and less income generation opportunities. These areas are lagged behind in terms of accessibility, available resources, infrastructures & physical facilities.
Provision/use of grazing fees: Traditionally the community pasturelands were/have been under the control of some “elites” and were/have been collecting “grazing fees” locally called “Kharchauri” from the herders. Since the emergence of the community forestry (CF) concept and the formation of Forest Users Group (FUG) in most of the Village Development Committees the “Users Right” has been transferred to the FUGs that created some conflict/confusion.
Is it possible to manipulate/extend pasture utilisation period? : Most of rangelands above 3,000 masl are utilised by the migratory herds during summer (June to August) only though the stay could be stretched up to September until the snow fall commence. Rest of the period the herds remain in lower/winter pastures grazing on oak forest at around 2,000 m altitude. Length of the stay of the herds directly correlated with utilisation pattern; longer the stay of herds in lower/winter pastures maximal the rate of utilisation/deterioration of the oak forest. Interventions need to explore the ways to prolong the stay/ utilisation period of upper/high altitude pastures aiming to minimise the additional pressure in winter pasture/oak forest?
Co-relation between stocking rate vs carrying capacity? The number of livestock tends to more compare to its carrying capacity. Reduction in herd size by increasing the productivity of individual animal is a common solution proposed by the so-called planner (?) (As the livestock is a status symbol in rural society and seems continued in near future? So, whether try to reduce the number of herd size or should try to improve the forage supply situation to match the demand in a sustainable manner?)
Livestock types and numbers: The major livestock in these areas are cattle, Yak, Chauri, sheep, goats and other animals. The livestock are raised under migratory systems. The number of livestock is beyond the carrying capacity of rangelands. On the other hand types of livestock are also disproportionate e.g. the number of goat population far more than sheep and the goats are considered as a destroyer of the vegetation. Most of the herders’ keep only breeding male (to minimise cost of rearing of the stud and avoid unnecessary competition/fighting between the males). Moreover, the breeding male selected from the same progeny of the same parental stock in all types of animals except Yaks. Consequently, the genetic potentiality of the herds deteriorates and the performance of the animals in terms of milk and growth decreases/decreasing.
Reasonable herd size: Most of the herders are reluctant to reduce the herd size; herders are concerned more about quantity rather then quality; keeping large herd reduces the risk of failure in livestock rearing business; as the incidence of diseases and casualty of animals is high and animals are low producing, keeping large herds minimise the risk. The average size of “Goth” (Herd) in migratory systems ranges from 200-300 heads of animals only comprising 4-6 farmers/households; larger herds are unmanageable and incidence during transferring of “Goth” and grazing could be fatal: as the mule trails are too narrow for travelling the larger herds). So, there is restriction also to from the management point.
Fate of the Chauri calves/cruelty of animals: Most of new born Chauri calves are forced to death (starved and/or over feeding of whey) - within first week of their age, mainly to save the milk yield as well as the hybrid-born calves are less important in terms of milk production .
Differed grazing behaviours of animals: During the migratory process the sheep/goats herds first moves toward alpine pastures earlier than Chauri. The grazing behaviour of these animals varies with each other and ability to utilise the available feed resources also differ among them. For example, goats prefer browsing than grazing compared to either sheep or cattle, which could affect the pasture management.
Conventional breeding practices/one stud services: Most of the herders’ keep only breeding male (to minimise cost of rearing of the stud and avoid unnecessary competition/fighting between the males). Moreover, the breeding male selected from the same progeny of the same parental stock in all types of animals except Yaks. Consequently, the genetic potentiality of the herds deteriorates and the performance of the animals in terms of milk and growth decreases/decreasing.
Community Awareness: Awareness towards the improved forage cultivation practices has been created need to be expended in wider scale to mitigate the shortage feeds and fodder and to save the oak forest.
Support Services: Veterinary, credit services: Most of community people have less access to veterinary services, credit facilities, cold storage/chilling centres etc.
Extension/expansion of forage cultivation practices: Awareness towards the improved forage cultivation practices have been created, which needs to be expended in wider scale to mitigate the shortage feeds and fodder and to save the oak forest.
Training and education: The training peoples either farmers or staff lack proper training in pasture production and livestock management. iv) Technical staff: There is a shortage of technical staff in the field of pasture and fodder development. Whatever the staff are available they are reluctant to serve in remote district.
Product Diversification: So far, Chauri are mainly used for milk and sheep/goats for meat but most of the farmer’s milch sheep and goats and consume locally and/or convert into curd or ghee (generally not for sale and no market outside). Most of the unwanted species/ weeds for herders could have economic value e.g. Androsace species.
Pollution/environmental degradations: In Himalayan regions scattered piece of bottles, plastic bags and others are quite common.
Role and status of women and school going kids involved in livestock farming: Most of the work related to milching, “Chhurpi” making are done by women (interesting, milking Chauri is the prime job of women only). Most of the time young girls/women compelled to live alone in an isolated shed with the animals, and school going kids also seen frequently with chauri herds
Outward migration: Most of the working youth are abandoning the homestead, sometimes with whole family members either in Kathmandu and/or India/Overseas to explore the alternative opportunities for more income.
Invasion of rangelands: Rangelands are national property utilized by community people since time immemorial. There is a lack of responsibility towards protection and conservation especially at community level. Occupation and invasion of rangelands for personal use has been increasing recently. The high altitude rangelands around the vicinity of the villages are gradually converted into the orchard and/or crop-fields. It was estimated that about 10 % of the community lands are annually used for this purpose in Jumla, Dolpa and Jajarkot districts. Some of the natural pasturelands and other common lands are invaded by some of the “elites” for the personal use; every body realise it but no body dares to oppose/raise voice against it?
People's participation: Peoples are reluctant to invest time and money for improvement of government/ community rangelands even for their own use.
Research and extension: There is a lack of research work on native pasture production and management system especially in Northern belt region. Similarly, diversified use of unwanted species/weeds of community pasturelands as most of the unwanted species/ weeds for herders could have economic value e.g. Androsace species.
Whether to conserve the native pasture species and/or replace by exotic? The native pasture species though hardy in nature but are lower in terms of DM yield, feed value and persists for shorter period compared to the exotic species. One the other hand, introduction of exotic species could be a threat to the bio-diversity conservation (e.g. white clover found all over the native pasturelands up to 3000m). Moreover, testing of exotic genetic materials has been initiated into the native pasturelands at different zone
Government rules and regulations: Government rules regulations of the ownership and renovation/management of natural pasturelands are conflicting/ confusing between and within the organisations e.g. National Parks/ Wildlife Reserves in Buffer Zone.
High cost of development: Improvements of rangelands are expensive and time-consuming programme. Due to lack of adequate budget and resources pasture improvement activities are low prioritised under GON programme.
Recycling of manures: The heaps of manures found close to the sheds in the alpine pasturelands and most of its nutrients go unutilised
Existence of oak forest threatened: Oak foliage is sole diet for the livestock especially during winter season. Most of the oak trees are heavily lopped out and ceased the ability of reproduction. To promote regeneration of oak trees through protection of mother plants has initiated but its impact and its success is not apparent. Similarly, extensive rhododendron forest especially above 3,000 m altitude has been burned annually to expand the pasturelands and to induce faster growth of pastures, which threatens the existing of dwarf rhododendron forest as well as existing of flora and fauna.
Feed/nutritive value of forage: The information on feed value of native pastures and browse foliage is lacking. Some of the plants considered to contain anti-nutritional factors e.g. presence of tannins in oak foliage
Traditional vs. improved livestock management practices: The traditional migratory system of livestock farming is becoming less attractive due to the shortage of feeds/fodder, high cost of production, hardship, lack of labour force etc. The profit margin or return of the investments especially in case of Chauri production is very low. The potential Chauri farmers are lured towards the money lending business rather than Chauris farming by them. To make the Chauri farming occupation more attractive? Is a challenge? Some of the dairy farmers of have developed a unique strategy to escape from the dry buffaloes (non-lactating stage), they sale the dry animal (to escape from the cost to rearing until the next parturition), and purchase new lactating buffalo to continue their dairy business as most of the dry buffaloes go to meat market and thus shortage of dairy buffaloes remains chronic problem (e.g. a case seen in Kabhrepalanchok district).
Supply/production of planting materials (seeds, saplings etc): Promotion of on-farm forage production and the renovation of the native pasturelands requires/demand a huge quantity of planting materials, but the domestic production is limited
The livelihood of the high Himalayan people depends of livestock farming. The acute shortage of pasturing are compelling the local especially Sherpa people to abandon the traditional systems of agriculture and forced to engage on alternative options of livelihoods such as tourism and work as a seasonal porter and/or migrate to other countries such as India and/or overseas. The deteriorating situations of the rangelands have created depletion of environment conservation, loss of biodiversity, threat to the rear wildlife and affect on major watershed areas of the southern Asia. The closure of Tibetan pasturelands for Nepalese herds and termination of government implemented northern belt pastureland improvement programmes have worsen the situation. Immediate attention is needed to improve the pasture production, productivity and conservation of native animals in the Himalayan regions of Nepal with strong people's participation.
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The author would like to acknowledge Dr David hemming (TL, Biotech), CABI organisation for his continual encouragement as well as valuable comments to prepare this review in the present form.