Mountain societies, land use and food security

Protected Areas and People's Livelihoods

What happens when people have limited livelihood choices and then some new forms of economic opportunities emerge, which turn, have some profound socio-ecological and technical implications for mountain societies. These changes raise some fundamental questions about the economic tradeoffs and long-term sustainability.

Related publications

Byers, A. C., & M. Shrestha. 2022. Conservation and Restoration of Alpine Ecosystems in the Himalaya: New Challenges for Adventure Tourism in the 21st Century. In Tourism and Development in the Himalaya (pp. 55-73), eds. G. P. Nyaupane & D. J. Timothy. New York: Routledge. 

Byers, A.C., E. Byers, M. Shrestha, D. Thapa, & B. Sharma. 2020. Impacts of Yartsa Gunbu Harvesting on Alpine Ecosystems in the Barun Valley, Makalu-Barun National Park, Nepal. HIMALAYA, the Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies 39(2): 44-59 

Smallholders, Mountain Agriculture and Land Change

My dissertation (Smallholders, Mountain Agriculture and Land Change in Lamjung District, Nepal) integrated ethnographic and spatially-explicit survey data with remote sensing and GIS applications to study: (a) the household conditions and community contexts under which mountain smallholders change their agricultural land-use strategies, and (b) how their land-use strategies are linked to the district scale land-cover change patterns identified from multi-temporal Landsat images. Although I targeted a particular culture and place—Gurungs living in the foothills of the Mt. Annapurna range—my findings contributed to the general relationships underlying subsistence behavior of mountain smallholders, livelihoods and food security, their dependence on land and forest resources, and the extent to which their behaviors are historically influenced by the changes in demography, livelihoods, local economy, and institutions. This research was funded by the NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (BCS 0350127) and my graduate training leading up to this research was supported through a NASA Earth System Sciences Fellowship (Grant no. NNG04GQ16H) and a University of Georgia Graduate School Dissertation Completion Award.

Related publication

Shrestha, M. 2014. The Changing Dynamics of Mountain Agriculture and Land Use in Lamjung, Nepal. Global Environmental Research, 18: 173-182=