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An Insight of Ecosystem Capitals and Services of the Kaghan Valley: The Himalayan Region of Pakistan

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DOI: 10.4236/nr.2013.42021    4,347 Downloads   6,808 Views Citations


The Kaghan Valley is in the territorial jurisdiction of Mansehera District, named after a tiny village Kaghan, at the end of the valley. The valley culminates in the tree-clad high mountains and glaciers in the North-East with varying altitudes from 1 to 5 thousand meters above sea level. The region is relatively active geophysically, hydrologically and biologically diverse by virtue of the altitude and aspect-driven variability in energy and moisture. In such region a better understanding of changes in land resources, production of agronomic and horticultural crops, use of timber and non-timber products, and livestock structure/composition have important implications and understanding these changes along with the indigenous knowledge of mountain people which, is key to sustainable development of the Himalayan region. Our results showed that the main causes of lowest agriculture production in the area are poor crop management in context of the mountains, drought spells, low soil fertility, land fragmentation and tenancy status of the agricultural land. Off season vegetables cultivation on the sloppy land leads to sever soil erosion and soil land degradation of this mountain ecosystem. Overgrazing during the summer season is another problem as the pastures are visited both by the Afghan and local nomads without relating with carrying capacity of the alpine meadows. The overgrazed soil is usually subject to rainfalls and severe soil erosion. Any use of resources of such fragile rare high mountain ecosystem requires a great sense of responsibility but in this case the forest resources are being plundered and are used roughly. We recommend adequate use of agricultural inputs, specific crop management practices for mountain agriculture. Local social welfare organizations should work to create awareness about the sustainable use of natural resources. The government should resolve the ownership problem of land as common property keeping in mind the customary laws of the region to make sure the involvement of all stakeholders.

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M. Qasim, M. Khan, A. Naz and S. Khalid, "An Insight of Ecosystem Capitals and Services of the Kaghan Valley: The Himalayan Region of Pakistan," Natural Resources, Vol. 4 No. 2, 2013, pp. 163-169. doi: 10.4236/nr.2013.42021.

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