Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 21, Issue 2, 2015; Page No.(941-947)

LAND USE CHARACTERIZATION OF A MID-ALTITUDINAL VILLAGE LANDSCAPE IN GARHWAL HIMALAYA, INDIA

J.S. Chandrashekar

Abstract

The study village differentiated into four land use - land covers, namely, forest, homegardens, rainfed agriculture land and irrigated agriculture land. Forest dominated by Alnus nepalensis, Lyonia ovalifolia, Myrica esculenta, Pyrus pashia and Rhododendron arboreum. Forests are socially valued due to their source of fuel wood, fodder and leaf litter and minor forest products. The leaf litter is used as a component of farmyard manure. Homegardens are multi-species small tiny plots located close to dwellings comprising a variety of fruit tree species and vegetables. Rainfed agriculture is the most extensive land use on the terrace. A large variety of crops are grown like wheat, rice, finger millet, mustard, black gram, cowpea, green gram etc in such a way that three crops are grown in two years. Farmyard manure derived from a mixture of leaf litter collected from the forest and excreta of livestock is the major soil fertility replenishment in the study area. Irrigated agriculture confined to valleys with two crops (wheat and rice) harvested in a year. The potential vegetation is a temperate forest type. The area receives mean annual rainfall of 1631 mm and mean annual temperature of 21.2ยบ C. Average landholding of the village is 0.21 ha. Soil type was loamy soil type. Soils were acidic with mean pH varying from 4.17 in forest to 5.7 in home gardens. The organic carbon was highest of 3.41% in mixed forest followed by 2.38% in home gardens, 1.61% in irrigated agriculture and 1.13% in rainfed agriculture.

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