Although the effects of climate change have been felt for several years now, it was not uncommon for it to be felt so quickly. The impact of climate change on Nepal and around the world has become a major challenge today. Nepal is considered the fourth most vulnerable country in terms of climate change. Global average temperatures are rising faster than expected. Moreover, the process of heating the mountains is about twice the average temperature. According to scientists, the melting of snow has been increasing at an unprecedented rate in the last 40 years. Due to this, it is not unnatural for the experts to warn that Nepal, which is covered with mountains, will face unforeseen disasters in the coming days.
It is ironic that Nepal, the world's lowest per capita carbon emitter, has to bear the brunt of climate change. Climate change is already having a major impact on agriculture, food security, water, energy, health, and infrastructure in Nepal. This article looks at the potential effects of climate change on land and agriculture.
There are three main dimensions of land-use change in Nepal. First, due to rapid urbanization, arable land is being eroded. Even the arable land around the old city has been converted into a residential area. The open spaces within the main city are being eroded. And, commercial buildings have been erected in those places. This trend is growing. Second, many infrastructure projects (such as roads, buildings, hydropower projects, airports, etc.) are under construction.
The land used for agriculture has been used in the construction of these projects. The third dimension is related to the disaster. Landslides, landslides, floods, and inundation are causing loss of land as well as declining fertility. For example, floods in the Melamchi River have washed away thousands of ropanis of land around the river. Some land has been buried. Thus, due to urbanization, infrastructure development, and major disasters, Nepal's land use is undergoing rapid changes. Climate change is changing the use of land and the change in land use is again playing a role in intensifying the negative effects of climate change.
The interaction of climate change and socio-economic development greatly affects land use change. Climate disasters such as floods, inundation, and landslides have a direct impact on land damage and loss of soil fertility. Hundreds of hectares of land along the river are being turned into bogs due to the annual floods and the collection it brings. The landslide is eroding a large part of the land in the hills. The diversity of uses also has different effects on land degradation. Land covered by agriculture, forest, and vegetation helps maintain land quality, while urban settlements and their expansion increase land degradation.
Agriculture is one of the major sectors affected by climate change in Nepal. As agricultural land became scarce, agriculture was directly affected. Nepal's agriculture is still largely dependent on rainwater. As the water source is declining, it is becoming difficult to get water even in the lands irrigated by Kulo. Due to climate change, sometimes there is heavy rain and sometimes there is prolonged drought. The recent record of 20 years of 'short rainfall' is vivid proof of this.
The inundation of 385 houses in the valley helps to estimate the extent of damage caused by such unforeseen events. Insect and livestock diseases are on the rise due to high temperatures. This is reducing productivity. Lack of water, unbalanced rainfall, and floods have severely damaged agriculture. In the past, farmers could prepare for farming by estimating the rainy season. Now such speculation has stopped working. Declining agricultural productivity has also added a serious challenge to food security.
The severity of natural disasters adversely affects people's livelihood and health and weakens their ability to cope with disasters. If we do not think about mitigating the effects of climate change on land and agriculture, it will lead to a serious crisis of famine. For this, it is very important to formulate a land-use plan and prevent the land of agriculture, forest, wetland, etc. from being used for other purposes. It also helps to manage the development and construction that has taken place indiscriminately. Cultivation or tree planting can be done on vacant and wasted land. Without land-use, if we continue to do whatever we want, it will not take long to harvest all our arable land.
As the land use policy and land use act have already been formulated, it is necessary to formulate land use regulations and implement the land use plan as a national campaign. Since the land use plan will identify disaster risk areas, people can be relocated from that area to safer places and people can be resettled only in safe and residential areas, thus reducing the human and other economic losses caused by disasters every year. Changes in land use can also help mitigate climate change. Local government is an important opportunity for us to formulate and implement land-use plans. There should be no delay in formulating land use plans at the federal, state, and local levels.
In the name of economic development, work is being done to increase environmental risk and climate risk. Expansion of basic infrastructures such as roads, buildings, hydropower, and airports is the basis of development, but it also uses land and increases land exploitation. In this case, such development activities should be organized or constructed with minimum environmental damage. Research has shown that mitigation of climate change and conservation of biodiversity can go hand in hand. For example, multipurpose plants planted in barren land provide people with environmental services, including food and medicine. Gives shelter to animals. Climate change factors fertilize carbon and also protect against hazards such as landslides. Agro-forestry, agro-environment, eco-tourism diversify and increase income.
Sustainable land management through land-use planning is an important strategy for building favorable land capacity and uplifting climate change. It helps integrate land, water, biodiversity, and environmental concerns to meet growing food demand while maintaining environmental services and livelihoods. In its most ambitious effort to mitigate climate change, Nepal has implemented the National Climate Change Policy, 2076. However, this strategy does not specifically address the impact of climate change on land and how land-use change plays a role in increasing the impact of climate change. There is also no systematic practice of calculating land damage from disasters. Therefore, it is important to keep the issue of land use at the center while formulating a climate change strategy in the coming days.