chapter  5
27 Pages

The Explanation of land Degradation

WithP. Blaikie

This chapter provides an explanation of land degradation in Nepal and focuses on the role of human agency in various types of erosion and degradation observed there. However, a detailed and quantified analysis of the extent of degradation has produced a more qualified interpretation. The chapter attempts to provide an explanation of land degradation in Nepal which acknowledges uncertainty in quantitative measurement and enormous heterogeneity in society and environment. A ‘chain of explanation’ starts with the farmer and the natural resources he/she uses and focuses on the decision-making process in using and managing land. The chapter discusses Nepalese development and environment to review work which questions whether much of the visible evidence of soil erosion is due to human agency. The supernatural is often invoked as an explanation for soil erosion and is an example of ‘other causes’ are being ascribed to the process of land degradation.