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Livestock and land degradation in the Kumaun Himalayan foothills
Livestock, as already emphasized, are an integral part of mixed subsistence hill farming. Figure 8.1 illustrates the critical energy flows between the livestock, forest, and arable sectors, expressed in a simplified form in terms of the dry weight of the materials involved - that is, fodder, dung, grain, milk, and draught power, in relation to human population - rather than their energy equivalents.
Jackson maintains that, because of the close integration of livestock, available forest resources, and crop production, this local subsistence system has several advantages over more 'modern systems in which livestock and crops are separated into watertight compartments.' The latter systems are illustrated in simplified form in Figure 8.2. As long as the subsistence system is in proper balance it is efficient in terms of the ratio of food and fibre output to total solar energy captured, and there is almost no wastage. It is also a self-reliant system, the importance of which cannot be over-emphasized for LDCs dependent upon imported petroleum products.
Jackson believes that the attempt by scientists and agricultural planners in India to visualize the goal of livestock development in terms of a 'western' technological model (Figure 8.2) rather than in terms of improving the efficiency of the existing system (Figure 8.1) has been responsible for the failure to increase livestock productivity. He argues that the most unsatisfactory feature of the subsistence system is the manner in which uncultivated land is managed (primarily the forest component of Figure 8.1). Unrestricted grazing of livestock, in a situation where both animal and human populations are growing rapidly, has led to progressive decline in the density of the vegetative cover and the severe depauperation of the forests. The species composition changes toward a predominance of useless species, while rates of precipitation runoff and soil erosion increase. The productivity of the livestock itself falls as the animals obtain less and less green fodder, which in turn reduces crop yields because there is less available animal manure. (This argument is reminiscent of one of the vicious circles of the Theory of Himalayan Environmental Degradation, but is relevant to the specific case and worthy of following further.)
Figure 8.1 A model of traditional Indian agriculture depicting the individual family holding. This demonstrates Stage I (see p. 179), when adequate resources are available (after Jackson, 1983 unpublished).
Figure 8.2 A model of present-day 'western' agriculture dependent upon high input of artificial fertilizers and pesticides (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
Vegetative Regrowth, Grazing, and Buming
In order to retain a vigorous and sustainable level of growth, plants - both grasses and trees ' must not be defoliated too frequently. After defoliation new leaves initially grow at the expense of food stored by the plant in its root system. At a certain point in their growth they cease being net consumers of previously stored energy and become net producers. This surplus energy is in turn stored in the root system: thus root reserves of energy must be recouped each time before defoliation if the plant is to remain healthy and survive.
Thus, in an ecosystem undisturbed by man, populations of wild grazing animals are usually naturally regulated in relation to the ability of the vegetation to withstand the grazing pressures. Domestic livestock, on the other hand, are stabled at night and thus graze a limited area constantly near the village. A careful management system, therefore, is necessary if a balance is to be maintained. Overgrazing may be defined as 'too-frequent defoliation,' so that net shoot productivity is reduced. This applies both to direct grazing by domestic livestock and to lopping of trees for leaf fodder. Animals and their owners gradually move further afield each day in search of more abundant vegetation, slowly enlarging the circle of degradation. As the human population increases, more villages come into existence and these circles of degradation begin to intersect.
Two additional processes also hasten the deterioration of the overgrazed forests. If seedlings of broad-leaved trees are grazed or lopped too often, they die. Tree seedlings, including the unpalatable species, such as chir pine, are also killed by being trampled. Thus forest areas that incur unrestricted grazing become depauperate and eventually are deforested because there are no new trees to replace those that are cut or that die. The rate at which trees are cut for timber and fuelwood may or may not be greater than the natural rate of growth of replacement trees, but this will be immaterial if grazing prevents the establishment of sufficient replacements (cf. Moench and Bandyopadhyay: 1986 - the 'nibble effect').
Finally, the effects of burning must be considered. Farmers often use fire during the dry season to clear dry grass stubble and dry tree leaves and needles. This is to induce the sprouting of new green shoots from the grasses and herbs to provide a 'green bites for the animals. This practice, however, also further weakens the understorey plants, kills the seedlings, and even large trees.
Stages in the deterioration of the Kumaun foothills
The climax vegetation type of the lower Himalaya, and also of the Terai, is a broad-leaved deciduous forest dominated by sal (Shorea robusta); that of high altitudes consists of various species of conifers interspersed with oaks occupying the sites with better soil and moisture conditions (Gupta, 1979). The succession of grasses leading up to the forest stages in the Kumaun lower Himalaya between 500 and 2,000 m is described by Dabadghao and Shankaranarayan ( 1973). At the highest altitudes the grass species that occur are not only the most productive, but they also cover the ground most completely (they are bunch grasses). At lower altitudes the grass and herb species are both less productive and provide a less complete ground cover. Table 8. l gives an estimate of the areas of the land categories for the eight 'hill districts" of Uttar Pradesh.
During the early historic stages of human occupation of this area people were few in number, crop and animal productivity were high, and little pressure overall was exerted on the mountain forests. (Large areas were also hunting reserves of the local rulers.) Lower-lying sites accessible for irrigation were the first chosen for arable land, and the fields received ample manure from the relatively highly productive domestic livestock. The forests provided a nutritious and adequate diet of green grasses and tree leaves, and many other products. Human diet was adequate and well balanced. Figure 8.1 depicts this situation, which is designated also as Stage I in a progression of deterioration. Progressive increase in the human population results in an increase in clearing of the original forest cover for arable land. This reduces the remaining forest land in relation to fodder, bedding, and fuel requirements. Regression to grassland, or at least shrubberies and depauperate forest, occurs. This is Stage II and is depicted in Figure 8.3. The system is still productive at this stage as grass yields are high. Two important changes are occurring, however. First, there is a reduced access to fuelwood and an increasing amount of animal dung is used for fuel. This lowers the productivity of the cultivated fields. Second, there is a reduction in the amount of green tree leaf fodder to feed the animals during the long dry season (from October to June). Since grass is only green and nutritious during the rainy season, the dry season fare for the animals is largely restricted to straw. Thus fertility of females is reduced and milk yields decline; the growth of calves is limited during the dry season. The productivity of the livestock, and of the entire system, has fallen; so has the well-being of the human population.
Table 8.1 Areas under various land-use categories in the eight hill districts of Uttar Pradesh (1979) (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
|Category of land||Area, 1,000 km²|
|Alpine pastures and blanks||4|
|Remaining (shrub and grass land)||9|
|Total land area||57|
* This refers to the area actually under forest at present, and not to the area officially classified as'forest,'which is much larger since it includes much of the land here shown as'shrub and grass land.'
Figure 8.3 Traditional Indian agriculture, Stage II. The progressive increase in human population has resulted in the regression of nearby forests to grassland, or at least, shrubberies and depauperate forest. The reduced access to fuelwood results in an increasing amount of animal dung being used for fuel (after Jackson, 1983 unpublished).
Continued increases in the human population result in further extension of cultivation. But now recourse is made to steeper slopes with much less fertile soils; farms become smaller. Yet each farmer maintains a traditional complement of livestock: a pair of bullocks, a cow and/or a buffalo, and two or three young animals as eventual replacements. Thus the number of grazing animals per hectare of uncultivated land increases, causing a further regression of the natural vegetation cover to sparse inferior grasses and unpalatable 'weeds.' Output declines further, as Stage III is reached (Figure 8.4).
Jackson (1983, unpublished) maintains that today the vast majority of the land area of the entire Indian subcontinent has been reduced to Stage III. Spontaneous regeneration can still occur on most of this land if grazing pressures can be reduced. If it is not, deterioration will proceed at an accelerating rate, to Stage IV (Figure 8.5). Here, uncultivated land is reduced to barren waste where rainfall is low; where rainfall is fairly high, as in the Kumaun foothills, shrubberies predominate; grasses are scarce and unpalatable species common.
Figure 8.4 Traditional Indian agriculture, Stage III. Continued increase in human population results in further extension of cultivated land, but now recourse is made to farming on steep slopes with less fertile soils. The number of domestic animals per hectare of uncultivated land thereby increases and natural grassland cover is reduced to inferior species and unpalatable 'weeds'. Output declines further (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
Even under Stage IV conditions there is often a tendency for the number of animals per hectare of cultivated land to increase if the number of farms continues to increase by subdivision of existing land. This trend, however, is ultimately replaced by one of falling animal numbers. When this happens preparation of land for sowing of crops is delayed and even hand digging may become necessary (Vaidyanathan et al., 1979; DANIDA, 1980). Degeneration to Stage IV virtually precludes natural regeneration. Assisted regeneration by planting, however, can slowly bring the land back into productivity, as experience in West Asia and China has shown; the cost, nevertheless, is very high.
Figure 8.5 Traditional Indian agriculture, Stage IV. Further increases in grazing pressures reduce much of the grassland to barren wasteland where rainfall is low or where rainfall is high as in the Kumaun foothills, to shrubberies, sparse grasses, and unpalatable species (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
Why are there too many animals?
Since the obvious immediate cause of this progression, overgrazing, is too many animals, it is worthwhile looking into the reasons for animal population increase. Why, for instance, do farmers maintain animals that may be infertile and moribund? Even if the animals do not provide an adequate return, the farmer also has no costs under the present system of unrestricted grazing on village common land or on government land. The labour expended on grazing the animals cannot be put to alternate productive use since the family members are underemployed. The sale value of old and unproductive bovines is so low that it is usually worthwhile to keep them solely for their low level of dung production. The individual farmer is most likely well aware that the collective grazing of too many animals is a major cause of the progressive environmental deterioration, but as an individual he is helpless to do anything about it. If he reduces his animal stock, his plight may become worse than at present because he cannot be sure his example will be emulated. Again, he probably knows well enough that a change in the system of land management (especially of the uncultivated land) could enable a significant increase in productivity, but as an individual he is powerless to make any changes because everyone has rights of access to the uncultivated land. Social and economic disparities in the village have served to prevent effective collective action.
There is a widely held view that the continued existence of excessive numbers of animals is the result of religious stringencies. However, the problem of excessive livestock numbers (including cattle) and overgrazing is common in many non-Himalayan countries and the basic cause is lack of control over grazing. Jackson (1983, unpublished) also points out that a study of livestock census figures reveals that the growth in numbers in India is due primarily to an increase in buffaloes and goats, not cattle. Finally in this context, Vaidyanathan et al. (1979), by means of a critical analysis of bovine species and sex ratios, have concluded that religious sentiment is not an important factor in the decisions farmers make to keep or dispose of their animals. It is extremely important, therefore, for agricultural development planners to understand this point. Jackson believes that, if this were not the case, there would be no solution.
Proposal for the restoration of productivity in the Kumaun foothills
The present situation in the Kumaun Himalayan foothills can be described from the point of view of the individual family. In Figure 8.6 an attempt is made to do this using the local farming model. The data, provided in Table 8.2, have been obtained from a detailed survey of households in Dwarahat Block of Almora district, Uttar Pradesh. The biomass data are derived from actual monthly weighing. The survey is as yet incomplete and the data are thus tentative. However, no other set of data suitable for this purpose is known to exist and refinements will be made as more and better data accrue.
Dwarahat Block is in the more heavily populated belt that runs northwest to southeast through the mountains of Uttar Pradesh. Most of the cultivated mountain land is found in this belt. In satellite photographs the area shows up distinctly because of its thinner vegetative cover and higher incidence of soil erosion. Human population density in Dwarahat Block is about 170/km². Onethird of the area of the block is cultivated. The Forest Department manages 50 percent of the uncultivated land for commercial forestry, though villagers have grazing and fuel-gathering rights on this land. A further 30 percent of the uncultivated land is managed by the Forest Department solely for the benefit of the local population. The remaining uncultivated area is in panchayat land or is privately owned. Nowhere, however, are there thick stands of trees; the general aspect of the landscape is of treeless hills with sparse grass cover, shrubberies, and individual trees. Altitude ranges from 1,000 to 2,000 m. Water scarcity is acute during the dry season. These characteristics are typical of the larger cultivated belt of the outer Himalayan ranges of Uttar Pradesh.
Figure 8.6 indicates that the net result of the present agricultural activity in Dwarahat Block is only enough food for a very inadequate diet for the residents for about two-thirds of the year. The output of forest products which earn government revenue is also meagre, because of the very poor condition of the forests. And as dismal as this picture is, the more important point to be grasped is that it will get worse. The uncultivated land will become completely barren, or, at best, covered with useless shrubs. And it cannot be argued that in the plains this stage was reached centuries ago and yet agriculture is still continuing there, so why should we be concerned about the mountains? Mountain soils are inherently poorer than plains soils - in structure, depth, composition, and nutrient content, as well as in water-holding capacity. If their productivity is low now, what would it be with no organic matter additions?
The deterioration in the productivity of the mountain environment has now been defined as a function of deterioration in the vegetative cover of uncultivated land. The basic strategy for development, therefore, must be to repair that vegetative cover and then to maintain it. Unless this is done nothing else that is being attempted (such as soil conservation, new cropping practices, orchards, roads) will alter the present trend of decay.
Figure 8.6 The situation of an individual family holding today in the Dwarahat Block. Almora district. Uttar Pradesh Pradesh Jackson. 1983. unpublished)
Degraded grassland - Stage III- will regenerate spontaneously if properly managed. 'Proper management' implies reducing the frequency of defoliation so that grass plants gain strength, spread, and set seed. To achieve this the management of livestock will have to be altered. If animals are to be grazed, grazing on any one parcel of land must be permitted for only a few days at regular, long intervals (for example, one month during the rainy season and six months during the dry season). The alternative is not to graze animals at all, but to cut the grass and stall-feed animals. The advantages of cutting and carrying are that: 1) it is easier to organize than rotational grazing; 2) young tree seedlings are not destroyed; 3) cattle tracks, which erode in the rain, are not created; 4) all dung goes to cultivated land; 5) livestock parasite loads are less; 6) damage to standing crops and terrace risers is reduced. Against this is the great labour requirement of cutting and carrying. However, if the objective of hill development is to create more employment, this should be acceptable, provided that the labour expended on cutting and carrying grass is remunerative. Figure 8.7 suggests that this can be achieved.
Much thought has been given to the mechanics of rehabilitating uncultivated land in the context of cutting and carrying grass, as part of the Tinau Watershed Management Project (1980). This is a major Swiss-aid supported project in similar terrain in southern Nepal. A start is made by enclosing (preferably with quick-growing hedges) approximately one tenth of the area to be rehabilitated. Grazing is eliminated from this area, but allowed to continue in the remaining nine-tenths. The grass in the enclosed area is not cut until after the rainy season so that it will shed seed. If the existing cover is too thin, seeding of higheryielding indigenous bunch grasses can be done by hand. Within three to four years output should have increased two- to fourfold. At this point, the grass may be cut two to three times during the rainy season on a rotational basis to give a daily supply of green grass. Another section of the original area, two to four times larger than the first, should next be enclosed for rehabilitation. In this way even bigger portions of the original area can be rehabilitated without reducing total grass output during the process. A gradual change from grazing to cutting and carrying is also effected.
As has been pointed out earlier, grassland yields green, nutritious fodder only during and immediately after the rainy season. In the interest of effective feeding of livestock, therefore, use of trees, which provide green leaf fodder during the dry season, should be part of the rehabilitation programme. This will also serve the needs for timber and fuelwood. Here one is obviously not thinking of natural regeneration of forest, but of planting and intensively managing (for example, coppicing) specifically selected species. Trees also yield more fodder per hectare than grass. Again the Tinau Watershed Management authorities (1980) have identified species, collected information on growing them, and have organized seed and seedling production. Their programme of rehabilitating uncultivated land calls for the planting of trees for fodder production even while the grass cover is regenerating. Within eight to ten years these trees will produce the bulk of the fodder from the area so treated. It is estimated that yields of green forage of 120 quintals/ha on an airdry basis are feasible (plus IS quintals of grass from under the trees). Many of the fodder trees they have identified are leguminous. Intensively managed firewood plantations are estimated to be capable of yielding 35 quintals of dry wood/ha/yr. Of course, fodder trees also yield some fuelwood, and fuelwood trees some leaf fodder.
Figure 8.7 Idealized representation of plan for rehabilitation of uncultivated land in Dwarahat Block, Almora district, Uttar Pradesh (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
The impact of rehabilitating uncultivated land in Dwarahat Block along the lines described above is depicted in Figure 8.7 using data provided in Table 8.2. By following the proposed programme the productivity of the entire farming system will improve. The output now includes enough cereal grains to feed the family for the entire year, or 7.4 q/ yr more than at present; 2.25 litres of milk per day, or 1.5 litres per day more than at present; 40 quintals fuelwood/yr, or 25 percent more than at present, and an occasional surplus animal for sale, where there is none at present. The monetary value of these gains in productivity is about Rs 2,300/family/yr (about US $250) at current market prices. Increased revenue from government-managed forests would be of the order of Rs 4 crore/yr (US $4 million) for the block as a whole (18,000 ha x Rs 2,700/ha), or a ten-fold increase over present revenue. If 20 percent of this revenue were to be paid out in wages and salaries to local people an average family would earn Rs 600/yr. If present income per family is taken to be Rs 4,000 (G.B. Pant University, 1976) average family income would increase by 75 percent (Rs 4,000 to Rs 7,000/year).
Further gains in productivity and income could also be obtained from ancillary measures. These include chopping fodder and stall-feeding it, chemical treatment of straw to improve its feeding value, providing mineral supplements, better health care for animals, better composting techniques, improvement of terraces to reduce erosion, the use of chemical fertilizers for crop production, the use of a smokeless chula (with 50 percent increased fuel efficiency), and improved means of grain storage. And, in addition to making life more pleasant, increased resources would be available for developing irrigation.
Still further gains in income might be made by farmers near the better-class roads and towns by using the increased productivity of the land differently. Some might find it more profitable to replace cereal crops with grass and fodder trees and produce milk for sale by keeping more animals. (They could also replace their bullock with a cow, producing still more milk on the same feed budget.) Similarly, fruit might be more attractive to some farmers than grain. A shift from grain to fruit would also permit more animals and more milk could be produced. These alternatives should be particularly attractive to farmers whose fields are marginal for cultivation.
Administrative and legal considerations
Having considered the technical aspects of rehabilitating uncultivated land, and the possible benefits, the administrative and legal aspects must be taken into account. In the Kumaun mountains uncultivated land was 'reserved' at the beginning of the present century, that is, it was closed to the local population who previously had had free access to it for grazing their livestock and collecting fuelwood. This caused much resentment which expressed itself in large-scale burning of forests. This led to the forest satyagrahas associated with the Gandhi resistance to British rule, from which the Chipko Movement has its inspiration (Shiva and Bandyopadhyay, 1986b). In 1921 about half of the closed area was reopened to the local people by the creation of civil and panchayat 'forests,. The government, however, retained ownership of the civil 'forests' and assumed the responsibility for their maintenance. The management of the panchayat 'forests' became the responsibility of the village panchayats. At present, even government land not redesignated civil or panchayat 'forests' is, for the most part, open to the local population. By an area teeing 'open' it is meant that the local people can graze their livestock, lop trees for fodder, collect fallen branches for fuel, and pick up forest litter for bedding livestock. They are also allowed timber from civil and panchayat forests. Rules exist for regulating all these activities but they are not now enforced. Indeed, they cannot be, in view of the dwindling availability of grass and wood and the increasing demand for them.
This is an extremely unsatisfactory state of affairs and is the root cause of the abuse of uncultivated land. Continued ownership of the land by the government and all the rules and regulations by which it seeks to control the use of this land has placed it in opposition to the people. The fact that the land is 'open' to them or earmarked only for their use has not mitigated against this antagonism. The mountain people, understandably, have developed an irresponsible attitude toward this land, one of getting as much out of it as they can with no feeling of responsibility for its maintenance. At the same time they are not unaware that their activities are causing the evident deterioration. But they feel helpless in a situation in which they do not have effective control of the land that sustains them. It is this pervasive attitude of helplessness that characterizes the mountain people's attitude to farming and to life in general. No 'development' whatsoever is possible under such circumstances.
The lesson to be learned from this situation is that people must own the land that sustains them if they are to use it responsibly and if their sense of selfconfidence is to be maintained. It might be argued that some land was turned over to the people, the village panchayat land, and that its condition is as bad as that of the civil 'farest' lend. However, the true significance of this fact is that collective ownership of land is not the solution to the problem either. As pointed out earlier, the prevailing social and economic disparities among people in the village are not conducive to a democratic and effective control over the use of community-owned land.
Table 8.2 Statistics for the average farm in Dwarahat Block, AImora, district Uttar Pradesh, present and rehabilitated (after Jackson, 1983, unpublished).
|Item||Present||Rehabilitated||Note reference numbers²|
|Number of people||7.1||7.1||1|
|Number of adult units||5.5||5.5||2|
|Area of cultivated land, ha||0.9||0.9||3|
|Area of uncultivated land, ha||2.8||2.8||4|
|Number of cow units||3.6||3.6||5|
|Grain produced, q/yr¹||9.2||16.6||6|
|Straw and dry grass produced, q/yr||23.4||33.2||7|
|Green grass, weeds, etc. from cultivated land, q/yr on air-dry basis||3.0||9.0||8|
|Green fodder from uncultivated||35.5||74.0||9|
|land, q/yr on air-dry basis|
|Bedding material, q/yr||5.0||25.0||10|
|Milk, litres/year (after feeding calf)||261.0||820.00||13|
|Saleable livestock, cow units/yr||-||0.17||14|
|Quantity of compost, q/yr||25.7||83.10||15|
|(undecomposed, air-dry equivalent)|
|Nitrogen addition to cultivated land through compost, kg/yr||22.9||88.80||16|
Source: G.B. Pant University ( 1980).
¹q/yr = quintals/year.
²See notes to the table, overleaf.
The proposed remedy, therefore, is to parcel up and lease panchayat and civil land to individual families. Leases could be for a lifetime and should be nontransferable, except to one legal heir of the lessee. Leased parcels of land should be equal in area for all families, irrespective of how much cultivated land they own. This land could be used by the family only for grass and/or trees but not for crops or orchards. A provision could be made for revoking the lease for misuse of the land. The land area to be thus leased would be equal to the present combined area of civil and panchayat land, but should be that land nearest to the villages and least vulnerable to erosion. Distant land in a difficult terrain should be retained by the government as forest land and managed intensively for profit. Local people would no longer have any rights in this forest. The government could assist the farmers to rehabilitate the land leased to them by providing technical guidance and (for payment) inputs such as tree seedlings.
Notes on data in Table 8.2
1. The average number of people per household was obtained by random survey of sixty families in fifteen villages (G.B. Pant University, 1980). Data from a survey conducted in Dwarahat Block in June 1980 (Data Systems Inc., 1980) indicates that population has not increased since the last general census in 1971. Consequently, no increase in population is being assumed for the next decade.
2. An adult unit is defined here as one adult (individuals above eighteen years of age), or two children (individuals below eighteen years of age).
3. The cultivated land areas for individual holdings have been obtained by dividing the total cultivated area in a village by the number of its families. Data were collected from Patwaris in thirty randomly selected villages in the Block (G.B. Pant University, 1980). The term 'cultivated land' includes areas in permanent grass and orchards since such areas are privately owned and are not grazed. It is considered that the area of cultivated land should not increase in the future, keeping in view the very marginal nature of the remaining land.
4. The average area of uncultivated land per holding was calculated by dividing the total uncultivated area of the Block (excluding only land under 'nonagricultural uses) by the number of families in the Block (calculated from the thirty-village sample mentioned in note 3 above). This figure therefore includes all uncultivated land, irrespective of its official classification as to ownership or for revenue purposes. This is done because virtually all land not cultivated is subjected to grazing and tree lopping by the local people. In the rehabilitated system depicted in Figure 8.7, 50 percent of this land is considered to be leased to the local people and the remainder to be owned and managed by the government (Forest Department). This corresponds to the actual division of this land at present between land classified es 'Forest Department' land, on the one hand, and as 'civil forests and 'panchayat farest,' on the other.
5. Livestock enumeration was done with sixty randomly selected families in fifteen villages in June 1980 (G.B. Pant University, 1980). The cow unit equivalent of various animals has been taken as follows: cow = I unit; bullock = 1; buffalo = 1.5; cow calf = 0.5; buffalo calf = 0.75; goat = 0.15. On an average each family owns 0.92 cow, 0.57 buffalo, 0.92 bullock, 1.1 cow calf, 0.37 buffalo calf, and 0.15 goat. In the rehabilitated system the same number of animals are envisaged.
6. Present grain production was determined by a random survey of sixty families in fifteen villages (G.B. Pant University, 1980). Total production per family is 9.2 q/yr. Assuming that 20 percent of the crop is saved for seed or spoiled, and including usual milling losses, the net edible grain per family is 5.5 quintals. Each family also purchases 4.4 quintals of grain, mostly from government ration shops. This gives a total family consumption of 9.9 q/yr (493 g per adult unit per day).
In the rehabilitated system it is expected that a grain production of 16.6q/yr could be achieved on the same area of cultivated land. This is because of the additional compost the land would receive (see notes 15 and 16 below). The net edible grain from this much production would cover the family's need for about 9.9 q/yr.
7. Straw production is assumed to be twice the grain production on an average for all crops. Dry grass production from private grass plots (included under 'cultivated land') is assumed to be 5 q/yr at present. This would be harvested green in the rehabilitated system.
8. The figures for green grass and weeds from cultivated fields, terrace risers, and so on, are assumed to be 3 and 4 q/yr on air-dry basis for the present and the rehabilitated system, respectively: add 5 q/yr to this (see note 7 above) for the rehabilitated system.
9. Grass output from uncultivated land in the present system is taken as 12.7q/ha/yr on an air-dry basis. This value was determined by actual cutting and weighing from areas protected by wire cages and cut frequently to simulate defoliation by grazing animals (G.B. Pant University, 1980). This assumption ignores the fact that some grass from uncultivated land is harvested by hand and that some tree leaves are lopped from the few trees that are still found on this land. In the rehabilitated system 1.4 ha out of 2.8 ha is leased to farmers, and 1.4 ha is retained by the government for intensive, commercial forestry. Out of the farmer's 1.4 ha, I ha is assumed to be planted with fuelwood trees yielding 35 q/ha/yr of fuelwood, 20 q/ha/yr of green leaves (air-dry equivalent basis) and 20 q/ha/yr of dry leaves for bedding. The remaining 0.4 ha is planted with leguminous fodder trees which yield 120 q/ha/yr of green fodder leaves and 15 q/ha/yr grass (both on an air-dry equivalent basis). These yield data were taken from the Tinau Watershed Management Project (1980).
10. Bedding material, here considered to be fallen leaves/ needles, is estimated to be 5 q/yr on an air-dry basis for the present system and 25 q, for the rehabilitated system.
11. Fuelwood consumption at present was found by questionnaire to be 32 q/family/yr in Dwarahat Block. In the rehabilitated system, 35 quintals could be produced from the one-ha fuel-tree plantation and another 5 from the 0.4 ha fodder-tree plantation.
12. Timber consumption may be of the order of I q/ family/ yr at present. In the family survey conducted in Dwarahat Block (G.B. Pant University, 1980) only a few families attempted to estimate their average annual timber consumption. This figure is thus only an approximation. In the rehabilitated system the farmer would not produce timber. They would have to purchase it.
13. Milk yields of animals have not yet been determined by actual weighing (G.B. Pant University, 1980). The basis of these estimates are as follows:
|Present system||Rehabilitated system|
|Milk yield/ cow/ lactation, litres||200||600|
|Milk yield/ buffalo/ lactation, litres||600||1 ,200|
|Calving interval of cow, yr||2||1.5|
|Calving interval of buffalo, yr||2||1.5|
|Consumption of milk by calf up to weaning, litres||100||200|
These improvements in productivity would result from better feeding alone. The data on feed consumption, based upon the figures already given in previous notes, are:
|Present system||Rehabilitated system|
|Green fodder, kg/head/day (air-dry basis)||2.7||6.3|
|Straw and dry grass, kg/head/day||1.8||2.5|
|Total fodder availability||4.5||8.8|
*Assuming a body weight of 200 kg for an adult unit at present, and 300 for the rehabilitated system, and a capacity of 2.5 kg dry-matter/ adult unit/day/ 100 kg body weight
14. The present system is assumed not to produce any saleable livestock on an average, except for the odd goat. The average complement of adult livestock on a farm is approximately one cow or buffalo, and one bullock. On an average, therefore, one adult can be replaced after 1.3 years with the calving rates given in note 13. A more realistic figure would probably be 2 years, considering mortality. At this rate every animal has a working life of 6 years. In the rehabilitated system calving rates are increased so that the adult could be replaced every 4.5 years. This offers scope to sell animals, either the culled adult or the replacement calf. If a working life of 6 years is assumed for the rehabilitated system also, one animal could be sold every 6 years.
15. Compost is made up of dung and bedding (uneaten fodder also). In the present system the diet can be assumed to be 50 percent digestible. Dung production would thus be 29.6 q/yr on an air-dry equivalent basis. One-third of this is produced during grazing. Bedding adds 5 quintals. Total compost, therefore, is 34.6 q on an undecomposed basis. In the rehabilitated system the digestibility of the diet can be assumed to be similar, i.e. 50 percent. Total compost thus becomes 80 q/yr (all dung goes into the compost heap).
16. The nitrogen added to the cultivated land through compost has been calculated on the basis of the following assumptions:
(a) Straw, dry grass and bedding material contain 0.5 percent nitrogen on an air-dry basis. Green grass and weeds contain 1.5 percent and tree leaves contain 2 percent.
(b) Three kg of nitrogen are retained by livestock of the farm in the present system and 10 kg in the rehabilitated system.
(c) One-third of all excrete at present is dropped on uncultivated land. In the rehabilitated system all dung and urine go into the compost heap.
(d) One half of the nitrogen in fresh dung and bedding is lost by leaching and volatilization from the compost heap.
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