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Organic farming, conservation, and restoration in a wetland ecosystem

Nepal Jagadishpur, Kapilvastu District

The Alliance for Integrated Development (AID-Nepal) works to protect and manage the resources of Nepal’s largest human-made wetland ecosystem. Organic farming and restoration efforts conserve biodiversity in the area, of birds in particular, and support sustainable livelihood options.

The Jagadishpur wetland is the largest human-made wetland area in Nepal covering an area of 2.25 square kilometres. It was initially constructed in 1972 for irrigation purposes but was later declared a Ramsar site in 2003. The wetland provides important ecological functions and serves as habitat for wildlife, especially birds, while also harbouring water to irrigate more than 6,200 hectares of surrounding agricultural land. The integrity of the wetland is threatened by overexploitation through sand extraction, poaching, land conversion, deforestation, water pollution from inorganic agricultural runoff, and invasive alien species. Furthermore, the wetland is classified as being in a “submerged succession stage,” a stage in a natural transition of open water to swamp to dry woodland. Although part of a natural transition process, this risks disrupting the water security of surrounding farms. Therefore, the Alliance for Integrated Development (AID-Nepal) works to maintain biodiversity in the wetland and create sustainable livelihood options for surrounding communities. The main activities implemented include organic farming, riverbank restoration and reforestation, anti-poaching, sustainable livelihoods, and developing ecotourism. The organic farming practices implemented focus on reducing reliance on chemical fertilisers and integrated pest management, providing technical, in-the-field training to support the implementation of these practices. These efforts all serve to support sustainable livelihood options for surrounding communities and have a particular focus on conserving the variety of birdlife in the wetland, including endangered vultures and cranes.

Case effectiveness on

Climate change

Mitigation: Not reported
Adaptation: Positive

Although not quantified, the restoration of the wetland contributes to improving local water management necessary for adaptation to climate-related stresses.

Ecosystem health

Ecological effect: Positive

The growth of an invasive alien species is reported to have been controlled. Endemic bird populations have reportedly been restored. The restoration of wetland habitats has reportedly restored important ecosystem services. Water pollution from agricultural run-off has reportedly been reduced.

Socioeconomic outcomes

Food security, income from organic farming, and the sale of medicinal plants have all reportedly increased as a result of AID-Nepal's work. Less resources are also being invested in chemical inputs reducing costs for farmers. A reported achievement of the project has been the inclusion of Muslim women who are usually marginalised from participation in public life. AID-Nepal has provided training in participatory wetland conservation, organic farming, and integrated pest management.

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Birds in a foggy wetland

Intervention type

  • Food production
  • Management
  • Restoration
Targets poor/disadvantaged
Conducted at landscape scale

Ecosystem type

  • Aquatic production
  • Streams, rivers, riparian
  • Terrestrial production
  • Wetlands

Climate change impacts addressed

  • Drought
  • Freshwater flooding
  • Reduced water availability

Instigators

  • National environment and development organization

Societal challenges

  • Biodiversity conservation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Disaster risk reduction
  • Economic and Social development
  • Rights/empowerment/equality
  • Food security
  • Water security

Literature info

  • Grey literature
Case methodology not reported

External case resources

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