King's College, London

Critical Zone Hydrology Group



Global change impacts

Permafrost hydrology
Flood forecasting
Cloud forest hydrology
Tropical deforestation

Sustainable aquifer use



Valorisation and services

Photo gallery


Hydrological Impacts of Reforesting Degraded Pasture Lands in the Middle Mountains of Central Nepal

Researcher: C.P. Ghimire
Current affiliation: ITC, Enschede, The Netherlands



Duration: 2009-2013
Funding: Co-funding between VU and ITC-UT

Research questions

In response to local land degradation and downstream flooding and sediment problems, large tracts in the Nepalese Middle Hills were reforested with conifers in the 1970s. At the same time, several recent reports by influential bodies have stressed the high water use of forest plantations compared to crop- or grassland, claiming that tree planting will invariably lead to diminished water yields. This 'modern' view is at odds with the traditional view that a good forest cover provides stable seasonal flows and that this regulating capacity may be lost if deforestation is followed by poor land husbandry practices. Whilst it is theoretically possible that the higher water use of the newly planted trees may be compensated by enhanced infiltration afforded by soil improvement after tree planting - thereby restoring the original dry-season baseflows - no single study has made the necessary hydrological process measurements at a sufficiently large scale. Thus, 'baseflow boosting' by reforestation has rarely - if ever - been demonstrated in practice. This project seeks to quantify the water use of natural broad-leaf vegetation, mature pine plantation, and degraded grassland as well as the soil water-, and hillslope runoff generation dynamics associated with these three land covers near Dhulikhel, Middle Mountains, Central Nepal.

Project publications

Related publications

Last modified: Wed Dec 30 13:04:45 CET 2015