Hedgerow technology

A technology that uses hedgerows to help establish terraces on sloping land; farmers learn improved methods to manage a cultivation practice that stabilizes the soil, enhances food production, and adds to on-farm cash income.

Hedgerow technology provides options and opportunities for farmers working on sloping land. These hedgerows are a soil conservation measure but they also help to generate additional biomass and fodder and/or income for marginal farmers; in addition, they offer the added benefit of helping to balance the ecosystem and to address climate change by encouraging biodiversity. This improved version of a local technology makes maximum use of indigenous knowledge and adds to it by making available the latest scientific knowledge.

Farmers have traditionally selected plants for hedgerow cultivation based on practical considerations such as the availability of seeds and seedlings, how well seeds germinate, how well the plants grow and how well they can be coppiced, their branching habit, the amount of biomass they can produce, and how much cash the crop can generate. They made these choices without the benefit of any external input or scientific knowledge, relying solely on what they have been able to observe locally over the years. The participatory technology development process aims to help farmers by providing them with scientific input to augment their traditional knowledge on the selection, plan, and design of hedgerows. Over a very short time, the farmers learn to make good use of the new information and start enjoying the benefits that the improved agriculture yields in terms of social, economic, and environmental benefits.

WOCAT database reference: QT NEP 27

Location: Gorkha, Tanhun, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Nawalparasi, Dhading Districts, Nepal

Technology area: 1–10 km2

Conservation measure(s): Vegetative and land management

Land Use: Mixed cropping and agroforestry

Stage of intervention: Preventing land degradation

Origin: Experimental/research

Climate: Subhumid/subtropical

Related approach: Participatory hedgerow management (QA NEP 27)

Other related technology: Gully

plugging using check dams (QT NEP 14)

Compiled by: Gyanbandhu Sharma (LI-BIRD)

Date: : October 2009, updated March 2013

Gorkha, Tanhun, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Nawalparasi, Dhading Districts, Nepal