Back to news
30 May 2017 | News

Soil Erosion a Serious Concern in the Koshi Basin

The high rate at which soil erosion is taking place in the Koshi Basin of Nepal is a serious concern. Soil erosion impacts not just the fertility of agricultural lands negatively, but also the habitats of fish and other species by causing sedimentation in streams and rivers, and clogging waterways.

The entire Koshi Basin in Nepal lost an estimated 40 million tonnes of soil between1990 and 2010, according to a study conducted by the Koshi Basin Programme at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) ( The study, supported by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Aid and Trade (DFAT) through Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP), made efforts to fill the information gap on erosion patterns and dynamics from 1990 to 2010 using geospatial technology.

1 min Read

70% Complete

Published in 2016, the study showed that the soil loss rate estimated was 22 million tonnes per hectare of barren land per year, with 18 million tonnes in 1990 and 15 million tonnes in 2010. In addition, the total soil loss from agricultural land was estimated to be 10 million tonnes in 1990 and 14 million tonnes in 2010. An estimated 39 million tonnes of soil was lost in 1990 and 42 million tonnes in 2010.

Identifying soil loss areas is crucial for planning effective interventions at the ground level in the most erosion-affected areas. Erosion priority areas can be determined for planning and implementing conservation measures and erosion management in Nepal, where there is huge loss of arable land due to soil erosion.

Land cover management approaches such as gully plugging, afforestation of degraded land, improving infiltration through construction of pits, and crop management for vegetation cover, among others, can be implemented in fields on hillslopes, or at the watershed scale in the future.

Studies have shown land degradation, sedimentation, and ecological degradation tend to increase as a result of inappropriate land use and management practices. Soil erosion is contributing to substantial changes in basin hydrology and inundation in the transboundary Himalayan river basins.

Initiatives are needed to help increase awareness among farmers and are crucial to identifying the best options for farming practices to reduce soil loss from cultivated land and provide support for the implementation of appropriate measures.

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

Sign Up

Related content

Continue exploring this topic

24 Aug 2017 News
Participants of On-the-job Training Develop Glacier Change Data for Selected HKH Basins

The outcome of their work was reported to their supervisors at ICIMOD on a weekly basis, where assigned experts provided ...

8 Sep 2016 Gender in Koshi
Ratu River Communities Prepared for Flash Floods

A team from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) visited community based flood early warning system (CBFEWS) sites ...

27 Jul 2018 DFAT Brahmaputra
Synthesizing Knowledge on the Vanishing Springs of the Himalaya

Springs are the main source of water for millions of people in the mid-hills of the HKH and provide multiple ...

Community Participation a Precursor to Sustainable Development and Effective Climate Actions

“There are unprecedented challenges to achieving three goals at a time: poverty reduction, climate resilience, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, ...

29 Jun 2017 Climate change
REDD+ Experts Meet at the Ministry of Climate Change in Pakistan

Broadly, the meeting paved the way forward for creating synergies and future lines of action in the context of REDD+ ...

17 May 2016 News
ICIMOD’s Contribution to Implementation of the Prime Minister’s Directive to Accelerate Socioeconomic Development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts is Recognised

The Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs (MOCHTA) considers ICIMOD’s strategic framework for sustainable development in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of ...

23 Dec 2015 News
A Sunny Future – ICIMOD All Solar

  In its commitment to reduce its institutional carbon foot print and promote renewable energy, ICIMOD signed a contract with Sipradi ...

Yak are our identity: Himalayan herders raise concerns at International Yak Conference

For the first time in the history of the annual International Yak Conference, yak herders from the southern side of ...