Circulatory land tenure and its social and ecological impacts (2009)

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This study explores the social and ecological impacts of circulatory land tenure in the villages of Allahdand and Dheri, situated near one another in the lower Swat valley (upper part of Malakand Agency). Apart from communal hill slopes, agricultural land is divided into 3 categories: damani (rainfed), jewardara (irrigated but with no rice), and shoulgarey (irrigated, mainly used for rice). The people permanently own the rainfed land, while the irrigated land is under a tenure system known as garzinda wesh (circulatory tenure), with 10 years' tenure rotation allotted through khasanray (drawing lot). This type of land tenure system also exists partially in other villages of Upper Malakand such as Jolagaram, Khar, and Totakan. This system was introduced in the 16th century with the idea of sharing all types of land?including irrigated land, fertile land, slope land, etc?in equal shares and with the aim of enabling the landowner tribe to respond collectively if some other tribe or majority tenants tried to seize any portion of land. Due to social conflicts, this system can have negative impacts today, especially in the form of soil erosion leading to land degradation. We highlight the positive and negative environmental impacts of the system. To this purpose, a detailed survey was conducted using focus group interviews, participatory rural appraisals, mapping, and transit walks with timelines. The results show how social response to the suitability of the system for livelihoods and social integrity can vary. The impact on fuelwood consumption is negative, leading to deforestation and lack of soil conservation. Abolishment of garzinda wesh in the village is recommended.
Year: 2009
Language: English
In: Mountain Research and Development, Vol 29, No 1, Feb 2009: 59?66: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1659/mrd.898,

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 Record created 2011-12-21, last modified 2013-01-17