Indigenous technology knowledge for watershed management in upper north-west Himalayas of India (GCP/RAS/161/NET)

Table of Contents


L. R. Verma

Illustrations by Mohinder Singh Chauhan

Edited by Aparna Negi and Prem N. Sharma

Watershed Management Technology Center (WATMATEC) of the Dr. YSP University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, HP, India


Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) NETHERLANDS/FAO (UN), GCP/RAS/161/NET, Kathmandu, Nepal


The Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA). Program (GCP/RAS/161/NET, FAO/Netherlands) is designed for human resource development in participatory watershed management of forest, soil, water and other natural resources by enhancing skills and national capabilities to plan, implement, evaluate and monitory participatory watershed rehabilitation programs. This will be achieved by regional training, workshops, seminars and national and regional watershed management networking. The PWMTA is closely linked and complimentary to the FARM program.

Many of the Asian countries are seriously investing in WM today. However, few are providing training in holistic approach to participatory watershed management. PWMTA is to assist the member countries in filling this gap.

(ASIAN WATershed Management NETwork)

This is a regional network for people's participation in watershed management founded in Nov. 1994 by the national coordinators of the FAO/UNDP RAS/93/063, WMTUH/FARM program. It is now sponsored by the PWMTA, GCP/RAS/161/NET program of the FAO/Netherlands along with the RAS/93/062, FARM program. Its member countries are the participating countries in the PWMTA program. The network is to facilitate: farmers' organizations for watershed management at small watershed, village, district and national level, exchange of experiences at farmers, extensionists, as well as technical, professional, educator and policy maker level, exchange of information among the member countries, and strengthen a movement of the fragile watersheds in the Asian region. It also publishes a quarterly ASIAN WATMANET newsletter.

The designations employed and the presentation of the materials in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion on the part of the FAO (UN), UNDP or the Netherlands concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation's of its frontiers or boundaries.

The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not imply any opinion what so ever in the part of the FAO (UN), UNDP or the Netherlands.

First Edition: Aug., 1998

PWMTA Field Document No. 15

Copyright ©1998

Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan, HP, India
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the UN


Participatory Watershed Management Training in Asia (PWMTA) Program
GCP/RAS/161/NET, FAO (UN), U.N. Bldg., P.O. Box 25, Kathmandu, Nepal

Cover photo:

Women of the Upper Himalayas-Conservators of the indigenous knowledge systems

For copies write to:

Prem N. Sharma, FAO (UN), P.O. Box 25, Kathmandu, Nepal

This electronic document has been scanned using optical character recognition (OCR) software and careful manual recorrection. Even if the quality of digitalisation is high, the FAO declines all responsibility for any discrepancies that may exist between the present document and its original printed version.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - Bio-physical and socio-economic set up in the Indian Upper Himalayas

Cold deserts in Western Himalayas
Bio-physical features
Socio-economic features
Temperate Zone in Western Himalayas
Bio-physical features
Socio-economic features

Chapter 2 - Soil and water management techniques

Sources of irrigation water
Construction of kuhls (water channels)
Distribution of kuhl water in fields
Use of kuhl water for running water mills
Methods of irrigation
Water harvesting methods
Moisture conservation through mulching
Use of smoke for protecting fruit crops from frost damage
Soil management
Soil fertility management
Use of ash in Ladakh

Chapter 3 - Forestry and agro-forestry management practices

Katha extraction
Plantation crop combination
Large cardamom based agroforestry system
Bamboo groves as a component of agriculture holdings (Agri-silviculture)
Multipurpose trees on the crop land
Private and community fodder wood blocks
Seabuckthorn: Potential resource

Chapter 4 - Livestock and fodder management

Migration of flocks of sheep and goats
Traditional management practices adopted by Gaddi Shepherds
Grazing in higher reaches for Pashmina Wool
Traditional methods of animal treatment herbal treatment
Ethnopharmaceutical care of cattle
Sustained livestock/animal husbandry
Hay/dry grass storage in fields
Traditional wool combing and spinning

Chapter 5 - Folk agronomy

Prioritisation of crop sowing
Mixed cropping
Rotational farming
Crop threshing employing animals
Use of yak and bullocks for ploughing
Traditional germplasm of agricultural crops
Uniform seed broadcasting and appropriate seed rate
Rice dehusking
Weeding, strengthening, thinning and gap filling in maize crop
Crushing of coriander seeds with shoe before sowing
Crop harvesting on slopy lands
Seed selection for higher productivity
Distribution of organic manure
Minimum tillage (mechanical and biological practices for soil management)
Dividing the fields into sub-plots
Landuse for optimum resource management
ITK for vegetable cultivation
ITK for horticultural crops

Chapter 6 - Plant protection practices

Ploughing, hoeing and basin preparation
Hand picking of pests
Cow-dung and clay mixture
Pruning of fruit trees
Use of wood ash on and around vegetable crops
Beating drums and using domestic dogs for combating the menace of birds and monkeys
Kerosene oil for killing borers
Use of walnut and swetflag leaves against pests in stored grains
Indigenous beekeeping practices

Chapter 7 - Post-harvest management of food crops

Cleaning of grains
Packaging of food commodities
Storage of food commodities
Wheat in Chhota Bhangal (Kangra)
Drying of fruit and vegetables
Distilled country liquor
Traditional apple plucking

Chapter 8 - Weather forecasting

History of indigenous rain making
ITK for weather prediction
Social and cultural beliefs

Chapter 9 - Tools and implements

Tillage implements
Interculture operation tools
Harvesting tools:
Postharvest tools and implements
Miscellaneous tools

Glossary of local terms