International Satoyama Intiative

IPSI, the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative, promotes collaboration in the conservation and restoration of sustainable human-influenced natural environments (Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes and Seascapes: SEPLS) through broader global recognition of their value.

Socio-Ecological Landscape Change as a Preamble to Mountainous Urban Watershed Rejuvenation, Kanshi of the Jhelum River Basin, Potohar Plateau, Pakistan

SUBMITTED ORGANISATION : Centre for Integrated Mountain Research (CIMR), University of the Punjab, Pakistan
  • Group:Water
REGION : Southern Asia
COUNTRY : Pakistan
Google map: Google Map link to region
SUMMARY : Changing Geo-environmental factors are entirely different from those of urban anthropogenic systems. Similarly, these systems are self-motivated, diverse and prone to procedural shifts, and change. Resultantly, corrections between Geo-environmental and human factors distress sustainability differently. Ill-planned urbanization is one of the major causes to disturb natural ecosystem sustainability. Paper highlighted socio-cultural landscape changes along the Kanshi sub-watershed of Jhelum River basin of the Potohar Plateau and its intimate involvement for indigenous urban sustainability. Kanshi River flows to southward and joins Jhelum River in eastward direction. The climate ranges from semi-arid to sub-humid-sub-tropical and sub-mountainous though extreme temperature may rise as high as 49.4oC in June and may drop as low as -1.6°C in January. The rainfall is low in the south-west which gradually increases towards north-east whereas the Salt Range is the major topographic feature controlling climate. Tran-disciplinary approach is incorporated in this research to appraise social-ecological landscape systems (SELS) dynamics and urban morphology. By using on-site morphological and biological parameters, urban watershed quality has been assessed. It is pertinent to considerate momentary performance of SELS and its response to interruption. Thus, reliable management strategies be initiated that may rejuvenate, enhance capabilities and ensure sustainable development in fastly deteriorated mountainous urban watersheds.
KEYWORD : morphological and biological parameters, urban watershed quality; dynamicity; socio-ecological landscape systems
AUTHOR: Khalida Khan, Centre for Integrated Mountain Research (CIMR), University of the Punjab, Pakistan; M. Ikram, Centre for Integrated Mountain Research (CIMR); Sachiko Takahi, Faculty of Education and Human Studies, Akita University, Japan; Razi Iqbal, Graduate School of Engineering & Resource Science, Akita University, Japan
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 The rejuvenation of watershed areas is crucial as they are water supply sources for socio-ecological production landscape developments also in downstream command areas. About 100 years ago, the Pakistan was considered as an agricultural based society. At present 80% live in urban and sub-urban areas. Land use planning and ecological balance is very much interlinked with population of an area. Ever growing population of Pakistan has decreased per capita share of land. An estimated population for 2010 is about 180 million while urban population increased during 1950-2008 (32.34) above seven times comparing with over four times growth in total population (Table 1). World Bank Annual Report (2010) figured out 64229551.71 the urban population in Pakistan. In Table statistics exposed a significant decrease in population to the rural areas last 30 years i.e. 1981 to 2010. Data revels that every second person lives in town/city of Pakistan. This unprecedented expansion of the cities initiated extraordinary environmental effects.

Table-1 shows spatial distribution of the urban population with total population in Pakistan.

Census Population Urban
1951 33,816,000 17.80%
1961 42,978,000 22.46%
1972 65,321,000 25.40%
1981 84,254,000 28.28%
1998 130,580,000 32.51%
2008 172,800,000 32.34%
Source:-Land Use Atlas of Pakistan (2004) National Land Use Plan Project Ministry of Environment Government of Pakistan

This study examined the correlation among, land use/ landscape and traditional attitudes change in ex-urban landscapes. Jones et al. (2003) analyzed that much ex-urban migration has been inspired specifically by a wish to live in a relatively natural setting.  Significant migration of rural population to semi urban and urban in search of an improved quality of life has produced substantial concern about socio-ecological collapse. During this study it has disclosed a multifaceted actor of interacting social and ecological change with some reasons for apprehension, but also confidence level. We have discussed Socio-ecological Landscape Change of the Kanshi watershed of the Jhelum River Basin.  The associated ecological changes have been mixed so far, with forest cover and riparian areas recovering from historic, grazing and timber harvest.

The Kanshi Watershed (Study Area)

It covered coordinated area of latitude 33°14’54.59″N and longitude 73°36′ E, having area of about 1111.104 km2 near to Palote located in semi-arid to sub-humid sub-tropical and sub-mountainous though extreme temperature may rise as high as 49.4 °C in June and may drop as low as -1.6 °C in January. Mean annual 30.9 ºC, mean maximum 44.4 ºC and mean minimum temperatures are 2.8 ºC respectively. Gujar Khan and Kahua (Kanshi basin) is a small but have emerging growing cities in the mainly rural, farming and inhabited area. Kanshi is sub-watershed of Mangla watershed which is situated in Tehsil of Gujar Khan and Kahuta Tehsil of Rawalpindi District. (Figure-1).. Stated by Akif et al, (2015) area is rain-fed where most water available in wet period of monsoon, average annual rainfall 4.5cm and contributes the average annual flow 2 MAF of water into Mangla Dam. Population Census Organization deliberated (1998) that total area of Gujar Khan is 1,457 km² & population density is 339.1 per km² while average annual growth rate is 1.87.

Figure 1: Mangla watershed and its sub-watersheds (kunhar, Neelum, Jhelum, Poonch and Kanshi)

Figure 1: Mangla watershed and its sub-watersheds (kunhar, Neelum, Jhelum, Poonch and Kanshi)


The present study was designed to map, classify present land uses and to assess the role of urbanization, natural & anthropogenic activities in disturbance of land use and water resources. Study was designed into three steps, pre-field, in field and post-field and finally primary and secondary data collection, analysis and documentation. Steps were taken as follows:-

Decadal meteorological data for the period for the last 30 years, 1983-2013 was evaluated separately on decadal (ten days) as well as on monthly basis. In reconnaissance soil survey (1987), groups of soils were delineated in terms of their component taxonomic soil levels (series, phases or variants), which are the basic units of the present classification. The criterion was used by consulting “Key to United States Department of Agriculture’s Soil Classification and the Soil Survey Manual” (1998). Methodology included:

  • Field visits and reconnaissance in sub-watersheds through formal & informal meetings with compatible public and private organizations, surveys, etc.
  • A questionnaire based structured Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) to endorse in the selected Kanshi sub-watersheds of Jhelum River Basin
  • Identification of different land use according to soil, climate, water availability, agriculture and geological hazards
  • Seminar and community meetings (Awareness campaigns) for watershed resources sustainable management
  • Identification of community Interest groups (youth and students) for on-site trainings, field visits and demonstration for improved livelihood practices.
  • Diagnostic surveys and analysis to estimate: land use changes, water resources, urban settings, sewage disposal systems, existing agriculture, livestock, soil erosion and deforestation features etc.

Characterization and classification of selected sub-watersheds including land use and land cover images for analysis through Arc GIS 9.2 and Erdas imagine 9.1 from 10×10 meter resolution, topography, geology maps acquired by Geological Survey of Pakistan (2011) and statistical software (SPSS) for calculation and predication


Kanshi River is one of the major drainage of the upland Potohar plateau in Salt Range. Unlike the other rivers of Punjab plain Kanshi River eroding the material and not depositing it. Kanshi River flows seasonal in a southerly and then in an easterly direction to join the river Jhelum. There are six main tributaries of Kanshi River namely “Gulin”, “Guliana”, “Kurri”, “Phahna”, “Har” and “Missa” which finally drain into the Kanshi River (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Location of study area showing digitized infrastructure i.e. main Kanshi River, stream network, metalled roads, district boundary, Mangla dam & main towns/cities

Figure 2: Location of study area showing digitized infrastructure i.e. main Kanshi River, stream network, metalled roads, district boundary, Mangla dam & main towns/cities

Study area is filled with tertiary and quaternary soil deposits. Watershed and riparian zones are suffering massive impacts due to rapid growing population. These impacts carry an ecological and economic price tag. There is an increasing recognition of the social, economic, and ecological values of such endeavors. Due to non-availability of appropriate data, pre impact environment conditions can hardly be restored. Overall forested area, including range lands, is 10.5 million ha, of which only 1.4 million ha are valuable forests. According to the World Bank Annual Report (2010), arable land area in Pakistan has been estimated as per person documented in Food and agriculture organization of the United Nation’s website (2011) “from 0.4 ha in 1951 to 0.16 ha in 1995 and 0.12 in 2009” that has highlighted a continuum decreasing trend. An alarming projected population growth to 350 million by 2050 of Pakistan will further reduce its agriculture land per person from 0.08 hectares at present to 0.03 hectares ( During physical primary surveys and interviews, rural-residential owners exposed contradictory approaches to its changing landscape scenario. The climatic conditions of Kahuta and Gujar Khan are not favorable for agriculture. There are generally two crops in a year, “Rabi[1]” and “Kharif[2]”. “Rabi” crop is followed by “Kharif” crop. This system is locally known as “Dosala[3]”. “Wheat”, “Bajra[4]” and “Maize” are the common “Rabi” and “Kharif” crops.. Vegetables are also grown in the areas where water from the hill is available. People use groundwater to fulfill the household needs and tube-well water for drinking purpose. Mostly the soil formation is soft and consists of surficial deposits, Soan formation, Dhok Pathan formation and Nagri formation. The soils are mostly weakly structured, generally moderately calcareous but locally non-calcareous with pH value around 8.0.  Four types of soil series namely Kahuta, Qazian, Guiana and Missa are found in the study area. Agricultural practices are increased and land is cleared for farming during last two decades. Hanif and Subhan (1990) reported that erosion problems during monsoon season the Kanshi watershed produced high run-off, resulting high sedimentation rate due to erosion activity which was reduced by watershed restoration program. They also reported that above the Mangla reservoir over-exploitations of watershed lands were adversely affecting the reservoir due to accelerated erosion. The natural soil fertility on slightly, moderately and severely eroded slopes has decreased by 21.7, 39.7 and 62.4 % respectively, due to deterioration of physical and chemical properties. Zhuang, Liu and Liu (1999) reported that increased anthropogenic activities and urbanization trends have resulted in decreased agriculture but large area of grass-land was being converted into cultivated land. Pretorious et al, (2000) emphasized that the problems related to water balance could be identified by studying the general land use practices of the watershed. Foley et al. (2004) established that influence of agriculture on watershed areas had severe adverse effects, that practice altered bio- geochemical linkages, atmosphere and land. Zubair (2006) argued that build-up land growth was rapid from last few decades and the maximum built-up land was observed from 1972 to 1986 but was reduced from 1986 to 2001. They concluded that in 2015 the change trend would be as it was observed during 1986 to 2001. Haq and Abbas (2007) reported that the deposition of sediments in Mangla reservoir was increasing which threatened to block free flow and 20.54% gross storage capacity of Mangla dam was lost. Singh, (2009) in a media dialogue emphasized an integrated watershed management approach with land use as one of the significant drivers of sustainability.

Figure 3: Showing land leveling for agriculture in Qazian and extensive agriculture practices along Qazian-Jabber road

Figure 3: Showing land leveling for agriculture in Qazian and extensive agriculture practices along Qazian-Jabber road

Forest conversion into agriculture land was a source of peak flows in water channel which increased the erosion. Shakir, Rehman and Ehsan (2010) reported that climate change is resulted in variations of river flows in Pakistan which is the result of uncertain precipitation trends. According to the land use map of Soil Survey of Pakistan (1987), there were mainly dry farmed lands, rough grazing land, predominantly unused land, dry farmed land, well-irrigated and dry farmed. After the digitization of satellite images, many land use were identified and a field visit was conducted for ground truthing to exactly identify the features which were seen on digitized map (Figure 4). Following were the major findings of the ground truthing and land use classification that have discussed zone-wise. Figure 3 shows present land use trends. The increasing urbanization was a common problem observed. Vegetation is only remained near water bodies’ e.g. streams, ponds or small water storage structures. The water table was falling down with tremendous rate (Figure 6). The soils derived from sandstone rich in clay forming minerals occur in slopes ranging from 3 to 8 %. There are four types of soil series found in research area:

  1. i) Kahuta series ii) Qazian series

iii) Guliana series         iv) Missa series

Kahuta soils are associated with balkassar, qazian and tirnual soils. The soils have been developed in four types of parent materials; river alluvium, piedmont alluvium, loess and residuum. Soils developed in piedmont alluvium cover the major part of the area, while those from river alluvium are mainly confined to the floodplains of Jhelum River.

Figure 4: Map showing different land use of Kanshi River watershed

Figure 4: Map showing different land use of Kanshi River watershed

There noticed a good condition of vegetation as compared to the other area which was far from Missa nallah. This zone comprises of fifteen villages. The best zone compared to all other zones was Dongi zone due to proper irrigation and water availability conditions. No other zone has proper irrigation system but this zone has the conduit system for fields and water table was comparatively higher than other areas. So, the wells present in this area are also useful for extraction of ground water. Dongi zone has moderate condition of vegetation, agriculture and settlements around the dam sites up to “Phahna” and “Kurri Kas[5]”.This zone consist of fourteen villages. Only Guliana zone has vegetation along the Guliana nallah and the water flowing through this channel consists of mainly city sewage water and it is most polluted tributary. The vegetation condition along Guliana nallah is worse than all other tributaries of Kanshi. This zone includes eight villages. Qazian lacks vegetation due to the extensive agriculture practices and brick business. The population along the Qazian-Jabber road is growing very fast and agriculture trends are also increasing. Due to increasing urbanization along the Qazian-Jabber road and increased agriculture practices along these nallahs observed as the major cause of deforestation. This zone includes fourteen villages The area was than divided into four regions according to agriculture, vegetation and irrigation systems and erosion. On these bases, identified zones were categorized as “ideal”, “medium” “best” and “dangerous”. The study area is highly vulnerable to the flood and erosion hazards in monsoon periods. Besides all types of erosion, Rill and Gully erosion was the most common type of erosion. Mostly local people were in opinion that the precipitation run-off is the reason of this erosion. However, the brick industry, settlements, sparse vegetative cover and wrong agriculture practices are also responsible for the erosion.

According to field observations, no engineering structures were developed to reduce the water velocity in order to minimize erosion and sedimentation hazards. Only one retaining wall was observed near Missa-Keswal. Reasons of this mismanagement are the cost, absence of institutions and government negligence. According to the questionnaire data, mainly four types of erosion witnessed in the area but the most commonly observed erosion was rill and gully i.e. gullies 43%, rills 27% splash 9%, and sheet erosion 21 %. Kanshi River of smallest tributary of Mangla dam contributes more sediments than other rivers (Kunhar, Neelum, Jhelum, and Poonch).  The present status of the study area demands for an extensive study of land use practices and its contribution in climate change. The collected data and ground facts supported the impact of climate change & anthropogenic activities. 85% of the local community agreed that the overall change and land use practices are the result of human activities of urbanization, agriculture, pollution and deforestation, disturbing the local ecosystem..

Due to absence of rainwater harvesting options, local community has totally dependent on ground water. Local formers could’t obtained high yield from the crops and they use a large amount of pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers to improve their production.

Impact of Urbanization

Urbanization, a major factor that was responsible for the use of bare land. In urban areas of Kahuta, Gujar Khan, Mandra and Sohawa, population growth rate is high. The facilities of water supply, electricity, natural gas and livelihood were available in surroundings of major towns.  The land leveling practices for agriculture were practiced on a large scale. Figure 2 shows the major infrastructure, streams and nallahs of Kanshi River which contribute water during rainy season. .The water table of Kanshi watershed is very low and ranges from 80ʹ-300ʹ varies from zone to zone. The water table of Qazian zone was observed approximately from 150-200 feet, between 100-120 feet in Dongi zone, in Missa-Keswal zone ranges from 250-300 feet and 120-130 feet in Guliana zone (Figure 6).  No proper lining of streams and river banks was observed in Kahuta and Un-lined bank of Kanshi which resulted in land degradation and erosion activity. However, some retaining walls were observed in Kanshi River and Guliana “Kas” to reduce the velocity of water and minimize the magnitude of flood velocity.  Local people were interviewed, 78 % were argued that the climate has changed from last two decades.  According to Water and Power Development Authority (2010),  total discharge of Kanshi river from 1990-2000 was 79.70m3/s and the discharge of second decade (2001-2010) was 44.508 m3/s while total discharge of 35.193 m3/s has been decreased during last 20 years (Figure 5).

Figure 5: Water discharge of Kanshi River from 1990-2010 at Palote

Figure 5: Water discharge of Kanshi River from 1990-2010 at Palote

Average discharge during 2001 to 2010 was decreased but the 2010 flow was on its highest value. It also showed the 2010 heavy rainfall period that had caused flood in Pakistan. It could be projected from the available data that the average discharge of the decade (2011-2020) will be 62.1045 m³/sec[6] . If it is decreased by 44.15 % in average discharge of 62.1045 m³/sec then the total discharge of Kanshi River in next decade (2011-2020) will be 34.685 m3/s [7] and if there is 44.15% increase in average discharge of 62.1045m³/sec then the discharge will be 89.514m³/sec[8].

Ill-Planned Agricultural practices

Extensive agriculture is mainly responsible for the conversion of bare land into agricultural area. Mostly people of these areas did not have alternate livelihoods and compelled to perform activities related to agriculture. The total 70 % population was associated with the agriculture while 30% was related to other professions that include wood business and livestock mostly. The 86% farmers used fertilizers to increase the productivity of their land. A large part of bare land was observed in Dongi Zone and Missa Keswal Zone where surrounding land was converted into farm-lands for agriculture purposes. Gujar Khan to onwards Qazian-Jabber and from Guliana to onward Missa Keswal, people are involved brick business to sustain their livelihood. Un-planned growth of housing societies to cater ever increased population demands was high from Gujar Khan main city to onwards Qazian jabber.

Figure 6: Shows the variation of water table in study area

Figure 6: Shows the variation of water table in study area

Outcomes of Research Activity/Seminar

In the research activity conducted at Al-Sardar School and College System, 61 students of intermediate level participated and some of the useful information related to local community were collected (Figure 7). During physical field surveys people highlighted the constraints of limited resources to adapt the latest agricultural practices and lack of capacity building to improve the conventional agricultural practices for increased production. Participants were given an assignment to assess local issues related to land, agriculture and water and the understandings of local youth about the issues which they were facing. The shared solution which most participants suggested for the betterment of local community was afforestation, small dams and agro-forestry culture, proper agriculture systems, improved hygienic conditions and erosion control measures.

Figure 7: Participants of seminar and another view of taking interview from a contractor of a fish farm near Sohawa

Figure 7: Participants of seminar and another view of taking interview from a contractor of a fish farm near Sohawa

Alexandratos (1995) argued that “food insecurity for significant parts of world population, threats to the environment and development failures in the low-income countries which depend on agriculture for their development” Factors were underlined towards agriculture development failure as below:-

  • Poor water supply system rugged topography
  • Lack of proper drainage channels for irrigation
  • Poor quality seeds
  • lack of awareness
  • lack of profitability options
  • Poverty, unemployment, alternate livelihood over and above lack of education (Figure 8)
Figure 8: Showing issues related to forest degradation and suggestions of participants on the issues related to their land, water and watershed

Figure 8: Showing issues related to forest degradation and suggestions of participants on the issues related to their land, water and watershed


During the Earth Summit-1992 in Rio Declaration, agenda-21 Section-II Conservation and Management of Resources for Development has signified “action for sustainable development (SD)“. In response to the Rio Declaration, Pakistan National Conservation Strategy (1994) was proposed and an independent Ministry of Environment was established whereas, Environmental Protection Act was activated in 1997. Urbanization has caused amplified runoff and increased erosion, created a menace for habitat and infrastructure. The transformation of ecological production landscapes i.e. forests, farmland, grasslands, wetlands, pasture and build-up areas over and above economic development options directly and indirectly put pressure on stream and riparian network as follows: –

Direct & Indirect effects of Urbanization are as follows:-

  • Modification of stream channels by streamlining and flattening, or arranged in Culverts
  • Reducing riparian network plunging by floodplain advancement and drop of inherent wildlife species
  • Sediment yielding throughout development processes and growing contaminant substance
  • Shifting of indigenous riparian plant communities through insidious non- natives plants
  • Decline aquifers depth, rose stream temperatures and increased contamination
  • Decrease role of riparian network and drop of inherent wildlife species
  • Migration of nick points and nick zones due to incision, undermine a great part of the watershed
  • Land use practices observed are unplanned, settlement patterns required to be arranged, planned and balanced for ecosystem sustainability and watershed health.

The impact of climate change is a critical issue related to the study area but subsequently role of anthropogenic activity in changing the climatic conditions cannot be negligible, hence improper land use practices are adversely affecting the environmental conditions, leading to climatic fluctuations e.g. precipitation patterns, prolonged dry and wet periods and intense temperature variations etc. These findings are closely agreed with the outcomes suggested by Chettri et al. (2010). The impacts of land use change on river basin hydrology are interlinked with impacts of climate change examined by Mango et al. (2011). Shakir, Rehman and Ehsan (2010) reported that ‘the past trends of flows of different rivers in Pakistan were quite different form each other. Midgley et al. (2002) identified that the analysis of climate change impact is very complex as it includes many climatic parameters and there could also be a lot of uncertainties. The water discharge of Kanshi River has also decreased by 44.15% during last 20 years. This dramatic change could be the result of climate change or increased anthropogenic interferences in hydrological cycle. Tse-ring, et al. (2010) examined that the human activities are also the source of ecosystem alteration and destruction. Shakir, Rehman and Ehsan (2010) also suggested that these changes in flows of different rivers are due to climate change, development such as land use changes. According to processed satellite images (Landsat ™ 30×30) of 1992 and 2000 the vegetation cover has been decreased drastically. The present land use such as settlements, brick companies and agriculture were observed that increasing and altering the whole landscape.  Comparing the present with past land uses, the vegetation condition was critical and almost vanished from the main Gujar Khan city and surrounded villages. The reason for the concentration of vegetation along water channels or water storage bodies was the fall of water table in the study area. According to Reconnaissance survey of Rawalpindi (1987) the change in vegetation cover was the result of extensive agriculture practices. Paustian, Six and Elliott, (1997) considered that agriculture practices also had profound impact on bio-geochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in the region. Rill erosion formations are common which was the result of large scale deforestation for agriculture and for timber needs of growing population. The natural soil fertility on slightly, moderately and severely eroded slopes has decreased by 21.7, 39.7 and 62.4 % respectively, due to deterioration of physical and chemical properties. Zonation of the study area is suggested with balanced ratio of agriculture, forest, settlements and other development for each zone. Extensive abuse of watershed land above the Mangla reservoir has resulted in accelerated erosion that is threatening the life of reservoir reported by Hanif and Subhan (1990). Due to the lack of water storage bodies except the Dongi dam (Gujar Khan), there were no such structures developed to store the storm runoff during monsoon season. The summer rains are only source of ground water recharge and cause the flow of local streams. They also become a source of wildlife habitat and entertainment. Notably, development of water resources in the area is required on urgent basis to bring green revolution.

Singh (2009) also suggested that for water resource development various water harvesting structure like farm ponds, percolated tanks, check dams and land and water resource development plans could increase productivity and reduced waste land to negligible level. Mangla reservoir is contributed by five main rivers namely Jhelum, Kanshi, Poonch, Kunhar, and Neelum (Figure 1) whereas, Neelum and Kunhar originate from the areas where there is adequate amount of vegetation in catchment and the geology of their catchments is not as erodible as of Kanshi and Poonch rivers. Surface Water Hydrology by the Water and Power Development Authority has established gauges on these rivers to measure water discharge and sediment load reported by Haq and Abbas (1990). As these rivers have greater significance regarding sediment yield so it would be better for Mangla reservoir to build small dams or water harvesting structures in Kanshi catchment to unload water from sediment before entering into Mangla dam and this will increase the life of Mangla reservoir. It is assumed that the result of capacity building and youth training in the watershed area could result into better watershed management and land use practices. Generally, the institution that use stakeholder participatory approach while involving the youth have greater chances of success than other that did not consider to such an approach argued by Lekunze (2001).


It is observed in the study area that there is no participatory approach among different stakeholder of land uses and government as well. Due to the lack of mutual co-operation and participation the issues related to land and water are same as they were in past decades. More and more land is being converted into agricultural land which causes severe soil erosion problems as the topography of the study area is not stable.  Wide-ranging areas are prone to ‘ever increased’ erosion by water and wind.  Wind erosion is prominent and active on dry, loose, bare sands or finer materials. Soil degradation and water contamination is important issue because of increasing brick business, agriculture, settlement and lack of vegetation cover.  The waste water of the whole area is drained into nearby channels, contaminating the water quality. Traditionally, farming has producing livestock, poultry as well as wood, along with the arable crops, as an economic pursuit. Lack of water harvesting structures are resulting into low yield agricultural practices and high drop of water table thus the socio-economic condition of common people is getting poorer. Forest clearing and lack of institutional involvement for betterment of environment is causing severe geo-environmental issues like uncertain rainfalls or temporary drought conditions. These conditions have significantly affected the discharge of Kanshi River. Anthropogenic activities are disturbing the natural eco-system and accelerating the hazards expected by climate change.

Issues in the Kanshi Watershed Conservation &Sustainable Management Sector

Institutional & management issues

  • Non existence of national Integrated conservation & sustainable watershed management (ICSWM) policy & council to oversee planning & development
  • participation of stakeholders/communities
  • Lack of public awareness & deficient watershed information
  • Lack of public financial sustainability in watershed sector services
  • Low private sector investment & participation

Technical issues

  • Ever increasing demand of food, fiber and energy
  • Integrated and collective use of watershed resources
  • Inefficient use & inequitable distribution of watershed resources especially in irrigation
  • Weaken infrastructure on drainage sub-sectors
  • Environmental degradation of forest and irrigated lands


There is a need to conduct research on a very well scale considering the cultural basis those ecologically favorable and without damaging rural-residential land-use practices. There is severe need of watershed management plans. Zonation of the study area is required and the each zone should have balanced ratio of agriculture, forest, settlements and other development. So that, each zone may participate in its own stability and hence overall watershed stability. All the stakeholders, specially, the youth should be given a due chance to contribute in solving the issues related to land and water. It is highly recommended to study the whole Mangla watershed in Socio-ecological production landscape (SEPL) perspective, with full equipment and instrumental support or government collaboration so that better results could be achieved.

  • The population sprawl and settlement patterns demands planned urbanization and infrastructure development so that a balance between natural eco-system and human activity can be maintained.
  • Rainwater harvesting techniques, farm, ponds, percolated tanks, check dams are highly recommended on emergency basis to save the local land from desertification and to bring green revolution.
  • An integrated approach with the participation of community is required to solve the local issues and to sustain the natural resources of watershed.
  • Capacity building and training of locals especially youth is required on urgent basis so that upcoming generation may understand the responsibilities of being a watershed community.
  • Ban further unplanned development and infrastructural measures related to land use and especially, the bare land should no more be used for agriculture purpose and settlements. As an incentive the present agricultural land should be subsidized for cultivation.
  • Government should launch Afforestation projects with the help of forest department
  • Agro-forestry culture should be promoted in the area with the help of agriculture department.
  • Sylviculture as farm forestry, going hand in hand with arable crop production, need special emphasis in development planning.
  • There should be the use of improved varieties of crops. Soil bio-engineering techniques should be used to conserve the soil fertility and minimized geological hazards. Inter-cropping should be introduced to sustain the soil nutrients and to enhance the crop productivity. Parts of gullied land should be protected by the growth of grasses and drought resistant tree species.
  • Keeping in view the population pressure, climate change and its impact on watershed health as well as to well-being of the communities ICSWM strategy is highly recommended.

Management in general have to be employed as include:

  • Proper tillage operation
  • Application of balanced fertilizers
  • Use of improved and good quality seed, spacing, timely sowing and harvesting
  • Adoption of plant protection measures (weed and pest control)
  • Soil conservation measures
  • Controlled grazing/ felling


This research presented in this paper exhibit the collective efforts of the students of Mountain Conservation and Watershed Management.  The bulk of the work reported in this research paper was supported by a generous grant from the Punjab University, Pakistan. We also acknowledges the support of the officials of Water and Power Development Authority, World Wide Fund for Nature, Soil Survey of Pakistan, Pakistan Agriculture Research Council, Pakistan Meteorology, Forest Department, Deputy Commissioner Office of Jhelum District, Center for Integrated Mountain Research, Federal and Provincial Environmental Protection Agencies, Pakistan.


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[1] Crops cultivated in winter

[2] Crops cultivated in summer

[3] System of cultivating in two seasons ( summer & winter)

[4] Millets species

[5] Local name used  for channel or stream

[6] (79.701 m3/s +44.508 m3/s)/2=62.1045 m3/s

[7] 44.15% of 62.1045 m3/sec is 27.41 and 62.105-27.41=34.685

[8] 44.15% of 62.1045 m3/sec is 27.41 and 62.105+27.41=89.514