Sustainable Land Management in Mountain Regions of Bolivia and Nepal in the Context of Outmigration, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction

How is land management in mountains being affected by migration, climate changes and hazard events in Cochabamba region (Bolivia) and Dhankuta District (Nepal)?


Climate change is expected to place significant strains on natural resources, in particular for managing water, while strongly impacting small scale and traditional agriculture practices. In Bolivia and Nepal, home to some of the world’s largest and poorest mountain populations, rural-urban and foreign out-migration is producing a feminisation of the rural population.

Women and elderly are thus left to deal with adapting to changing environmental conditions, alongside managing daily life: maintaining terraces, irrigation canals, stabilising slopes, etc. Few studies only have analysed the consequences of changing demographics on land management in mountains.

This project will address this research gap by exploring the interface between people dynamics with mountain dynamics in a context of climate change. The main research question upon which this trans-disciplinary study is based: How is land management in mountains being affected by three main factors: migration, climate changes (temperature and rainfall patterns) and hazard events in Cochabamba region of Bolivia and Dhankuta District in Eastern Nepal.

The hypothesis is that climate change is creating water management problems, increasing mountain hazards and out-migration, leading to a feminisation of mountain populations who are less able to address needed changes in agricultural practices, water management, landslides and flooding.

The expected results will be used to develop practical tools for guiding decisions on promising sustainable land management practices for agricultural advisors, disaster risk and water managers, local NGO’s and policy makers, in order to effectively support female headed households and other land users and finally lead to more sustainable livelihoods and well-functioning ecosystems.


  • Land use management
  • Demographic changes
  • Natural hazards
  • Water crisis


  • Demography
  • Development
  • Environment
  • Geography


International Organisations:

  • IUCN Nepal- International Union for Conservation of Nature

Non-Governmental Organisations:

  • Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation

States & Public Collectivities:

  • RCO-NCCR (South Asia Regional Coordinating Office – National Center of Competence Research)
  • AGRUCO Agroecología Universidad Cochabamba

Relevant Countries

  • Developing countries
  • Bolivia
  • Nepal


This project, started in autumn 2012, has been completed.

Contact the project team

9 + 12 =

Research team

Michel Jaboyedoff
University of Lausanne

Hanspeter Liniger
University of Berne

Freddy Delgado
Principal Member
Agroecologia Universidad de Cochabamba

Esther Haldimann
Principal Member
Heltevas Swiss Intercooperation

Stephanie Jaquet
Principal Member
University of Berne

Raoul Kaenzig
Principal Member
University of Neuchâtel


Rajendra Khanal
Principal Member
International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Ivanna Penna
Principal Member
University of Lausanne

Gudrun Schwilch
Principal Member
University of Berne

Karen Sudmeier-Rieux
Principal Member
University of Lausanne

Bishnu Upreti
Principal Member