Upstream and Downstream Linkage – For Sustainable Watershed Management

“A watershed is the area of land that feeds water into a river, through the process of
precipitation draining through the landscape, into tributaries and into the main river
channel. “

Various components that make up the landscape within a watershed, for example forests, grasslands, cultivated areas, riparian areas and wetlands, form groups of ecosystems.

Upstream and downstream linkage is a unique feature for the management and
utilization of watershed resources. Upstream is a less accessible area mostly occupied by poor people who are deprived of technology and knowledge. This is the major reason behind their high dependency upon resources within watershed areas. High encroachment in the upstream has negative impact in the downstream land.

Thus, It is not possible to ensure the long-term protection of downstream river banks without conservation of upstream land.

Without the preservation of upstream land, it is impossible to guarantee the long-term security of river banks in the downstream. For example, the Terai region’s ecological and economic development depends on the Churia and Bhabar region, which serves as the Terai’s groundwater recharge zone. This area receives more rain than the Terai and Mid-hills and recharges an aquafer that is essential to the agricultural production of Nepal’s most densely inhabited area.

Unless the conservations actions carried out in Churia range, Terai region will face water scarcity.

The payment for environmental services (PES) is a noble mechanism in which “providers” (or sellers) of environmental services are paid by consumers or beneficiaries of these environmental services. This can also be a mechanism to built the upstream and downstream linkage. The people living within the watershed area in the upstream can be benefitted from PES for their contribution of watershed area management activities and less deterioration. In the same way, Downstream people can enjoy the environmental services in a sustainable manner with support of Upstream settlements.

This could be a “win-win” solution to achieve the twin objectives of poverty reduction and sustainable conservation of Resources.


Hi, Im chetana khadka from Bardiya. Having always been in close proximity to Nature I have so much enthusiasm to learn and explore my career in Forestry. As a Forestry undergraduate, I realized that even a tiny creature in nature has immense importance in the ecosystem. Really everything is connected to everything and there's nothing like waste in nature. So value yourself, you are also a immense part of nature and leave your conservation footprint before you vanish in it.

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