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The Kaghan Valley is in the territorial jurisdiction of Mansehera District, named after a tiny village Kaghan, at the end of the valley. The valley culminates in the tree-clad high mountains and glaciers in the North-East with varying altitudes from 1 to 5 thousand meters above sea level. The region is relatively active geophysically, hydrologically and biologically diverse by virtue of the altitude and aspect-driven variability in energy and moisture. In such region a better understanding of changes in land resources, production of agronomic and horticultural crops, use of timber and non-timber products, and livestock structure/composition have important implications and understanding these changes along with the indigenous knowledge of mountain people which, is key to sustainable development of the Himalayan region. Our results showed that the main causes of lowest agriculture production in the area are poor crop management in context of the mountains, drought spells, low soil fertility, land fragmentation and tenancy status of the agricultural land. Off season vegetables cultivation on the sloppy land leads to sever soil erosion and soil land degradation of this mountain ecosystem. Overgrazing during the summer season is another problem as the pastures are visited both by the Afghan and local nomads without relating with carrying capacity of the alpine meadows. The overgrazed soil is usually subject to rainfalls and severe soil erosion. Any use of resources of such fragile rare high mountain ecosystem requires a great sense of responsibility but in this case the forest resources are being plundered and are used roughly. We recommend adequate use of agricultural inputs, specific crop management practices for mountain agriculture. Local social welfare organizations should work to create awareness about the sustainable use of natural
Conversion of potato from conventional methods to wide bed planting systems may increase water and nitrogen use efficiency in commercial potato production system by reducing the amount of irrigation water and water applied nitrogen fertilizer bypassing the potato root zone. Potato (Solanum tuberosum L) cv. Desiree was tested against different planting system for yield and yield components at Kaghan, a high mountainous Himalayan region ofPakistan. The experiment was carried out at Himalayan Agricultural Research Station (HARS), Kaghan during the summer season of 2005. The results showed that maximum tuber growth (88.7%), number of stems per plant (3.5), plant expansion (45.5 cm), average number of tubers per plant (10.1) and yield per hectare (12.4 t/ha) were significantly different and higher when potatoes were planted on wide bed and covered with soil from one side. Tallest plants (53.4 cm) were observed when potatoes were sown on the ridges. Maximum number of green potatoes (12.5) and injured potatoes (5.3%) were observed when the tubers were planted following local farmers’ method. Keeping in view the soil type, land slopping, we recommend sowing potatoes on relatively plain wide beds and covering it with soil from one side, for potato cultivation in the area.