Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Community and Regional Planning


Sustainable Agriculture; Community and Regional Planning

First Advisor

Francis Y. Owusu


Drawing on research conducted in two villages of Lamjung District in the mid-hills of Nepal, this thesis examines how social structures of caste, ethnicity, and gender, as well as land tenure affect the conservation of traditional rice varieties. Resource-poor farmers in Nepal possess a great wealth of traditional rice varieties. While subsistence farmers continue to maintain a large portion of Nepal’s rice varieties, these individuals represent poor, marginalized members of society. As populations flee rural areas for urban conveniences and economic opportunities abroad, the social dynamics of subsistence farming are shifting. The agricultural landscape of Lamjung has traditionally been dominated by ethnically Gurung landowners. However, both women and marginalized Dalit tenant farmers play increasingly important roles in traditional paddy production systems. Local agricultural programs, policy, and development opportunities remain geared towards male landowners. Understanding how social differences of caste, gender, and land tenure operate at the landscape level have the potential to improve conservation efforts as well as other agricultural development programs. This thesis examines these intersections and finds that the social change process of outmigration has the potential to significantly impact rice diversity in Lamjung.

Copyright Owner

Marie Louise Ryan



File Format


File Size

146 pages