Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Forest Governance: A scoping study from Uttarakhand

Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Forest Governance is an analysis of information compiled on important ecosystem services that flow from the forests of Uttarakhand Himalaya.  These services are of wide range so far as their spatial extent is concerned.  For example, much of non-timber forest products are of direct use to local people, watershed services have relevance to local as well as regional population, and carbon sequestration has global significance.  In this short-term preliminary study, investigators mainly depended on the secondary sources for information.  However, they also collected data for certain relevant parameters.  It is hoped that this report would prepare a ground for further efforts in the direction of quantification of the flow of services both in ecological and economic terms, measures required to make sustainable use of services, and payments or reward to local people for their efforts towards conservation of forests in the state.

 

The report has been quite successful in pinpointing a few major gaps in knowledge and measures that could be taken to address them.  The investigators have made progress in several areas connected to ecosystem services, many of which have not been considered in other studies.  I hope the initiative will go a long way to improve our understanding of one of the most important areas of environmental sustainability.  The funding agency, I hope will be pleased with this progress.  LEAD India did a good job in involving stakeholders and experts of varied backgrounds in the present study such as local members of village forest councils, scientists, government forest managers, grassroots level NGOs and top officials.  The project gave an opportunity for some very talented young persons to work together for the cause of conserving precious Himalayan forest ecosystems