Ecosystem services and human well-being

Approaching snow leopard conservation through the lens of ecosystem service use can contribute significantly towards the protection of snow leopard habitats, or towards finding options that can better balance the need for economic development with ecological sustainability.  

  • Barley fields

  • Bringing the yaks back

  • Chicham

Ecosystem services and human well-being

The snow leopard, an endangered species, is a flagship for conservation in Asia’s highlands. Today, snow leopard landscapes across Asia face unprecedented developmental pressures, be it mining for minerals, building of roads and development of hydro-electricity, and the intensification of livestock grazing in response to global demands. As choices are made between various development projects and land uses, it is critical that more information is available to local communities, politicians, and bureaucrats about the value of the ecosystems being altered. Currently, there is little formal understanding or quantification of the value of ecosystem services derived from these mountains. 

Ecosystem services is defined as the benefits people derive from nature. Given the current socio-economic trends in these regions, approaching snow leopard conservation through the lens of ecosystem service use can contribute significantly towards the protection of snow leopard habitats, or towards finding options that can better balance the need for economic development with ecological sustainability.  

For my project I propose to:

1) Identify and economically value the ecosystem services from snow leopard habitats.

2) Understand the distribution of ecosystem service benefits within the community, across a rural-urban gradient.

3) Identify the factors that drive socio-cultural valuation of ecosystem services.

4) Identify areas of overlap between biodiversity and ecosystem services.

People

Funding

Publications

  • Report
    2017
    Valuation of Ecosystem Services in Snow Leopard Landscapes of Asia
    Charudutt Mishra, Koustubh Sharma, Yash Veer Bhatnagar, Muhammad Ali Nawaz, Kubanychbek Jumabay-Uulu, Venera Amankul Kizi, Uzma Saeed, Purevjav Lkhagvajav, Ranjini Murali
    Murali, R., Lkhagvajav, P., Saeed, U., Kizi, V.A., Zhumbai-Uulu, K., Nawaz, M.A., Bhatnagar, Y.V., Sharma, K., Mishra, C. 2017. Valuation of ecosystem services in snow leopard landscapes of Asia. Snow Leopard Trust, Nature Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Conservation Foundation, Snow Leopard Foundation Kyrgyzstan, and Snow Leopard Foundation Pakistan. Report Submitted to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded United Nations Development Program (UNDP) project on Transboundary Cooperation for Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Conservation.
    Download

    PDF, 15.2 MB

  • Journal Article
    2017
    The value of ecosystem services in the high altitude Spiti Valley, Indian Trans-Himalaya
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecoser.2017.10.018
    Download

    PDF, 645 KB

    The high mountain ranges of South and Central Asia are increasingly being exposed to large-scale development projects. These areas are home to traditional pastoralist communities and internationally important biodiversity including the endangered snow leopard Panthera uncia. Development projects rely on economic cost-benefit analysis, but the ecosystem services in the high Himalayas are poorly understood and are rarely accounted for. As a first step to fill this gap, we identified the main ecosystem services used by local people in the Trans-Himalayan Spiti Valley (7591 km2), a region important for conservation of snow leopards and high mountain biodiversity, and undertook an economic valuation. Stakeholders identified a range of services, though these were dominated by provisioning services identified by 90% of respondents. Only 5.4% of the respondents recognised regulatory services and 4.8% recognised cultural services. The mean economic value of provisioning services was estimated at US$ 3622 ± 149 HH−1 yr−1, which was 3.8 times higher than the average annual household income. Our results underscore the need to account for ecosystem services in the cost-benefit analyses of large-scale development projects in addition to assessments of their environmental and social impact.

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