New Delhi, 25 Nov 2007
The forests in Uttarakhand region have been valued at $2.4 billion (approximately Rs 10,700 crore) per year in terms of the services they provide. This needs to be recognised and compensated, according to a study released here on Saturday.
Globally, it is estimated that the current economic value of the services provided by the earth’s ecosystems is at least $33 trillion per year.
Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2003, has defined Ecosystem Services (ESs) as a wide range of conditions and processes through which natural ecosystems, and species that make them up, sustain and fulfil human life.
Thirty-two such services, including carbon sequestration, climate management, hydrological regulation, timber, firewood, soil conservation, pollination and other non-timber forest produces (NTFPs) have been identified so far, the study said.
In the forests of Uttarakhand, the average value of about $1,150 per hectare per year for the services provided needs to be reflected in our economic planning and compensated for, said the recent study, ‘Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Forest Governance, in Uttarakhand, as a scoping study’.
Uttarakhand has nearly 70 per cent forest cover, of which 40 per cent is ‘good forest’. While the entire Himalayas are hailed as the water towers of the world, this State is particularly crucial from the ecosystem services aspect, as it has sustained the lives of millions of people (nearly 500 million people living in the Gangetic plain currently) for the past 5,000 years, said ecologist Prof S.P. Singh.
The report has been prepared by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) India and its partner organisation, Central Himalayan Environmental Association (CHEA) in Uttarakhand, under the guidance of Prof Singh. It evaluates and quantifies the services rendered by the Himalayan ecosystem in the State.
It is the first comprehensive collation of scientific information around various ESs using mainly secondary sources.
LEAD is a global network of individuals and non-government organisations committed to sustainable development.
The research is supported by Heinrich Boll Foundation, a Green Party Affiliate, including stakeholders such as local members of village forest councils, scientists, government forest managers and NGOs.
News Source: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com