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Assessing livelihood-ecosystem interdependencies and natural resource governance in Indian villages in the Middle Himalayas

Everard, Mark; Gupta, Nishikant; Scott, Christopher A; Tiwari, Prakash C; Joshi, Bhagwati; Kataria, Gaurav; Kumar, Smita


Mark Everard
Associate Professor in Ecosystem Services

Nishikant Gupta

Christopher A Scott

Prakash C Tiwari

Bhagwati Joshi

Gaurav Kataria

Smita Kumar


© 2018, The Author(s). Mountains host high biological and cultural diversity, generating ecosystem services providing benefits over multiple scales but also suffering significant poverty and vulnerabilities. Case studies in two contrasting village communities in the Indian Middle Himalayas explore linkages between people and adjacent forest and river ecosystems. Interviews with local people and direct observations revealed low food availability and decreasing self-sufficiency, under the combined pressures of increasing foraging by wildlife (primarily pigs and monkeys) coupled with seasonal to permanent outmigration by younger men seeking more secure income and alternative livelihoods. Much of the income remitted by migrants to their villages was not retained locally but flowed back out of the Himalayan region through purchases of food produced and marketed in the plains. This threatens the economic viability of villages, also placing asymmetric pressures on resident female, elderly and young people who concentrate labour on local livestock production to the neglect of crop agriculture, further compounding land abandonment and wildlife foraging. Significant traditional knowledge remains, along with utilitarian, cultural and spiritual connections with the landscape. Many beneficiaries of locally produced ecosystem services are remote from village communities (particularly water flows downstream to the plains), but no recompense is paid to stewards of the forested Himalayan landscape. Although local people currently perceive high biodiversity as a constraint to agriculture and other economic activities, the Himalayan landscapes could potentially constitute an asset with appropriate institutional development through promotion of managed bioprospecting, guided ecotourism and payment for ecosystem services (PES) schemes for water supply and under REDD+.


Everard, M., Gupta, N., Scott, C. A., Tiwari, P. C., Joshi, B., Kataria, G., & Kumar, S. (2019). Assessing livelihood-ecosystem interdependencies and natural resource governance in Indian villages in the Middle Himalayas. Regional Environmental Change, 19(1), 165-177.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 4, 2018
Online Publication Date Aug 6, 2018
Publication Date Jan 31, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 5, 2018
Publicly Available Date Jul 5, 2018
Journal Regional Environmental Change
Print ISSN 1436-3798
Electronic ISSN 1436-378X
Publisher Springer (part of Springer Nature)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 165-177
Keywords Middle Himalayas, community-based management, livelihoods, PES, Uttarakhand, India
Public URL
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