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Singh S.P.,University Kaulagarh Road | Singh V.,Center for Ecology Development and Research
Tropical Ecology | Year: 2016

Agriculture, the planet’s principal anthropobiome is faced with the problems of both its economic trivialization in terms of its relative contribution to GDP, and environmental degradation resulting from the replacement of ecosystem processes with external applications of nutrients and pesticides. Here we discuss (i) various dimensions of these problems in view of the rural decline in developing countries particularly India where landholdings are generally < 1 ha, (ii) and explore the possibilities of enhancing natural ecological elements in crop fields, and payment for agricultural ecosystem services to improve the economy of rural areas and global environment. We argue that (i) the enhancement of natural ecological elements in agricultural ecosystems would contribute to the sustainability of agriculture and flow of various ecological services; (ii) the traditional subsidies to agricultural inputs should be replaced with payment to farmers by considering food production as a kind of social service, (iii) additional economic pathways out of poverty that are not restricted to agriculture would be required to make rural life viable and attractive. The payment for food production as a social service would help small farmers, who are not benefited by traditional subsidies. © International Society for Tropical Ecology.


Kovacs E.K.,University of Cambridge | Kumar C.,IUCN | Agarwal C.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Adams W.M.,University of Cambridge | And 2 more authors.
Ecology and Society | Year: 2016

In this paper, we examine the on-the-ground realities of upstream-downstream negotiations and transactions over ecosystem services. We explore the engagement, negotiation, implementation, and postimplementation phases of a “reciprocal water access” (RWA) agreement between village communities and municipal water users at Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, India. We aim to highlight how external actors drove the payments for ecosystem services agenda through a series of facilitation and research engagements, which were pivotal to the RWA’s adoption, and how the agreement fared once external agents withdrew. In the postimplementation period, the RWA agreement continues to be upheld by upstream communities amidst evolving, competing land-use changes and claims. The introduction of cash payments for environmental services for forest-water relationships has given rise to multifaceted difficulties for the upstream hamlets, which has impeded the functionality of their forest management committee. Upstream communities’ formal rights and abilities to control and manage their resources are dynamic and need strengthening and assurance; these developments result in fluctuating transaction and opportunity costs not originally envisaged by the RWA agreement. The paper demonstrates the importance of an explicit understanding of the local politics of negotiation and implementation to determine the effectiveness of compensationbased mechanisms for the supply of ecosystem services. © 2016 by the author(s).


Singh V.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Thadani R.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Tewari A.,Kumaun University | Ram J.,Kumaun University
Journal of Sustainable Forestry | Year: 2014

The present study suggests that the impact of human-induced small-scale disturbances (lopping of branches and leaf litter removal) adversely impacts the functioning of banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora, A. Camus) forests of Central Himalaya. Significantly higher (p <.001) biomass stocks, carbon sequestration rates, soil carbon, leaf area index (LAI), litter fall, and faster litter decomposition rates were observed in least human influenced (LHI) forests as compared to moderately human influenced (MHI) forests and highly human influenced (HHI) forests. Three replicate forest stands of each category were selected for the observation. The study is used as a background to suggest alternative strategies to conserve the forests, taking into account the social and economic concerns of the village community. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Singh S.P.,SGRR Education Mission | Singh V.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Skutsch M.,National Autonomous University of Mexico
Climate and Development | Year: 2010

This article draws attention to the significance of the Himalayas in relation to global climate change, and discusses the likely impact of warming on the Himalayas and ecosystems in both upstream and downstream regions. Scientific evidence suggests that the Himalayas are warming at more than the global average rate. Alpine ecosystems are particularly vulnerable to warming, as species occurring near the mountain tops will have no space for their upward march. Intensification of water stress because of warmer temperatures can adversely affect leaf phenology and the regeneration of many dominant forest species. A suggestion is made that carbon forestry and manure management by local communities could be seen both as mitigation and as adaptation strategies. © 2010 Earthscan.


Kumar R.,Nature Science Initiative | Kumar R.,Center for Wildlife Studies | Shahabuddin G.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Kumar A.,Center for Wildlife Studies | Kumar A.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Acta Ornithologica | Year: 2014

Ecological impacts of habitat change on woodpeckers remain largely unstudied in regions other than Europe and North America. The sub-Himalayan sal Shorea robusta forests of northwest India have 17 woodpecker species, and a history of management-induced habitat modification. We studied how habitat parameters affect woodpeckers at a community level (viz. total abundance and species richness) as well as at individual species level. We assessed woodpecker abundance, species richness and described habitat features at 8 sites representing a gradient of structure and composition in a sal-dominated landscape. We surveyed each site in 2-km-long transects 20 times over breeding and non-breeding seasons and evaluated habitat characteristics in 10 circular and belt plots. We analysed woodpecker abundance, species richness, and abundance of individual species as functions of habitat variables and season. Woodpecker encounter rates and mean species richness, respectively, ranged from 1.5 to 10.0 birds/km and 1.7 to 6.9 species per survey at individual sites. Distance-based estimates of densities for the most frequently-observed species were also obtained. Basal area (large trees) and density of snags positively influenced total woodpecker abundance and species richness, with snags being more important during breeding season. Basal area was important for Greater Flameback Chrysocolaptes lucidus, Grey-faced Woodpecker Picus canus, Fulvous-breasted Woodpecker Dendrocopos macei and Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus. Snags, tree density, tree diameter and termitarium density appeared to affect Greycapped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus, Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalense, Himalayan Flameback Dinopium shorii and Streak-throated Woodpecker Picus xanthopygaeus. Hence, for the conservation of native woodpecker communities in sal forests, it is necessary to retain large trees and standing dead wood.


Singh S.P.,Center for Ecology Development and Research | Thadani R.,Center for Ecology Development and Research
Mountain Research and Development | Year: 2015

The Himalaya range encompasses enormous variation in elevation, precipitation, biodiversity, and patterns of human livelihoods. These mountains modify the regional climate in complex ways; the ecosystem services they provide influence the lives of almost 1 billion people in 8 countries. However, our understanding of these ecosystems remains rudimentary. The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that erroneously predicted a date for widespread glacier loss exposed how little was known of Himalayan glaciers. Recent research shows how variably glaciers respond to climate change in different Himalayan regions. Alarmist theories are not new. In the 1980s, the Theory of Himalayan Degradation warned of complete forest loss and devastation of downstream areas, an eventuality that never occurred. More recently, the debate on hydroelectric construction appears driven by passions rather than science. Poor data, hasty conclusions, and bad science plague Himalayan research. Rigorous sampling, involvement of civil society in data collection, and long-term collaborative research involving institutions from across the Himalaya are essential to improve knowledge of this region. © International Mountain Society.

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