What benefits do community forests provide, and to whom? A rapid assessment of ecosystem services from a Himalayan forest, Nepal

What benefits do community forests provide, and to whom? A rapid assessment of ecosystem services from a Himalayan forest, Nepal

In Nepal, community forestry is part of a national strategy for livelihoods improvement and environmental protection. However, analysis of the social, economic and environmental impacts of community forestry is often limited, restricted to a narrow set of benefits (e.g. non-timber forest products) and rarely makes comparisons with alternative land-use options (e.g. agriculture). In this paper, Birch et al. conducted a study at Phulchoki Mountain Forest Important Bird and Biodiversity Area  in the Kathmandu Valley, using methods from the Toolkit for Ecosystem Service Site-based Assessment to compare multiple ecosystem service values (including carbon storage, greenhouse gas sequestration, water provision, water quality, harvested wild goods, cultivated goods and nature-based recreation) provided by the site in its current state and a plausible alternative state in which community forestry had not been implemented. They found that outcomes from community forestry have been favourable for most stakeholders, at most scales, for most services and for important biodiversity at the site. However, not all ecosystem services can be maximised simultaneously, and impacts of land-use decisions on service beneficiaries appear to differ according to socio-economic factors.

This paper is an output of the CCI Collaborative Fund project Measuring and monitoring ecosystem services at the site scale: building practical tools for real-world conservation 

Birch, J. C., Thapa, I., Balmford, A., Bradbury, R. B., Brown, C., Butchart, S. H. M., … Thomas, D. H. L. (2014). What benefits do community forests provide, and to whom? A rapid assessment of ecosystem services from a Himalayan forest, Nepal. Ecosystem Services, 8, 118–127. doi:10.1016/J.ECOSER.2014.03.005

Collaboration / Project(s)

Measuring and monitoring ecosystem services at the site scale: building practical tools for real-world conservation

This project aims to develop and deploy a rapid assessment tool to understand how far conserving sites for their biodiversity importance also helps to conserve different ecosystem services (ESs), relative to a converted state. The tool is being piloted at a diverse range of sites in the UK, Nepal and Montserrat. Publication of the methods…