In high mountainous environments, such as the upper Kaligandaki Basin in Nepal, local communities’ livelihoods are closely linked with the land and its ecosystem services.
Cultivating crops, managing livestock and, more recently, eco-tourism, are the main methods of income. However, the area is increasingly under threat from deforestation, land degradation and poverty. To add to this, lack of data and suitable assessment tools on ecosystem services in these types of remote regions mean that decision makers can make simple and potentially inaccurate ‘rule of thumb’ decisions on polices.
This project, linked to ESPA’s MOUNTAIN EVO project
, investigated the impact of land management practices and changes in land use and cover on ecosystem services such as water and agriculture. The role that available ecosystem services have in local livelihoods was also examined using multi-dimensional indices of poverty. The project aimed to identify key policy and management interventions that improve the delivery of important ecosystem services and that support local livelihoods.
Bhopal has more than 10 years of research experience in ecosystem services and environmental management. He recently completed his PhD from King’s College London in understanding the hydrological ecosystem services produced by the Indo-Gangetic Basin and selected mountain catchments in the Himalayas. His project, hosted by Imperial College London, aimed to integrate ecosystem services monitoring and modelling tools into local decision making processes to help alleviate poverty in a high mountainous region of Nepal.