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Monday, April 9 • 5:30pm - 7:00pm
POSTER: Exploring the Nexus Between Bundles of Ecosystem Services and Human Well-Being in the Western Himalaya: A Case Study from Ganga River Basin

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AUTHORS: Tanvi Gaur*,Wildlife Institute of India; Hisham Zerriffi, University of British Columbia; Ramesh Krishnamurthy, Wildlife Institute of India; Sarah Gergel, University of British Columbia

ABSTRACT: Humans are continuously altering the ecosystems through multiple interactive pathways to meet the increasing demands of population for food, fresh water, fuelwood, and fiber. Changes in ecosystem affects its ability of producing these ecosystem services that directly or indirectly contributes to the human well-being. Hence, there exists a need to explore the link between the ecosystem services and human well-being at landscape level scale. We investigated this aspect in the Western Himalaya, focusing on Bhagirathi basin, a part of Ganges watershed that drains almost 8846.64 sq. km area in the Uttarakhand state, India. The river Bhagirathi is a major source of water to the tributaries of the river Ganges irrigating 23.41 M-ha of the fertile plains of northern India. The river basin also provides an economic base for a wide array of services including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, livestock, drinking water, irrigation and industrial purposes and experiences huge developmental pressure pertaining to changing land use practices. Based on the population census data of India carried once every 10-year, fuelwood use was identified as the key ecosystem service and the other non-income components such as health, access to basic services, assets, education and work opportunities available to individuals were used to assess and map Quality of life Index (QoL). QoL index (0.18 to 0.89) provided a description of well-being of the households in the villages (N=1932) encompassing the Bhagirathi basin. A correlation analyses indicated a strong negative correlation between fuelwood use and QoL index values (R= -0.40). Similarly, analyses of different landscape variables revealed the role of landscapes in determining the link between ecosystem services and human well-being across the landscape. The study can further be used to guide public policy towards the goal of enhancing human well-being and sustainable management of natural resources in the long-term.

Monday April 9, 2018 5:30pm - 7:00pm CDT
Monroe Room

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