In developing countries, the landscape surrounding agricultural land is important for maintaining biodiversity and providing ecosystem services. Forests provide a full suite of goods and services to subsistence farmers in the Himalayan agro-ecological system. The effects of biomass outtake on woody species richness and composition were analysed in forests under communal and government management. Interviews on forest use and perception of forest condition and ecosystem service delivery were conducted in farmer households bordering the forests. Significantly more woody species were found in the community managed forests. Species richness was negatively correlated with walking distance from the nearest village and increasing levels of anthropogenic disturbance. Community forests were generally less degraded than government managed forests, giving support to common pool resource management. Woody vegetation represented a crucial source of fuelwood, timber, fodder, and edible, aromatic and medicinal plants. Using a multidisciplinary framework to analyse ecosystem integrity and ecosystem service delivery enabled a finer understanding of these complex agro-ecological systems, giving support to evidence-based management and conservation planning for the future.
Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s):
MÃ REN, INGER E. KHEM R. BHATTARAI RAM P. CHAUDHARY