|Commissioned by||Lead Executing Agency|
|German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)||Himachal Pradesh Forest Department|
|Lead Implementing Agency||Duration|
|Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH||October 2015 - April 2020|
Forests, home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity is essential for life on earth. The Indian forests play a vital role in harbouring more than 45,000 floral and 81,000 faunal species, many of which are endemic. Mountain forests are crucial, not only for the people residing in the mountains, but also for the large population of the adjacent plains. They offer a number of ecosystem services like water and climate regulation, soil conservation, provision of resources critical for local livelihoods and abundant recreational values.
By understanding the significance of forest ecosystems, their value for humans and the planet at large, the local communities can play a potentially significant role in mainstreaming biodiversity conservation into developmental planning. This Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) approach is expected to result in improved biodiversity and enhanced flow of forest ecosystem services. It also provides a long-term development potential for the rural population. Himachal Pradesh (HP) is one of the mountain states of India. With around 3,300 plant species and more than 5,700 animal species, the state is rich in biodiversity, which is key to the important services that the state’s forests provide.
The Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services project aims to enable the Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh to introduce the Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) approach in the state’s forest management system to improve living conditions of the communities residing in the project areas of the state that are reached by the new FES methods. In a second step, other Western Himalayan states shall test and use Himachal Pradesh’s implementation experiences on FES.
To introduce the Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) approach in the state’s forest management, the project first sensitises the Forest Department and local communities in the pilot areas on the FES approach. To integrate FES approach into the forest management of Himachal Pradesh, the project is working in three core areas:
Policy and institutionalisation of Forest Ecosystem Services
Recommendations and operational guidelines for the policy on Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) are being reviewed and will be finalised during the third quarter of 2020.
Micro plans focusing on zone-wise management of FES prioritised by local communities and the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (HPFD) have been developed for all the 9 project demonstration sites in the state: Alha, Bohal, Loharlari, Cheola, Kharota, Ghanduri, Shangarh, Hamta and Pathrevi.
Solan forest divisional working plan targeting to integrate the FES approach as per the new National Working Plan code, 2014 is in progress. The methodology for integrating this approach is developed and being implemented by HPFD. The section for integrating FES approach will be finalised by the third quarter of 2020.
Long-Term Ecological Monitoring (LTEM)
An LTEM framework has been developed in consultation with HPFD to understand the dynamics of forest ecosystem for developing appropriate management strategies to ensure a sustained flow of ecosystem services for society. To sustain LTEM, the HPFD has institutionalised the system with the working plan division.
Capacity Building and livelihood improvement
Training sessions for the front-line staff of HPFD focused on assessing FES for the working plan; LTEM; monitoring and evaluation (M&E); forest fire management and nursery raising. Livelihood training sessions for village communities focused on pine-needle artefact-making; processing non-timber forest products (NTFPs); solid waste management; birdwatching and homestays operation and management.
“We now look forward to a successful bamboo plantation and reduced water scarcity in the area after the project activities”
- Balvinder Singh, Village Forest Management Society, Kharota
Read the story of how the residents of Kharota in Himachal Pradesh, a demonstration site of the HP-FES project, were encouraged to revive their old nature-based practices and focus on Forest Ecosystem Services by enhancing a good stock of local bamboo plantation which they raised and protected to attain raw materials sustainably.
“Forests are not just for fire, fuel and timber. They also offer multiple other benefits.”
- Villagers in Bohal
Listen to the story of how the residents of Bohal, Himachal Pradesh, a demonstration site of the HPFES project, managed a beautiful oak forest and also learnt to value it for the various ecosystem services it offers.
“I look forward to self-dependency by selling pine needle products”
- Hansa Kumar, Resident, Pathrevi
Read how the village community in Pathrevi was encouraged by the project to use pine needles as a resource for making artefacts and earn cash-income. Their direct dependence on forest resources ensures their active participation in forest protection and conservation.
The HP-FES project directly contributes to the SDG 15 Life on Land. It promotes the sustainable management of forests (target 15.2), ensures the conservation of mountain ecosystems (target 15.4) and integrates ecosystem and biodiversity values into state and local planning, (target 15.9).
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