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Adaptive Forest Management in the Western Himalayan Region

The Western Himalayan forest ecosystems are one of the most important eco-regions for India. These forests provide life support system for millions of people in upland and much more in the lowlands of Indo-Gangetic plans through the various ecosystem services that they provide. The various ecosystem services, water in particular, are facing serious threat due to degradation, land-use change, over-extraction of natural resources, large scale infrastructure development, tourism, pollution that is affecting water quality (e.g. solid waste dumping in Himalayan Forests). According to a NITI Aayog (National Institute for Transforming India) report, nearly 50% of the springs are drying up in the Indian Himalayan region. Climate change is exacerbating this situation even further. The warming trend in the Himalayas is higher than the global average and has been witnessing an increased frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events and natural hazards. There is a need for developing and evaluating strategies that can adapt forest management practices to balance multiple objectives, often competing, under changing environmental conditions.

Against this background, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has requested GIZ to develop a TC module proposal “Adaptive Forest Management for Water Security and Improved Livelihoods in the Western Himalaya Region” (working title) as an integral part of the BMZ programme “Climate and Environment in Rural India“. The focus of this approach is to develop and evaluate strategies to continuously adapt forest management practices so that competing forest management objectives are aligned under changing environmental conditions. To this end, instruments and methods will be developed that aim at the long-term preservation of ecosystem services with a focus on water availability and quality.

The main envisaged partner is the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC). Other envisaged partners are partner states, local sectoral authorities, NGOs, community-based institutions and scientific institutes. The project preparation is being contributed through a brief assessment as well as an appraisal mission between March 2020 till September 2020. Rajan Kotru is the key member of the mission as Forest Management Expert.

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