Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region
While a rapid assessment can identify possible upstream and downstream linkages, the quantifying step is to understand which specific upstream activities are impacting the flow of ecosystem services downstream, and which specific actions can be taken to improve the situation, and at what rate. Step 4. Quantifying
To inform these dynamics, advanced understanding of the drivers of ecosystem change (scientific information) may be paired with local information (for example, community consultation) on the range of possible activities and impacts. A crucial question is whether it is feasible for the proposed management activity to be undertaken by the ecosystem service producers or ecosystem managers that have already been identified. How will goals be set?
How will results be documented? Who will participate? How many households will be affected and in what ways?
Ultimately, the willingness to pay or provide other forms of incentives for an ecosystem service, and the willingness to provide it, rests on proof that the management action ‘works’ and is being performed to the agreed standard. In this step it is important to specify place, time, duration, and the specific management action or actions being considered. In many cases, it is important to quantify the causal relationship between upstream action and downstream ecosystem service quality. Tools may include: • GIS based land-use/land-change map analysis • Participatory community mapping • Focus Group Discussions • Direct observation • Stakeholders analysis/actor constellation • Statistical estimation of quantified ecosystem service production and change • Scientific estimation of how different land covers affect ecosystem service provision • Lessons learned from other cases
Step 4: Quantifying • Quantify existing ecosystem service flows • Quantify management impact on ecosystem service, over specific areas and time • Assess possible costs of ‘transaction’ (to formalize, mobilize or secure payments or other incentives)
Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas
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