Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas: A ‘Cookbook’ for Emerging IES Practitioners in the Region

leased for cultivation, and 25 per cent of the budget was allocated for income generating activities and separate pasture land. At the CFUGs’ request, in some cases the FCTF also provided NPR 5,000-10,000 per household to purchase biomass briquetting presses, improved cooking stoves and biogas installations, to reduce the pressure on wood resources. Many CFUG members in the watershed area were aware that the money given by REDD was intended to incentivize forest conservation. Regardingmonitoringandverificationofthispilot,FECOFUN and ANSAB collected baseline data on forest carbon and the economic status of the community. Sixteen females and 93 males fromwithin the Kayarkhola watershed were involved in the forest carbon measurement survey. The project was closely monitored by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (Janajati Mahasangh), the Forest Carbon Trust Fund Advisory Committee, the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, the REDD Forestry and Climate Change Cell, the Himalayan Grassroots Women’s Natural Resource Management Association, ICIMOD, FECOFUN, ANSAB and the REDD networks from the three watershed sites.

was high. Bothmale and female heads of households were recorded as participants, which reportedly had a positive impact on the representation and visibility of women. Lessons learned: This project incentivized local communities’ efforts to increase their forest carbon stock, with payments based on the following indicators in the pilot: a) total increase in carbon stock, and b) socioeconomics and institutional arrangement. Despite some challenges, the project has shown the capability of local communities to monitor carbon in their forests, make verifiable claims for REDD+ carbon payments, and manage a benefit-sharing mechanism in a fair, equitable and transparent manner (ICIMOD, 2012). There is also evidence that the REDD+ pilot had a positive effect on forests and carbon: even within the short time frame of this pilot study, an increase in forest cover after the REDD project was observed through remote sensing imaging. Table 3 below shows the status of the forest cover after the payments ended compared with the period before. Possible improvements: Led by the community, the project could be more comprehensive, in particular for women, and include more biogas constructions, scholarships, education and health camps. Long-term establishment of funding (beyond the seed grant) and long-term management plans and agreement would be desirable.

At the same time as REDD, an additional women’s empowerment programme was initiated, and participation

Area (ha)

Land-cover class



Forest to non-forest Non-forest to forest

250 531

140 168


Forest to non-forest Non-forest to forest

25 180

1.1 33

Community forests

Forest to non-forest Non-forest to forest

3.6 14

0.3 9.5

Leasehold forests

Table 3. Forest cover change in Khayarkhola watershed for two periods of time, (2002-2009 and 2009-2012). Source: Gilani et al., 2015.


Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas

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