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Interaction of Biodiversity and Economic Welfare - A Case Study from the Himalayas of India

S. Nautiyal*, K. S. Rajan and R. Shibasaki

Centre for Spatial Information Science, University of Tokyo 4-6-1, Komaba, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo 153-8505, Japan

*Corresponding author. Email:


In any area to achieve the goal of biodiversity conservation, the existing resources must be strengthened, which are helpful to provide the alternate livelihood or income to the local people. However, although various programmes/policies are being set up over the world for conservation of biodiversity, a variety of factors are hurdles to achieve the expected goals. Particularly in developing countries the sustainable livelihood of the local perople is difficult if restrictions are imposed on their traditional usufruct rights over the natural resources. Based on the extensive field work and analysis of satellite imagery in the selected localities of the Indian Himalaya, we found that if the people are having the alternate avenue (profitable options) for earning, their dependencies on the existing resources (only to meet the subsistence needs, not for commercial purpose) will become much lower. Therefore, the biodiversity in these areas is conserved and managed in a healthy way. In this paper, the interactions of biodiversity and economic welfare of local people are discussed in view of understanding that the economic security is more important than pure enforcement of policies for biodiversity conservation.

Keywords: Biodiversity, conservation, Himalaya, medicinal and aromatic plants, NDVI, policies, protected areas, remote sensing

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