Coimbatore

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve generates ecological services worth Rs. 14,650 cr a year

The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve generates benefits in the form of employment for local communities.   | Photo Credit: M_Sathyamoorthy

The Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) is priceless, due to its rich, varied and unique biodiversity. However, the economic value that the ecological services the forests provide has been estimated for the first time, and has been pegged at more than Rs. 14,650 crores a year.

The economic evaluation of the ecosystem services that MTR provides was carried out by U.Srinivasan, ACF trainee from the Central Academy for State Forest Service (CASFOS), Burnihat, under the guidance of the Field Director of MTR, K.K.Kaushal.

“Ecosystem services can be defined as benefits in terms of goods or services provided by nature which are of fundamental importance to human well-being, health, livelihoods and survival,” said Mr. Srinivasan, who added that the ecological services forests provide are not limited to just the regions where they are located, but globally as well.

The tiger reserve generates benefits in the form of employment generation for local communities, fodder, Non-timber forest produce (NTFP), fuel wood, while also offering non-tangible services such as gene-pool protection, carbon sequestration, water-provisioning, soil conservation, nutrient retention, habitats for wildlife, biological control, pollination, as a space for recreation, gas and climate regulation.

By extrapolating available data from the tiger reserve and applying pre-established models used to put a monetary value to the ecological services provided by the reserve, the MTR management has valued the cost of ecological services rendered by the reserve at Rs. 14,654 crores. “The value of climate regulation alone has been estimated to be of benefit worth Rs. 932.10 crores per year, while the estimated worth of the forests for human health and well-being was almost Rs. 7,000 crores,” said Mr. Srinivasan.

Field Director of MTR, K.K.Kaushal, said that by putting a monetary value to ecological services rendered by the reserve, a scale can be established, so that people can get a general idea about how valuable our forests are. “A proper understanding of these benefits generates awareness and assists in assessing the trade-offs and strengthens the case for conservation. These evaluations also help people understand the value of tiger reserves not just as habitats for wildlife such as the endangered Asian elephant and the tiger, but as having real-world benefits that benefit local communities as well as humanity as a whole,” said Mr. Kaushal.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2021 6:07:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/mudumalai-tiger-reserve-generates-ecological-services-worth-rs-14650-cr-a-year/article33171762.ece

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