Rangelands occupying over 60% of the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) land area. They are mostly found at high altitude and in dry areas and are one of the most fragile and critical ecosystems in the context of the changing climate. The rangelands support a large livestock industry, are the headwaters of the principal river systems of the region, accommodate important watershed functions, provide valuable and biologically diverse resources, and are also becoming increasingly popular as tourist destinations. Sustainable management of rangeland resources is paramount, therefore, not only for the sustenance of local populations but also for the maintenance of the various ecosystem services they provide. Despite the importance of rangeland resources, this vast area is under acknowledged in the government planning and development spending. Global warming is already making the rangeland environment more vulnerable and threatening the ecological security. The poor are hit the hardest, with women and children in particular facing the daily burden of collecting fuel and water from a declining resource base. As the rangeland resources are being increasingly exploited by overgrazing, and by local people trying to fulfil their energy needs, addressing the energy crisis is becoming paramount for sustainable management of the resources. There is an urgent need to bring the multi-stakeholders together for co-management of the rangeland resources. However, many issues are related to global environmental change, but little is known about the impacts and adaptive response mechanisms to this in the HKH region. ICIMOD has been promoting the improvement of rangelands in six countries of the HKH for more than a decade with a view to identifying opportunities for equitable development strategies for rangeland dependent peoples. Building on past experience in facilitating appropriate management of rangeland resources, the RRM assesses changes in resource availability and biodiversity and the affects of various drivers including climate change and globalization; it identifies, develops and demonstrates good practices and effective adaptation strategies for scaling up across rangelands, and it builds partnership and the capacities of cooperating partners to enhance the ecosystem services for improving the livelihoods of poor herders.
Acting Action Area Team Leader