Ecosystem Services

The Hindu Kush Himalayan region houses diverse ecosystems which harbour a myriad of habitats and remarkable biodiversity. The provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services provided by these ecosystems are enjoyed by the mountain populations of the region, by the people living in the areas downstream, and by people everywhere as part of humanity’s global patrimony. 

In recent years, environmental changes wrought by anthropogenic pressures have led to disruption of the region’s mountain ecosystems, for instance rangelands and shifting cultivation areas. Action at the local, regional, and global levels is required to ensure that ecosystem services are maintained and that the people of the region have the tools they need for mitigation, adaptation, and enhanced resilience. Over the past five years, ICIMOD has investigated and developed strategies for the valuation of ecosystem services and the restoration of degraded ecosystems; it has been involved in strategic environmental assessments, planning, and policy analysis; it has provided policy advice; and it has promoted regional integration of approaches, transboundary cooperation, and participatory natural resource management for the maintenance of ecosystems and transboundary landscapes.

Over the next five years, ICIMOD will work to:

  • continue engagement with partner institutions to promote ecosystem research across ICIMOD’s Regional Programmes;
  • initiate participatory action research for a better understanding of ecological and socioeconomic changes in biodiversity, rangelands, farming systems, forests, wetlands, and watersheds;
  • initiate multidisciplinary collaborative research to monitor environmental changes, to enhance ecological functions in transboundary landscapes, and to fill related data gaps;
  • address, together with partners, the areas of economic valuation of ecosystems and innovative financing mechanisms for natural resource management, including mechanisms such as Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD++), payments for ecosystem services, and access and benefit sharing, among others; and
  • continue implementation of the CBD’s Programme of Work on Mountain Biodiversity and strengthen the biodiversity database for enhanced regional and global access.


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