Last updated April 2010 
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Uttranchal, India

Mid 2005, CIFOR’s MLA team was asked to contribute to a multi-partner project aiming to optimise ecosystem services from forest plantations in Uttranchal, Northern India, through improved planning and management. The project had selected the MLA approach for its first phase; the assessment of goods and services from forest plantations. One of our team went to Dehra Dun, a city in the foothills of the North Indian Himalayas, to give a training to project staff and students, mostly focusing on participatory methods. This hands-on training included three days of a field try-out in a small village at 1200m altitude.

The survey was carried out in 6 villages, spread over 2 months.  A major challenge was ‘language’ and not only the local Hindi dialect used by the villagers, but also the communication with villagers about the forests’ intangible functions, like regulation of water and soil protection, recreation, spiritual enrichment, education and habitat functions. MLA surveys so far have mostly focused on the more tangible benefits of forests, although values like ‘recreation’ and ‘future security’ have also been explored. Another new element in this project’s implementation of the MLA approach is the attempt to quantify ecosystem goods and services.



Community meeting to introduce the survey

Participatory mapping by women

In addition, in 2007  a workshop on forest fire management  was held in India, to answer current issues in India. The workshop was jointly organized by Joachim Schmerbeck of the Institute of Silviculture, University of Freiburg, and Ankila Hiremath of the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), in collaboration with the Foundation for Ecological Security (FES) and the Evergreen Trust.