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Nepal’s natural habitats and the ecosystem services theyservices provide Ecosystem

How much do we know about ecosystem services in Nepal? It has been estimated that Nepal stores 485 million metric tonnes of carbon (in living biomass, FAO 2006), equivalent to almost 50% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2009, thereby contributing to global climate change regulation. There are now on-line tools that can illustrate this spatially, showing that not all areas are equally important for all services, with carbon storage in the Terai and High Himalaya (where fewer trees occur) being relatively low compared to that of the Siwalik, Middle and High Mountains.

Biomass carbon stored in above and below-ground living vegetation

SOURCE Ruesch and Gibbs (2008) IPCC Tier-1 global biomass carbon map for 2000. Available online from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center http:/ /cdiac.ornl.gov.

Similarly, it is possible to illustrate water flows spatially, showing that some areas, such as the central region of Nepal, are very important for providing water to surrounding areas (including the Kathmandu Valley.

Per capita water availability according to regional administrative boundaries Where water balance is shown as negative, water use is supported by upstream sources and/or groundwater

SOURCE Waterworld version 2.3 (2012). Available on-line from http:// www.policysupport.org/waterworld.

As well as general analyses, there have been a number of more specific projects in Nepal that deal with ecosystem services. Some relate to opportunities for developing or piloting Payment for Ecosystem Service schemes (PES, see p.9), such as carbon credit projects taking advantage of emerging markets for forest carbon (e.g. by the Asia Network for Sustainable Agriculture and Bioresources, ANSAB). Others relate specifically to mountain habitats (e.g. by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD) or wetlands (e.g. by the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal project, CSUWN).

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Conserving biodiversity and delivering ecosystem services at Important Bird Areas in Nepal  

This report presents the results of a study which has helped to test a new practical ‘toolkit’ for assessing ecosystem services at the sites...

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