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Local perspectives of environmental service change in Sagarmatha National Park, Nepal Many efforts have been made to provide a scientific basis for using environmental services (ES) (Box 1) as a conceptual tool to improve conservation and livelihoods in mountain protected areas (MtPAs). Little attention has been paid to locals‘ concerns, especially in the Himalayas. This study uses a novel application of repeat photography to examine local perceptions of ES change in Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park (Fig. 1). We argue that our methodology could complement biophysical ecosystem assessments in MtPAs (Box 2).





Fig. 2: Taboche peak (6,367m), and its neighbour Jobo Lapstan (6,440m) preside over the lower SNPBZ valleys as seen by E. Schneider 1950s & same photo-point in 2012, archives of A. Byers: and R. Garrard 2012. 3100000


Scale: 1:300'000 5 10 km



Projection: UTM 37N




Khumjung Dingboche



Imja Khola

Ama Dablam



Khunde Khumjung


Population 2001 Namche


• protection from natural hazards • water provision and regulation • food and fiber production • scenic beauty for tourism

-1.5 -2.5 -3.5

food crops




nonwater water timber quantity quality

provisioning services


land- cultural scape

regulating services

cultural services

Environmental services in mountain ecosystems are highly sensitive to climatic and land-use changes.

Population 2011


Photo points 2010/11


Ground Control Points



! .


# 0



National Park 1148 km²


Buffer Zone 275 km² Village Development Committee 460000

Mountain ecosystems provide many ES (e.g. Koerner & Oshawa 20051):


Fig. 3: Perceptions of change in relation to selected ES in SNPBZ; the Likert assessment mean, 75% quartile, and ranges are shown. (N=46); change reference period 1950-2011.

Population 1978


Box 1. Environmental services


0.5 0 -0.5 negative change



positive change

Gorak Shep


Bhote Kosi

i Dudh Kos


Part of Results



Major Land Use/Cover Classes

Food crops and fodder

Landslides and floods

53% of participants say maintaining traditional land-use strategies is getting harder.

75% are worried about changes to regulating services (e.g., protection from natural hazards): river flooding, landslides and erosion due to land-use change.

67% blame demographic and economic factors (e.g., increased tourist demand, reduction of Sherpa workforce).

Needleleaved Forest Mixed Multilayer Forest Broafleaved Forest Shrubland Grazing Land Bare Rocks / Bare Soil Agriculture Lakes / Reservoirs Glacier / Snow Settlement Sources Hillshade: SRTM v4.0, 2006 Land use: DNPWC. Kathmandu, 2011

Imprint Authors: Elias Hodel, Rodney Garrard Centre for Development and Environment University of Berne, 2013

Fig 1: Case study area & UNESCO World Heritage Site. The landscape of SNPBZ has been shaped by centuries of natural processes and human use since the ancestors of the Sherpa people entered the valley of Khumbu around ca 400 years ago.

21% blame intensification of production factors (e.g., chemical fertilisers, irrigation, greenhouses).

Firewood and timber National Parks conservation policies are seen as failing to balance local well-being, conservation and development: .....we used to manage the collection of firewood within the community through our shinngi nawa [timber use tradition]... Now we are only allowed to collect two times a year [for] 10 days and we feel that next year it will be five days and then no access at all....

With predictions of more intense rain (IPCC 20072), and more building in high-risk zones, landslides and floods are likely to accelerate.

Fig. 4: Repeat photography as a diachronic photo-diary as the entry point to understand factors by which locals assess changes to specific ES (R. Garrard 2010).

Box 2. Methodoloy We used a case study approach (DE VAUS 20013) and qualitative interviews, as these focus on concepts relevant to research participants. In each interview, we presented topographical maps and a diachronic photo-diary, which helped researchers and participants elucidate difficult concepts.

We discussed perceptions of changes over time, then changes in selected ES. Interviewees ranked the degree of change on a 7-point Likert scale from -3 (negative change) to +3 (positive change) for each ES. Interviews were subjected to qualitative content analysis (HAY 20004). Fig. 5: Namche Bazar as seen by F. Müller in 1956, and in 2011. The village is the HQ for SNPBZ authorities, today a bustling tourist centre ~1300-400 residents in 2011. (Archives of A. Byers: and R. Garrard 2011).

Contact: Rodney Garrard


Tel. +41 31 631 54 39

2 IPCC 2007. Climate change 2007: Impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Working group ll Contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Forth Assessment report. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press

1 KÖRNER, C. & M. OHSAWA (Coordinating Lead Authors) 2005. Mountain systems. Chapter 24 In R. Hassan et al. (eds.) Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Current State and Trends, Volume 1, Island Press, Washington DC: pp 681-716

environmental management 21

3 DE VAUS, D. 2001. Research Design in Social Research. Sage Publications, London. 4 HAY, L. 2000. Qualitative Research Methods in Human Geography, Oxford University Press.

Garrard es sagarmatha 2013 lowres  
Garrard es sagarmatha 2013 lowres