English | Dzongkha Friday, November 24, 2017

Valuation of ecosystem services crucial to frame national policies

Sangay Chezom, Paro
May 28, 2017

The first-ever regional conference on Natural Capital and Payment for Environmental Sciences called for integration of assessment of ecosystem services into decision making.

The three-day conference was in Paro and ended yesterday.

From supporting food production system to purifying air and water, the natural capital such as soil, rivers, forest products, and other plant species are benefitting the people.

However, experts say ecosystem services are taken for granted or sometimes undervalued in decision making. And hence quantifying the value of natural capital is deemed necessary.

“We don’t know how much we are benefitted from forest ecosystem services. So estimating the value of forest ecosystem services is important,” said Sigyel Dema, the Deputy Chief Forestry Officer, Watershed Management Division, adding that through such means, information can be gathered for better planning and decision making at the national level.

Also, according to the study carried out along the Chamkharchhu sub basin in Bumthang, it was discovered that ecosystem services can benefit hydropower plants in the country.

“Hydropower plants are dependent on river system. But with increased sedimentation, turbines of hydroelectric stations are affected. So if the upstream of watershed area is protected mainly by paying the people living near the watershed area, sedimentation will be reduced. This will help hydropower plants generate more power,” said an official from World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in Bhutan, Nagdrel Lhamo.

The Watershed Management Division under the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, WWF Bhutan and the World Bank collaborated for organising the conference.

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