Citizen science and policy support systems for ecosystem services valuation and decision-making
Mountains possess a rich array of natural capital and ecosystem services such as water, land, biodiversity & natural habitats and landscape beauty, which directly underpin local livelihoods and well-being. The ecosystem services derived from water & land resources especially play fundamental role in local livelihood activities. Similarly, natural beauty, cultural heritage and aesthetic values also provide diverse opportunities for better local livelihoods. However, these natural capital and ecosystem services are yet to be fully realized into local development planning processes. There is still a huge gap of data and knowledge about their state, how the ecosystem services are produced and delivered to consumers as well as current pressure and future threats upon critical ecosystem services. A marginal change in hydrological attributes could have a significant impact on agricultural productivity. The region is also highly vulnerable to natural disasters, climate change and demographic changes. In this situation, participatory monitoring of ecosystem functionalities is crucial to generate locally relevant data and knowledge for the better understanding of ecosystem services. Then, the application of these data into appropriate web-based policy support systems could improve the local decision making, and thus leading to poverty alleviation and promoting sustainable development in the region.
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