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Impacts of payment for ecosystem services of mountain agricultural landscapes on farming women in Nepal

  • Bhubaneswor DhakalEmail author
  • Manohara Khadka
  • Madan Gautam


This study assesses the potential impacts of Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) of mountain agricultural landscapes, with a specific focus on the implications for Nepalese farming women, who have triple roles (managers, workers, and users) with ecosystems goods and services (ESs). It utilizes data of mixed sources: direct observations in the fields, discussions with farm and development workers and published materials. The assessment shows that the impacts of PES on the wellbeing of these women vary with input, process and output pathways. Many farm activities for promoting ESs increase uses of land and labour inputs which can exacerbate workload, health, financial and local food security problems, and hamper meeting the immediate needs of farming women. The extent of input pathway effects depends more on the choice of activity over the type of ES. The production, marketing, and policy-related processes of the PES enhance education, empowerment, entrepreneurship and leadership, and contribute to meeting the strategic needs of the women. The PES increases income, cash flow and employment and improves living environmental conditions. The outputs provide better social protection, offset the adverse effects associated with increasing input uses, and contribute to meeting the women’s basic and strategic needs. Improvement in ES conditions provides additional benefits for farming women over men due to specific requirements associated with their unique body physiology and reproductive function. Appropriate designing and serious implementation are, however, the preconditions of the policy to result in the positive impacts.


Impact-pathways Marginalization Policy-strategy Resource-bases Triple-roles Vulnerability Women 



One of the objectives of this work is to meet organizational objectives of Support for Development, New Zealand (SFD NZ) and Women Leading for Change in Natural Resources, Nepal (WLCN). We would like to thank Mr. Nischal Dhakal, Mr. Rishi Ram Dhakal, Mr. Rishi Ram Kattel and many other anonymous people who provided inputs, constructive comments and suggestions. A special thanks to Prof. John Horwood whose valuable inputs made the paper clear to understand and appealing to reader.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest on the presented information. However, some of the information in this study are based on researchers’ experiences from their farms, communities and jobs. The authors did the study voluntarily to elicit and share growing social and environmental problems in disadvantaged communities due to inappropriate interventions in mountain resource management by national and international development support organizations. The thoughts, views and opinions expressed in this paper are solely of authors and do not reflect to the author’s employer or other affiliated organizations.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chritschurch Health and Development Study, Department of Psychological MedicineUniversity of Otago Christchurch and Support for Development (an independent not for profit organization)ChristchurchNew Zealand
  2. 2.Women Leading for Change in Natural Resources Nepal (WLCN)KathmanduNepal
  3. 3.Bangor University, China CampusChangshaChina

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