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Capturing forest dependency in the central Himalayan region: Variations between Oak (Quercus spp.) and Pine (Pinus spp.) dominated forest landscapes

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Abstract

Our study explores the nexus between forests and local communities through participatory assessments and household surveys in the central Himalayan region. Forest dependency was compared among villages surrounded by oak-dominated forests (n = 8) and pine-dominated forests (n = 9). Both quantitative and qualitative analyses indicate variations in the degree of dependency based on proximity to nearest forest type. Households near oak-dominated forests were more dependent on forests (83.8%) compared to households near pine-dominated forests (69.1%). Forest dependency is mainly subsistence-oriented for meeting basic household requirements. Livestock population, cultivated land per household, and non-usage of alternative fuels are the major explanatory drivers of forest dependency. Our findings can help decision and policy makers to establish nested governance mechanisms encouraging prioritized site-specific conservation options among forest-adjacent households. Additionally, income diversification with respect to alternate livelihood sources, institutional reforms, and infrastructure facilities can reduce forest dependency, thereby, allowing sustainable forest management.

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Acknowledgements

AC would like to acknowledge HSBC Climate Scholarship of TERI University for funding her doctoral research. PKJ and KS would like to acknowledge the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India (GoI) for their support (Project Serial Number: R&D/NNRMS/2/2013-14). PKJ is also thankful to DST-PURSE (Department of Science and Technology-Promotion of University Research and Scientific Excellence) of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for the research support. The authors are thankful to the local communities in villages of Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts, Uttarakhand, India, for their high level of cooperation and contribution in completion of this study. The authors are extremely grateful to the anonymous reviewers and the editorial board for providing valuable comments and suggestions.

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Chakraborty, A., Joshi, P.K. & Sachdeva, K. Capturing forest dependency in the central Himalayan region: Variations between Oak (Quercus spp.) and Pine (Pinus spp.) dominated forest landscapes. Ambio 47, 504–522 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13280-017-0947-1

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