A Union government report published July 2019 pegged the stock benefits provided by the reserve at nearly Rs 50,000 crore
The Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) in Odisha has been in news due to forest fires that are currently dotting the area. But they are not just any other forest fires. The region is a huge source of environmental services to humans.
A Union government report published July 2019 pegged at Rs 29,897.49 crore per year, the direct and indirect benefits these forests provide to human health.
The report, Economic Valuation of Tiger Reserves in India: A Value + Approach (Phase II) calculated annual tangible and intangible benefits of STR at Rs 69.21 crore and Rs 65,793.71 crore, respectively.
The report defined ecosystem services “as benefits in terms of goods or services provided by nature which are of fundamental importance to human well-being, for health, livelihoods, and survival”.
These could include the forests of the tiger reserve enriching the soil by preventing soil erosion and the leaching of chemicals, fixing gases in the atmosphere and improving the genepool.
“The tiger reserve provides flow benefits worth Rs 16,030.1 crore per year (Rs. 5.89 lakh per hectare) and stock benefits of Rs 49,832.80 crore per year,” the report reads.
The main ecosystem services provided by STR according to the report include provisioning of water (Rs 7,033.05 crore per year), genepool protection (Rs 2,623.08 crore per year) and climate regulation (Rs 3,482.72 crore per year).
“Under the Total Economic Value framework, the annual direct-, indirect benefits and option values were Rs 89.53 crore, Rs 13,317.50 crore and Rs 2,623.08 crore, respectively,” the document said.
According to the Millenium Ecosystem Assessment, the value of provisioning services was Rs 69.21 crore per year and that of regulating services was Rs 15,894.86 crore per year.
In terms of the human values and ecosystem assets framework, the annual worth of service categories were adequate resources (Rs 7,042.03 crore), protection from disease (Rs 20.34 crore), benign physical and chemical environment (Rs 6,284.43crore), socio-cultural fulfilment (Rs 60.23 crore) and ecosystem assets (Rs 52,455.88 crore).
The report was prepared by the Centre for Ecological Services Management, Bengaluru and the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, in collaboration with the National Tiger Conservation Authority.
The first phase of the study had been commissioned by the NTCA in 2013-2015. “It was an attempt to showcase the value of nature’s benefits and their immense contribution to people’s well-being,” the report says.
This study covered six tiger reserves including Corbett, Kanha, Kaziranga, Periyar, Ranthambore and Sundarbans.
The Phase II study was commissioned with the objective of accomplishing economic valuation of tiger reserves in 10 tiger reserves including Anamalai, Bandipur, Dudhwa, Melghat, NagarjunasagarSrisailam, Pakke, Palamau, Panna, Similipal and Valmiki.
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