Ecosystems, Livelihoods and Darjeeling Hills
The Himalayas, one of the key global hotspots of biodiversity, provide livelihoods opportunities to millions of human beings in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region spreading over 8 countries. Rural population living in remote villages across this region depends on local forest ecosystems for their livelihood. Poor in terms of economic indicators, people living in such areas are rich in their heritage, culture, association with forest ecosystems and in protection and conservation of forests. They understand their deep relationship with nature, and the delicate balance which is key for their survival in such hostile conditions. Roads, market access, health facility, opportunity for education are remote to this area.
Low on many socio-economic indicators, people living in this region are pivotal for the conservation of biodiversity and forest ecosystems. Some of the benefits of biodiversity and conservation of natural resources are realised in cities where the urban population is unaware of these custodians of nature. Mechanisms to streamline this process of benefit sharing, equity and sustainability are required to achieve equitable and sustainable future for the poorest of the poor, living in biodiversity rich areas. Do we have a solution?