Climate change is a significant threat to people living in mountainous regions. It is essential to understand how montane communities currently depend especially on the provisioning ecosystem services (ES) and the ways in which climate change will impact these services, so that people can develop relevant adaptation strategies. The ES in the Gurez Valley, in the Western Himalayas of Pakistan, provide a unique opportunity to explore these questions. This understudied area is increasingly exposed not only to climate change but also to the overexploitation of resources. Hence, this study aimed to (a) identify and value provisioning ES in the region; (b) delineate indigenous communities’ reliance on ES based on valuation; and (c) measure the perceptions of indigenous communities of the impact of climate change on the ES in Gurez Valley. Semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions were used to classify the provisioning ES by using the ‘Common International Classification on Ecosystem Services’ (CICES) table and applying the ‘Total Economic Valuation (TEV)’ Framework. Results indicate that the indigenous communities are highly dependent on ES, worth 6730 ± 520 USD/Household (HH)/yr, and perceive climate change as a looming threat to water, crops, and rearing livestock ESS in the Gurez Valley. The total economic value of the provisioning ES is 3.1 times higher than a household’s average income. Medicinal plant collection is a significant source of revenue in the Valley for some households, i.e., worth 766 ± 134.8 USD/HH/yr. The benefits of the sustainable use of ES and of climate change adaptation and mitigation, are culturally, economically, and ecologically substantial for the Western Himalayans.
|Title||Analysis of provisioning ecosystem services and perceptions of climate change for indigenous communities in the Western Himalayan Gurez Valley, Pakistan|
|Authors||Uzma Saeed, Muhammad Arshad, Shakeel Hayat, Toni Lyn Morelli, Muhammad Ali Nawaz|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Ecosystem Services|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center|