Value of forest ecosystem services: a quantitative estimation from the Kangchenjunga landscape in eastern Nepal

The ecosystem services derived from conservation areas have a high value for human well being, but they do not receive due consideration in public policy in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region. As a result, conservation areas do not receive adequate public support for participatory management and other approaches. The lack of recognition is in part due to the lack of explicit calculations of the actual economic value of these areas for the local, regional, and global populations. As in other conservation areas in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, the protected areas around Mount Kangchenjunga, the third highest peak in the world, are facing diverse threats to the capacity of the ecosystem to generate goods and services. These threats result from insufficient investment and weak management stemming from inadequate understanding and recognition of the services that the areas provide. Valuation of ecosystem services is expected to help raise awareness of their importance and stimulate support for appropriate conservation measures. This paper presents the results of an attempt to estimate the monetary value of the goods and services provided by the forest ecosystems of three districts of eastern Nepal.