Gender and Biodiversity Management in the Greater Himalayas; Towards Equitable Mountain Development
The greater Himalayan region boasts a rich variety of genetic resources, species, and ecosystems of global importance. Men and women depend on biodiversity resources to meet their cultural, socioeconomic, and environmental needs, yet they use these resources in different ways and have different knowledge about how to conserve them. Women have a critical role in maintaining and sustaining local-level biodiversity resources and hold extensive knowledge of crops and wild plants, agricultural practices, local species, and the genetic management of plants and animals. However, analysis of the gender dimensions of biodiversity management in mountain ecosystems is still emerging as an area of research. This publication presents six case studies on gender aspects of biodiversity conservation and management. They address conservation issues related to women's practices in: shifting cultivation (Bangladesh); use of wild yam (Bhutan); yeast production (Bhutan); in situ agrobiodiversity conservation (India); kinema making practices from soybean (India); and community forestry leadership (Nepal). The study contributes policy and research recommendations for promoting and improving gender-sensitive and -inclusive biodiversity conservation and management practices in complex mountain contexts. It will be useful for development practitioners, researchers, policy makers, development planners, and civil society organizations working on sustainable and equitable natural resources management in the greater Himalayan region.