2020
  • Non-ICIMOD publication

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Ecosystem services in a snow leopard landscape: A comparative analysis of two high-elevation national parks in the Karakoram–Pamir

  • Jaffar Ud Din
  • Muhammad Ali Nawaz
  • Yusoff Norma-Rashid
  • Farid Ahmad
  • Kamran Hussain
  • Hussain Ali
  • Durriyyah Sharifah Hasan Adli
  • Summary

The high-elevation mountain ecosystems in the Karakoram and Pamir mountain ranges encompass enchanting landscapes, harbor unique biodiversity, and are home to many indigenous pastoral societies that rely on ecosystem services for their survival. However, our understanding of the value of ecosystem services to a household economy is limited. This information is essential in devising sustainable development strategies and thus merits consideration. In this preliminary study, we attempted to assess and compare the value of selected ecosystem services of the Khunjerab and Qurumbar National Parks (KNP and QNP) in the Karakoram–Pamir in northern Pakistan using market-based and value transfer methods. Our results indicated that the economic benefits derived from the 2 high-elevation protected areas were US$ 4.6 million (QNP) and US$ 3.8 million (KNP) per year, translating into US$ 5955 and US$ 8912 per household per year, respectively. The monetary benefits from provisioning services constituted about 93% in QNP and 48% in KNP, which vividly highlights the prominence of the economic benefits generated from the protected areas for the welfare of disadvantaged communities. Together with the regulatory and cultural services valued in this study, the perceived economic impact per household per year was 10–15 times higher than the mean household income per year. Considering the limited livelihood means and escalating poverty experienced by buffer zone communities, these values are substantial. We anticipate that communities' dependency on resources will contribute to increased degradation of ecosystems. We propose reducing communities' dependency on natural resources by promoting sustainable alternative livelihood options and recognizing ecosystem services in cost–benefit analyses when formulating future policies.

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