TII Studies, Unravel the Tremendous Value of Biodiversity in India

28 Apr, 2016

“Values of ecosystem services need to be related in the overall development context. We need a better science-policy connect, for considering macro and micro development priorities while recommending strategies for mainstreaming ecosystem services values in planning and decision making,” emphasised Mr Ashoka Lavasa, Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), during the release of TII at the workshop 'Valuing, Managing and Investing in Ecosystem Services in South Asia,' held on 28-29 April, 2016 in New Delhi.

In picture (from left): TII factsheets released by Priya Shyamsundar, Mr. Sushil Kumar, Mr. Ashoka Lavasa, Mr. Edgar Endrukaitis, Dr. Pushpam Kumar (UNEP)

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity- India Initiative (TII), launched in 2012 by MoEFCC, Government of India, as a technical cooperation with GIZ; aims to make the values of biodiversity and the linked ecosystem services explicit for consideration and mainstreaming into developmental planning. TII factsheets were released by Mr. Ashoka Lavasa, Secretary, (MoEFCC), Mr. Sushil Kumar, Special Secretary (MoEFCC), Mr. Edgar Endrukaitis, Director, Indo-German Biodiversity Programme (GIZ), Dr. Priya Shyamsundar (SANDEE) and Dr. Pushpam Kumar (UNEP). The factsheets provide one-page summaries of salient findings and overall recommendations of TII, for the three ecosystems, namely forests, inland wetlands and coastal and marine ecosystems.

While addressing the dignitaries and the participants at the conference, Mr. Edgar Endrukaitis, Director, Indo-German Biodiversity Programme shared “the cooperation between the Governments of India and Germany to implement biodiversity conservation measures, aimed at preserving India’s biodiversity is reflected in the portfolio of dedicated projects under the Indo-German Biodiversity Programme. TII studies highlight and illustrate the approach, salient findings and provide overall recommendations to show how economic concepts and tools can help equip society with the means to incorporate the values of nature into decision making at all levels.”

The two-day workshop, jointly organised by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC); Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE); aimed to share knowledge, identify policy lessons, and examine the feasibility of converting research results of TII into actionable management and policy changes from local to national levels. The workshop, attended by more than 100 participants from national and international organisations, examined priorities to scale-up research results and identify key strategies that could make a difference on the ground.

“The release of TII studies a major landmark for us, as it emphasises India’s approach towards Sustainable Development. TII studies unravel the immense values of biodiversity in India, and now we need to disseminate these values to policy makers, people at large, and prepare a roadmap for the future. In the past we have evaluated the values of the diverse ecosystems found in India, and now it’s time to embed them in decision making and planning,” remarked Mr Sushil Kumar, Special Secretary, (MoEFCC).

In Mr. Ashok Lavasa addressing the participants

The workshop focussed on themes relevant to ecosystems management in South Asia, mainly - valuation and contribution of ecosystem services to livelihoods and human well-being, addressing conservation-development tradeoffs, distributional equity, and use of economic instruments for management and decision making.

The factsheets are available for download TII studies

Key Highlights of the TII studies:

  • A single vulture provides scavenging services worth approximately US$ 11,583.
  • Benefits from just timber, fuelwood, non-timber forest products (NTFP), and carbon sequestration from 10 square kilometres of the Western Ghats forests are worth over US$ 387,000.
  • The Loktak Lake in Manipur has enough water resources to generate US$ 3 million of hydropower.
  • The transformation of the multi-functional Kanwar Jheel in Bihar to solely an agricultural function will cause economic losses that outweigh the benefits by more than seven times.
  • Every dollar invested in the restoration of the Chilika Lake has yielded five dollars of ecosystem services benefits.
  • Restoration of the Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir will increase hydropower generation yielding US$ 1.1 million per year.
  • The Little Rann of Kachch provides annual economic benefits worth US$ 25.3 million.
  • The Panna Tiger Reserve, Raneh Falls, and a sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh have a combined economic value of US$ 1.3 million per year.
  • An increased clam population in the Ashtamudi Lake in Kerala reduces the time it takes to filter lake water by 138 days.
  • Seasonal fishing bans help restore ecosystems and rejuvenate fisheries.
  • Mangroves planted in Gujarat provide economic benefits worth US$ 1.6 million annually.


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