Media Workshop on Ecosystem Services in Himachal Pradesh

17 Dec, 2019

Many communities of Himachal Pradesh (H.P.) rely extensively on ecosystem services from forests like water, climate regulation, soil conservation, provision of resources critical for their livelihoods, as well as abundant recreational values. Traditionally the forest management of H.P. was principally focused on managing forests for timber. The importance of protecting ecosystems and biodiversity has been recognised politically and has become a national priority by the government because it is also closely linked to the livelihoods of millions of people in India.

A workshop highlighting the importance of ecosystem services and biodiversity in H.P., was jointly convened by the Himachal Pradesh Forest Department (HPFD) and the Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Services (HP-FES) Project implemented by GIZ at The Clarkes Hotel, Shimla on 17th December 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to sensitise media professionals on the importance of reporting on the integration of the Forest Ecosystem Service approach into forest management in H.P. The workshop covered various topics such as Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), Managing Forests as Providers of Water Services, Eco-sensitive Tourism through Community Participation, Conservation-based Approach for Forest Management, Participatory Forest Management, Traditional Water Management Systems of Himachal Pradesh and the various Participatory Forest Management Schemes in H.P.

Welcoming the participants, Mr. Anish Sharma, DFO Publicity HPFD, spoke about the necessity of involving local communities, women, youth and children in plantation. The workshop, facilitated by Ms. Chhaya Bhanti (Vertiver), focused on case studies and landscapes through interactive exercises with media professionals from various media houses. It also highlighted the role of local communities in conserving and monitoring interventions planned by the forest department. The workshop ended with a vote of thanks by Dr. Sanjay Tomar, HP-FES project.

Some of the key recommendations that emerged from the workshop was to create a central information portal featuring forest-based stories, regular engagement and coordination with the media on forest-based activities and news.

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In collaboration with HPFD, the HP-FES project’s objective is to enable the Forest Department to integrate the Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) approach into the state’s forest management. In this approach, forests are managed for the supply of specific services as prioritised by the stakeholders. The target groups of the project are the residents of rural areas of the state who are keepers, users and final beneficiaries of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Under the project, capacity building strategy for the integration of FES approach has been developed and is being carried out for the communities, senior forest officials and the frontline staff of the HPFD.

 
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