Forest Ecosystem Services

Commissioned by Lead Executing Agency
German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Himachal Pradesh Forest Department
Lead Implementing Agency Duration
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH October 2015 - April 2020


Forests, home to 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, are essential for life on Earth as we find it today. The Indian forests play a vital role in harbouring more than 45,000 floral and 81,000 faunal species, many of which are endemic. Mountain forests are crucial not only for the people residing in the mountains, but also for the large population of the adjacent plains. They provide a number of ecosystem services like the water and climate regulation, soil conservation, provision of resources critical for local livelihoods, and abundant recreational values. By understanding the significance of forest ecosystems, their values for humans, and the planet at large communities have the potential to play a significant role in mainstreaming biodiversity conversation into developmental planning.

Himachal Pradesh is one of the mountain states of India which is both rich in biodiversity and ecosystem services. However, until now the forest management in Himachal Pradesh is very much focused to manage forests for timber. Even though Himachal Pradesh is the first Indian state that has a policy on Payment for Ecosystem Services in place, the approach has not yet been integrated in the forest management plans. Therefore institutions and governance structures have to be in place to implement the ecosystem services approach on the ground.



The project aims to enable the Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh to introduce the Forest Ecosystem Services approach in the state’s forest management in order to reach improved living conditions for the communities in the project areas in Himachal Pradesh that are reached by the new FES methods. In a second step, other Western Himalayan states shall test and use Himachal Pradesh’s implementation experiences on FES.


To introduce the FES approach in the state’s forest management, the project first sensitises the Forest Department and local communities in the pilot areas on the FES approach. For the integration of the FES approach into the forest management of Himachal Pradesh the project is working in three core areas:

  • Preparation of one FES based Forest Working Plan.
  • Establishment and implementation of FES Forest Management Plans in selected demonstration sites addressing the core ecosystem services provided by forests in Himachal Pradesh.
  • Development and institutionalisation of a Long Term Ecological Monitoring (LTEM) that allows the monitoring of the forest biodiversity and ecosystem services provided by forests on state level.


The project has undertaken the respective tasks:

  • Trainings on the FES concepts and approach have been conducted for senior forest officials and ground staff.
  • A forest division for the development of an FES working plan has been selected and got approved by the Forest Department of Himachal Pradesh.
  • For the development of the Long Term Ecological Monitoring (LTEM) system, an International Workshop was conducted in 2017 to define the requirements of such a system as well as the overall aim and design. An international expert is contracted in 2018 to set up the system.
  • An international workshop on "Integration Forest Ecosystem Services in Forest Management" was held in November. The contact with the forest administrations of the neighboring states has been established since. As a following step, the Forest Ecosystem Services approach was conceived and defined in February 2018 in collaboration with the Forestry Authority so that it can be integrated into official work plans and guidelines.
  • The baseline survey in the project areas has been completed. Based on this, the micro-plans of the pilot areas are being developed.


The HP-FES project directly contributes to the SDG 15 Life on Land. It promotes the sustainable management of forests (target 15.2), ensures the conservation of mountain ecosystems (target 15.4) and integrates ecosystem and biodiversity values into state and local planning, (target 15.9).


All brochure and movies of this project can be accessed via the Resources section on this website, by selecting the topic "Forest Ecosystem Services".