Thematic parameters for paper writers:
- Forest degradation – more than the actual cutting of forests, the gradual degradation of forests, typically a result of heavy biomass collection (lopping of trees, litter removal etc), is damaging Himalayan forests.
- Human dependence on forests – in addition to a high dependence for energy (mostly as firewood), agriculture is heavily dependent on forests, be it for fodder and nutrient inputs in the western Himalaya or a direct dependence on forest lands through Jhum cultivation in the eastern Himalaya. In addition, ecotourism, the collection of NTFP (specially by the poorest and most marginalised) and other aspects of forest dependence could be discussed.
- Medicinal plants conservation/cultivation , traditional knowledge and Community livelihoods. – Communities in the Himalayas have since time immemorial conserved and cultivated plants and crops not just for medicinal but also spiritual and health values. Such activities have been based upon a vast knowledge system which has been handed down for generations and many of who are now dependent upon such knowledge systems and activities for their livelihood. These issues need greater attention and policy attention..
- Ecosystem Services – the Himalayan forests provide a variety of ecosystem services which promote and support the lives of hundreds of millions of farmers in the indo gangetic plains of India as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Valuation systems of these ecosystem services are poorly understood. The cross cutting nature of ES and developing these into a common agenda for Himalayan states is as yet at an incipient stage.
- Governance and development - The management of forests varies across the Himalayan arc, from the van panchayats of Uttarakhand to the importance of village councils and the Gomboras in Nagaland. Tenures differ greatly - from largely state ownership in the western Himalaya to community/tribal ownership in the east. This variety of tenurial and usufruct regimes is locally appropriate but may have inhibited the development of overarching governance systems of these forests and the development of national policies that incorporate forests into development models.
- Climate change – the impact on forests and livelihoods. How corridors and migrations routes become even more important and the impact of increased climatic variability and high precipitation events which can lead to disasters. Practicality and importance of mitigation mechanisms such as CDM and REDD.
We invite your papers on the broad issues discussed above.