Economic valuation of biodiversity and ecosystem services is possibly the most powerful tool for halting the loss of biodiversity while maintaining incomes and livelihoods. Yet rarely have such approaches been applied to tropical forest 'hotspots', which house the vast majority of the planets plant and animal species. This ground-breaking work is the most comprehensive and detailed examination of the economics of environmental valuation and biodiversity conservation to date.
Focusing on the Western Ghats of India, one of the top biodiversity hotspots in the world, this volume looks at a cross-section of local communities living within or near sanctuaries and reserve forests such as coffee growers, indigenous people and farmers-cum-pastoralists to assess the use and non-use values that people derive from tropical forests. It also looks at the extent of their dependence on forests for various goods and services, and examines their perceptions and attitudes towards biodiversity conservation and wildlife protection. The book concludes with an assessment of the institutional alternatives and policies for promoting biodiversity conservation through economic valuation methods.
'As Ninan observes in the preface, rigorous empirical work on computation of costs and benefits of conservation is lacking, although the need for biodiversity conservation has received considerable attention… Within the task set, the present study is very well executed, and compels not only attention but also admiration.' – The Indian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2008.
'This volume is a significant and timely contribution to the scholarship on the economic issues that underlie biodiversity loss in developing countries… Useful and informative and will prove valuable to students, academics, researchers, natural resource managers, and policy makers.' – Collins Ayoo, University of Calgary, Canada in The Natural Resources Journal.
'Lays down an important challenge for future valuation studies and for development of financial and political capacities to secure extra-local values of conservation…. the book deserves to be part of any course that addresses the valuation or governance of biodiversity and forest conservation. A wonderful comprehensive overview of the socially and ecologically fascinating Western Ghats of value to students of forestry, anthropology, and South Asia.' – Jeff Romm in American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 2010.
'This book makes an important contribution to the economic valuation of biodiversity conservation in the tropical forests of one of India's two viodiversity hotspots, the Western Ghats… exemplary in basing conclusions on evidence accumulated using established techniques.' – Graham Dawson in Forest Policy and Economics, 2007.
'The case studies in the book provide new biodiversity insights and raise issues of global significance. This book deserves to be read by all who have an interest in the economics of biodiversity conservation.' – Clem Tisdell in Ecological Economics, 2008.
Introduction 1. Land Use and Crop Pattern Changes, Pressure on Natural Resources and Status of Biodiversity in Selected Regions 2. The Context of a Coffee Growing Village 3. The Context of Tribal Villages Located within and near a National Park 4. The Context of Agricultural-cum-pastoral Villages Located within and near a Wildlife Sanctuary 5. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations