With a generous financial support (SCTA grant) from the ialeUK, I presented my research findings at the ‘Planet Under Pressure – New Knowledge Towards Solutions’ conference in London (held between 26-29 March 2012). The grant was hugely important to cover my conference registration fee. The conference was an important event to deal with the major environmental concerns facing across the world. Academicians and professionals from various disciplines such as ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation, climate change and sustainable development from around the world attended the conference. The conference was also a major event to provide the scientific back up to the Rio+20 conference which was also recently held in Brazil.
Our presentation title and abstract was as follows:
Title: Effects of Protected Areas on Freshwater Ecosystem Services in the Indo-Gangetic Basin
We have assessed the protected area (PA) impact on freshwater ecosystem services (ES) in the Indo-Gangetic Basin (IGB) region. Key focus is on how conservation mechanisms have affected water related ES within and immediate downstream areas of the PA catchments. The study has analysed the best available datasets of bio-physical, environmental and socio-economic properties at 1km and 1ha spatial resolution. For the selected PA catchments, we have used 1 ha spatial resolution datasets. We applied advance hydrological modelling tools that include Co$ting Nature tool and the WaterWorld-Policy Support System (WW-PSS) to assess the quality and the quantity of freshwater ES. Using Co$ting Nature tool, we assessed the human footprint on freshwater ES across the region. We used WW-PSS model to understand the change in water discharge in selected PA catchments by applying different land use scenarios. With the exception of PA catchments, increased human footprint on freshwater ES is clearly noticed. The PA catchments are supplying nearly 100% filtered freshwater. Reforestation and improved management of PA catchments have resulted in better quality of freshwater supply, although the water balance is slightly diminished because of increased evapotranspiration ratio in the catchments. It is also clear that the increasing human population has huge impact on freshwater ES across the region. We concluded that the PA catchments are the major source of improved freshwater ES in the IGB region. The freshwater ES of PA catchments must be understood for their primary role in providing better quality of freshwater supply to people within the PA catchments and their immediate downstream areas.
Keywords: Freshwater ecosystem services; protected areas; spatial analysis; human footprint.
Authors: B. Pandeya1, M. Mulligan1
1Environmental Monitoring and Modelling Research Group, King’s College London, United Kingdom
By presenting research findings in such a global scientific conference has significantly helped me to strengthen my research capability in freshwater and conservation sustainability related issues. Our research abstract was published in a book of abstracts. To disseminate our research findings through an international scientific journal, we are currently writing a full research paper on this title which will be submitting to ‘Ecological Economics’ in near future. Now, I am also planning to share those research outputs to my colleagues and academic staff through a departmental seminar.
Finally, I am hugely grateful for the SCTA grant. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the ialeUK for the support.
Department of Geography
King’s College London