Spiritual enrichment or ecological protection?: A multi-scale analysis of cultural ecosystem services at the Mai Pokhari, a Ramsar site of Nepal

Sunita Chaudhary, Andrew McGregor, Donna Houston, Nakul Chettri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Ecosystem services, a globalizing discourse referring to benefits humans gain from ecosystems, has been rapidly mainstreamed into scientific and political thinking of environmental management. However, non-material benefits, also known as cultural services, have been rather subsumed within the dominant ecosystem services discourse. This paper explores local cultural services in the Mai Pokhari, a Ramsar site of Nepal, and adopts a multi-scalar analysis to explore the implications of global policy making at the local scale.The research, informed by political ecology, applies mixed methods. At the local scale, spirituality, sense of place and traditional practices were identified as important local cultural values within ecosystem management. But such local values were found to be marginalized in conservation policy making at national and global levels. The Ramsar listing at the case study site resulted in restrictions on community activities and opened the possibility of resettlement, creating disenchantment among the local community whose access to cultural services was curtailed. The study emphasizes the need to recognise and value local cultural services in policy-making at all levels. This is important not only for refining and improving global conservation policy initiatives based on ecosystem services, but also for securing just and sustainable conservation and development goals.

LanguageEnglish
Article number100972
Pages1-10
Number of pages10
JournalEcosystem Services
Volume39
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019

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Nepal
ecosystem service
ecosystem services
Ecosystem
policy making
Policy Making
cultural values
conservation
sense of place
ecosystem management
environmental management
refining
Spirituality
Conservation of Natural Resources
Ecology
Values
case studies
discourse
ecology
resettlement

Cite this

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title = "Spiritual enrichment or ecological protection?: A multi-scale analysis of cultural ecosystem services at the Mai Pokhari, a Ramsar site of Nepal",
abstract = "Ecosystem services, a globalizing discourse referring to benefits humans gain from ecosystems, has been rapidly mainstreamed into scientific and political thinking of environmental management. However, non-material benefits, also known as cultural services, have been rather subsumed within the dominant ecosystem services discourse. This paper explores local cultural services in the Mai Pokhari, a Ramsar site of Nepal, and adopts a multi-scalar analysis to explore the implications of global policy making at the local scale.The research, informed by political ecology, applies mixed methods. At the local scale, spirituality, sense of place and traditional practices were identified as important local cultural values within ecosystem management. But such local values were found to be marginalized in conservation policy making at national and global levels. The Ramsar listing at the case study site resulted in restrictions on community activities and opened the possibility of resettlement, creating disenchantment among the local community whose access to cultural services was curtailed. The study emphasizes the need to recognise and value local cultural services in policy-making at all levels. This is important not only for refining and improving global conservation policy initiatives based on ecosystem services, but also for securing just and sustainable conservation and development goals.",
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Spiritual enrichment or ecological protection? A multi-scale analysis of cultural ecosystem services at the Mai Pokhari, a Ramsar site of Nepal. / Chaudhary, Sunita; McGregor, Andrew; Houston, Donna; Chettri, Nakul.

In: Ecosystem Services, Vol. 39, 100972, 10.2019, p. 1-10.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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