Plenary Lectures

Description

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region is the largest mountain systems in the world, spanning over 4.3 million km2 and covering 3500 km long fragile environment. Grasslands in the HKH region are the source of livelihoods for approximately 25 to 30 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. High altitude grasslands play a significant role in storage and regulation of water; storage of carbon in soil and peat lands; permafrost storage; and stabilization of climate, soil, and nutrients. They foster a rich biodiversity with endemic species of fauna and flora; provide clean air and open spaces for recreational purposes, and bolster a rich cultural diversity. However, this asset is encountering many challenges, not the least of which are climate change, globalization, land use change, and land degradation. It remains under-recognized in terms of research for development, enactment and government planning and conjecture for sustainable development, which are largely to be the main reason towards grassland degradation. There is an urgent need for managing both the grassland ecosystems and the pastoral livelihoods in the HKH region. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), as the regional center dedicated to sustainable mountain development of the HKH, is promoting the management of grasslands in six countries of the region with a view to identify opportunities for improving strategies for pastoral livelihoods. Comanagement approaches and community-based conservation initiatives are the basis for the sustainability of the grassland resource management. These initiatives have led to better regional cooperation and understanding among the HKH countries on the issues of grassland management, particularly on transboundary issues. Mountains and high altitude grasslands deserve greater attention and higher investment in future.

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High-Altitude Grassland Management and Improvement of Pastoral Livelihoods in the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region is the largest mountain systems in the world, spanning over 4.3 million km2 and covering 3500 km long fragile environment. Grasslands in the HKH region are the source of livelihoods for approximately 25 to 30 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. High altitude grasslands play a significant role in storage and regulation of water; storage of carbon in soil and peat lands; permafrost storage; and stabilization of climate, soil, and nutrients. They foster a rich biodiversity with endemic species of fauna and flora; provide clean air and open spaces for recreational purposes, and bolster a rich cultural diversity. However, this asset is encountering many challenges, not the least of which are climate change, globalization, land use change, and land degradation. It remains under-recognized in terms of research for development, enactment and government planning and conjecture for sustainable development, which are largely to be the main reason towards grassland degradation. There is an urgent need for managing both the grassland ecosystems and the pastoral livelihoods in the HKH region. International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), as the regional center dedicated to sustainable mountain development of the HKH, is promoting the management of grasslands in six countries of the region with a view to identify opportunities for improving strategies for pastoral livelihoods. Comanagement approaches and community-based conservation initiatives are the basis for the sustainability of the grassland resource management. These initiatives have led to better regional cooperation and understanding among the HKH countries on the issues of grassland management, particularly on transboundary issues. Mountains and high altitude grasslands deserve greater attention and higher investment in future.