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Ecosystem services
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Research Centre, together with the report of the Statutory Auditors, for Financial year 2014-15 have been circulated.

 

The Society continues to follow the guidelines suggested by ICAI for Not-for -Profit Organizations in preparation of Financial Statements wherever feasible. The liability for the grants remaining unutilized as at the year-end has been ascertained and has been transferred to the Unutilized Fund as per guidelines of the ICAI. The management Audit Report for the year has been discussed with the Governing Board.

 

  • Balance Sheet 2013-14
  • Balance Sheet 2014-15
  • Balance Sheet 2015-16

 

Legal Documents

  • Society Registration Certificate
  • Permanent Account Number
  • 12 A
  • FCRA Certificate

Background

Forests are the essential part of man: as food, for industries and even for health as it provide us with shelter, livelihoods, water, food and fuel security. Complete Himalayan range is decorated with extremely diversified forests. Looking at it beyond our narrow, human perspective, forests provide habitats to numerous animal species. They resides 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity, and they also act as a source of livelihood for many different human settlements, including 60 million indigenous people. When we take away the forest, it is not just the trees that go. In developing countries, 2.5 billion people still use wood-fuel for their routine livelihood activity which is obtained from forests. Forest foods are often more rich in vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients and are associated with more diverse diets as compared to cultivated one.

Trees offer numbers of ecological services to mankind. For instance, they support bees and other pollinators, which are essential for crop production. They purify the air we breathe by taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and releasing oxygen back into it, regulating air quality. One tree can absorb up to 10 pounds of air pollutants each year. At the same time, it can release 260 pounds of oxygen, or about half the oxygen one person needs for a year.

Close to one out of six people directly depends on forests for their food and income, and it is very important to recognise the scope of local people to these livelihood options. trees serve as a buffer in natural disasters like flood and rainfalls. Tree roots have major role during heavy rain, as they help the ground to absorb more of a flash flood, reducing soil loss and property damage by slowing the flow. In addition to holding soil in place, forests also use phytoremediation to clean out certain pollutants. Not only do trees provide fruits, nuts, seeds and sap, but they also gives blanket of goodness near the forest floor, from edible mushrooms, berries and beetles to larger organisms like deer, turkeys, rabbits etc. Forest also provides sustainable food for living and different type of roots which are used as medicine for treating various fatal diseases. Mountain people already live in a fragile landscape.

We depend on forests for our survival, from the air we breathe to the wood we use. Besides providing habitats for animals and livelihoods for humans, forests also offer watershed protection, prevent soil erosion and mitigate climate change. Yet, despite our dependence on forests, we are still allowing them to disappear. Their marginalization makes them even more sensitive to environmental degradation. Although forests are not a remedy for global hunger, but can play vital role in complementing sustainable livelihood options for Himalayan people.

Goal

Himalayas may be rugged and majestic, but also have fragile environments that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Several such changes had deeply affected the agricultural practices among the local communities. Deterioration in traditional mountain food systems with a decline in agro-biodiversity has made the community more sensitive to environmental degradation. Therefore the major goal of Food from Forest is to strengthen the Himalayan people to cope with the effects of socio-economic and environmental changes through nutritional security, high value products, innovative livelihood options and rural income generation strategies through forests. Generating awareness among the localities regarding the importance of wild varieties of forests is extremely essential for the sustainability and security of the residing species in Himalayan range.

Through this HARC is aiming on the health and future of Himalayan forests, by utilizing the bit of wild produces for high value products which will provide the sustainable livelihood and ensure a better future for Himalayan community.

Outcomes

  • Nutritional security to marginal people of Himalayan range.
  • Sustainable forest management.
  • Protected natural ecosystem.
  • Promoting livelihood resilience and food and economical security.
  • Protection and propagation of endangered wild species

 

 

Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction:

Disaster and Development are said to be two sides of same coin. These are so closely linked that disasters can both destroy development initiatives and create development opportunities, and that development schemes can both increase and decrease vulnerability. With the climate change and increasing frequency of natural hazards the progress of poverty alleviation strategies has been severely compromised.

Specifically in rural mountains development work has traditionally been focused on poverty eradication, with an attention on developing livelihood opportunities at the community level or most disadvantaged.

The devastating impact of Uttarakhand 2013 Tsunami has become a constant reminder of the vulnerability of human life to hazards, and also the disproportionate effect they have on poor people. Unless more determined efforts are made to address the loss of lives, livelihoods, infrastructures, disasters will become a serious obstacle to the achievement of any form of sustainable development.

Wherefore the need was felt to shift from a reactive approach to hazard events, to one of being more proactive in reducing our disaster risk. The principles of risk reduction combine structural, biological, and land use planning, and preparedness measures along side with insurance cover. Hazard prevention, mitigation and vulnerability reduction are achieved by building our individual capacity to survive and bounce back, and by strengthening and improving the functioning of support system in our rural mountain communities.

With this initiation, HARC is putting efforts in bringing people together within same community to collectively address a common disaster risk in a systematic way towards achieving safe and resilient community.

Goal:

With the vision HARC undertook responsibility to build a dynamic community that equalizes power relations in terms of socio-politics, binds the groups cohesively, resolve issues, and manages individuals and collective tasks through addressing and bouncing back from a potential hazardous events.

Duration: August 2016- December 2020

Objective:

The overall objective of the community managed disaster risk reduction is to contribute to those strategies that enable communities most at risk to increase their resilience to disasters thereby improving their livelihood.

  • Establish a disaster risk reduction lobby, advocacy and learning network to influence regional decision makers.
  • To increase and develop the knowledge in community managed disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation strategies or mechanisms among staff and communities.
  • To facilitate planning, monitoring, learning and documentation of best livelihood and other practices among staff, communities and CSOs.
  • To improve livelihood of communities through small mitigation work such as farmer’s training on

Outcomes:

  • Community members trained in disaster risk reduction.
  • Community with disaster contingency plans.
  • Concrete action plans that reduce vulnerability.
  • Communities with various task forces on Climate change Adaptation, First Medical Responders and Search and Rescue Operations.

Geographical Coverage:

The select landscape is remote and fragile regions of Naugaun Watershed situated in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The area lies at 30044’50.668”N to 30048’2.415”N latitude and 78073.001”E to 7809’19.517”E longitude. The area in the upper catchment of Yamuna River and the total area covered is 26.7 sq.km. The place could be reached through National Highway 507 near the town Barkot, Purola and Damta. The region comprises of 14 village Panchayat and 20 villages. The targeted villages in the study area are Matiyali, Murari, Bhatiya, Bingsi, Naini, Dhari, Rastari, Kndaun, Mungra, Naugaun, Sauli, Kimmi, Pissaun, Kwari, Sapeta, Tunalka and Kisna. The area is mostly covered by reserved forest, cultivated land, rocky and barren land and settlements.

Demographic Coverage:

The total population of targeted landscape is 8,889 with 1882 households and the area covered is 1459.99 hectare. The literacy rate of the targeted area is 68.7%.

Ecosystem Restoration and Management:

Mountain Ecosystem services provide diverse goods and services to humanity, both to people living in the mountains and to people living outside mountains. More than half of humankind depends on freshwater that are captured, stored and purified in mountain regions; from an ecological point of view, mountain regions are hotspots of biodiversity; and from a societal point of view, mountains are of global significance as key destinations for tourist and recreation activities. In addition to this mountain have intrinsic spiritual and aesthetic value. Mountain ecosystems play a key role in maintaining hydrological cycle with feedback to regional climate and by modulating the runoffs regime along with this mountain vegetation and soil play a significant role in reducing or mitigating risks from natural hazards. At the same time, mountain ecosystems are sensitive to rapid unplanned development. The main pressure result from changes in land use practices, infrastructures development, unsustainable tourism, fragmentation of habitats, and climate change, and thus affecting the ecosystem services in temporal and spatial scale.

Whereof, ecological restoration is becoming regarded as a major approach for increasing the provision of ecosystem services as well as reversing biodiversity losses. It is now widely recognized that natural conservation and conservation management strategies do not necessarily posses trade-offs between the “environment” and “development”.

Investment in preservation, restoration and sustainable ecosystem use are increasingly seen as a “win-win” situation which generates substantial ecological, social and economic benefit. As ecological restoration can potentially contribute to the improvement of human livelihood and can also enhance biodiversity.

Goal:

The overall goal is to restore the natural topography, water regimes, and physical integrity of surface water flow patterns across the landscape, promotion of efforts to protect and restore critical groundwater aquifers and natural seasonal groundwater discharge in the watershed, protect historic stream channel water flow pathways, restoration and maintaining the diversity, composition, distribution and regenerating mechanism of native vegetation communities in relationship to topographic and geomorphic landscape position.

Duration: August 2016- December 2020

Objective:

  • Exploring the interrelationships between all aspects of restoration and land management.
  • Develop way to decipher, analyze and map the present status of ecosystem services over landscape.
  • Identification of intervention by involving communities with the aim of restoring vital ecosystem components (i.e. goods and services) and increasing broader scale functionality and health.

Outcomes:

  • Conservation outcomes such as regeneration of natural water springs and ecosystem processes, plantation of bamboo trees for mitigating risks and increasing soil and water holding capacity.
  • Land use sustainability outcomes such as improved land management practices and development of best practice guidelines for communal forest management and soil health management.

Geographical Coverage:

The select landscape is remote and fragile regions of Naugaun Watershed situated in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand. The area lies at 30044’50.668”N to 30048’2.415”N latitude and 78073.001”E to 7809’19.517”E longitude. The area in the upper catchment of Yamuna River and the total area covered is 26.7 sq.km. The place could be reached through National Highway 507 near the town Barkot, Purola and Damta. The region comprises of 14 village Panchayat and 20 villages. The targeted villages in the study area are Matiyali, Murari, Bhatiya, Bingsi, Naini, Dhari, Rastari, Kndaun, Mungra, Naugaun, Sauli, Kimmi, Pissaun, Kwari, Sapeta, Tunalka and Kisna. The area is mostly covered by reserved forest, cultivated land, rocky and barren land and settlements.

Demographic Coverage:

The total population of targeted landscape is 8,889 with 1882 households and the area covered is 1459.99 hectare. The literacy rate of the targeted area is 68.7%.

Background

In virtually all countries where they are found, mountain communities are marginalized, commonly separated both physically and culturally from the centres of political and economic activity of the country. The interrelated nature of hazard, risk and development in environments such as those found in mountains suggests that attempts to undertake either risk management or sustainable development as separate problems will have a limited chance of succeeding.

The hazards faced by these mountains peoples are mostly related to topography in which they live, compounded by the physical isolation associated with this topography.

Unconsolidated geologic materials, produces soil instability causing landslides, rock falls, and debris flows. Cloud bursts are a common occurrence, resulting sometimes into catastrophic flash floods. Destructive earthquakes are hazards associated with these mountains, as is flash flooding, produced by the failure of landslides or lake outbursts.  

Even in mountains, ecosystems are exposed to varying degree of vulnerabilities throughout landscape associated with topographic, geographic and meteorological properties.

The complex three dimension environmental mosaic of the high mountains complicates identification of hazards and the specific villages that may be threatened by specific hazards.

A hazard may have no direct and obvious geographical association with a specific village, or villages, but will be connected along an energy gradient represented by e.g. a slope or stream channel.

Mountains specifically have a long history and experience in dealing with potential hazards. However it only came clear in 2013 in the aftermath of Kedarnath tragedy known as Mountain Tsunami that structural measures are alone not sufficient to assure safeguard.

Since then, the spatial planning (land use planning) to ensure sustainable and hazard-conscious land use has become much more of priority. The notion that water mediated risks in mountains shall be given specific attention is now widely been accepted.

Furthermore, many events have shown that modern concepts of protection can significantly help to limit the damage or loss, which include investing into resilient structures, mainstreaming risk reduction approaches into development programmes, and building climate change adaptation mechanisms.

Hence, to address these issues specifically of mountain watershed Himalayan Action Research Centre undertook the concept of Integrated Risk Management approach in order to achieve a level of security which is ecologically acceptable, economically viable and socially acceptable.

The centre envisions enhancing implementation of Integrated Risk Management in state by enabling Civil Society Organization engagement on specific policy, investment and practice trajectories to support implementation of Sendai Framework for Action, which aims to understand disaster risk, strengthening disaster risk governance, investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience and enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to build back better.

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