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Ecosystem Service Changes and Livelihood Impacts in the Maguri-Motapung Wetlands of Assam, India

International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Post Box 3226, 44703 Kathmandu, Nepal
Department of Geography and Planning, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia
Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), P.O. Box 0113, BOCBD, Bogor 16000, Indonesia
School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3010, Australia
Aaranyak, Beltola, Guwahati-781 028, Assam, India
Environmental Futures Research Institute, Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, Brisbane, QLD 4111, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Andrew Millington and Peter Verburg
Received: 29 September 2015 / Revised: 9 May 2016 / Accepted: 23 May 2016 / Published: 3 June 2016
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Wetlands provide a diverse range of ecosystem services supporting livelihoods of many people. Despite their value, wetlands are continuously being degraded. There is scant information on individual wetlands, people’s dependency and their exploitation at a local scale. We therefore assessed wetland ecosystem services, the drivers of change and impacts of those drivers on ecosystem services and people’s dependency through a case study of the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands of Assam, India. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through household surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and community workshops. The analyses showed a total of 29 ecosystem services, and high dependency on these with five out of seven livelihood strategies sourced from ecosystem services. Over-exploitation of wetland resources and siltation were reported as the major direct drivers of change with impacts on both ecosystem services and people’s livelihoods. Drastic decreases in availability of thatch, fish stocks, fodder and tourism were observed. This suggests that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive participatory management plan. Actions are needed to maintain the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands and the flow of services in order to sustain people’s livelihoods in the area. With an estimated 50% global loss of wetlands in the last century and the loss of 5,000 square kilometers a year in Asia alone, the loss of ecosystem services and livelihood impacts shown in our study may be typical of what is occurring in the region and perhaps globally. View Full-Text
Keywords: wetland; ecosystem services; drivers of change; dependency; impacts wetland; ecosystem services; drivers of change; dependency; impacts

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Bhatta, L.D.; Chaudhary, S.; Pandit, A.; Baral, H.; Das, P.J.; Stork, N.E. Ecosystem Service Changes and Livelihood Impacts in the Maguri-Motapung Wetlands of Assam, India. Land 2016, 5, 15.

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