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Incentivized Eco-restoration: Save Nature and Earn Money

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At the decade of Ecosystem restoration, it is eminent to note that the pace at which the general crowd and corporate are contributing to the cause of eco restoration is very slow (For further in-depth knowledge regarding the process and what eco restoration is, please visit (enter the ). One of the major reasons for this lack of pace is the lack of short term incentivization that the eco-restoration project makes, as the effects are generally seen only in long term effects.

So today we will be looking into what Incentivized Ecosystem Restoration is and would look briefly into the different successful models of ecosystem restoration that have already been conducted on mountain ecosystems in and close to India.

So, what is incentivization of ecosystem restoration?

"Incentives for ecosystem protection and stewardship" are defined as anything that motivates action to maintain or restore ecosystem function or condition. Mainly there are 3 types of incentive, which are: moral, social and financial.

Why Incentivized eco restoration is important?

In a world where instant gratification is the norm, a slow-paced process like ecosystem restoration is usually practiced with little to no urgency despite it could lead to extinction of our very species. This is further escalated by the fact that both companies and people in power have their interests vested on earning more and more money in a capitalist. Therefore, to increase the attention and participation on eco restoration efforts it is needed to make the activities more incentivized.

Stages of IEC

Fig: Stages of Incentivized Eco-restoration model (sources: Incentives for Ecosystem service in Himalayas)

While this is a highly beneficial model of livelihood creation, it is still widely unpopular as there is lack of awareness. So, there is a need to look at some of the successful models of eco-restoration esp. conducted at mountainous terrain (as this is one of the major ecosystems on which eco restoration had to be conducted).

Did you know: At the least around 600 glaciers have vanished in recent decade and is affecting water supplies for billions of people living downstream. (Source: UNEP)

5 success stories of ecosystem restoration on mountainous terrains, in and close to India:

- Working for Water Program, South Africa: The program was launched by 1995, by the Department of Water Affairs and is coordinated by the Department of Public Works. The objective of the program includes removal of alien plant species, enhancing water security, improving ecological integrity of natural systems, countering abnormal fires, soil erosion and flooding events, protecting and restoring biological diversity – while at the same time giving employment and livelihood opportunities to 20,000 people.

- Year- long activities conducted by communities at Himalaya: Communities on himalayan side had a bouquet of activities that spread across all seasons on eco restoration. During the Pre-monsoon months it starts off with activities like seed collection, soil conservation and raising rarer plants in nurseries. While during monsoon activities are focused on water harvesting, accelerating growth of natural vegetation etc. Drier period is utilized for the removal of invasive species. All these activities would lead to stable monthly livelihood creation for the people in the community and thus acting as a source of income in addition to the incremental ecosystem services that these ecosystems are provide with.

- Carbon sequestration at Khayarkhola watershed, Nepal: In Nepal the sustainable forest management is being conducted under this scheme. Under this scheme, Forest Carbon Trust Fund (FCTF) was setup and a seed grant (US$ 1,00,000 per year for 2011–2013) was established to offer performance-based financial incentives to local communities for conserving forests, preventing deforestation and enhancing carbon reserves. This has led to an increase in around 12087 tons of carbon being sequestered more than the previous year.

- Community based Trophy hunting program at Gilgit Balistan, Pakistan: In order, to reduce the illegal poaching and habitat reduction that was prevalent in the area. WWF and Aga Khan Rural Support Program (AKRSP) have introduced highly monitored Community based Trophy hunting program. The amount of money that is got from the conduction of the event is used for strengthening the community’s infrastructure, offer the economic benefits to conservation communities for their social, economic and environmental wellbeing. As this program have reduced the amount of illegal poaching and hunting, it has also increased the population of Markhar from 275 in 1993 to 3,500 in 2015.

- Eco-restoration model at Attapady Hills, Kerala: The forest rehabilitation cum landscape level eco restoration were done under the AWCECOP and Japan Agency for International Cooperation (JICA). Under the following strategy, the restoration activity is done around following interventions i.e, 1) intensive reforestation/ afforestation of degraded forest land, 2) biomass conservation and 3) agroforestry intervention in non-forest land. This was implemented by creation of JFC’s , UA and OVS in the community level and incentives were given based on the performance of communities on these fronts.

This article had looked into 5 success stories of incentivized eco restoration being carried at mountains terrains, so that it could give an idea of how eco restoration method could be implemented on ground especially mountainous terrains. However, there are many other stories of ecosystem restoration that would be going unnoticed so please do share other successful stories of eco system restoration and feedbacks in the comments section below.


- (Abela Paul, Jan 2020). ‘How can people be incentivized to solve the climate crisis?’ Retrieved from on 26th October 2021

- (Guardian,n.d). ‘ Oil firm bosses pay incentivizes them to undermine climate action’ Retrieved from environment/2021/apr/15/oil-firm-ceos-pay-is-an-incentive-to-resist-climate-action-study-finds on 28th October 2021.

- (Patterson Trista & Alfthan Bjorn, 2017). Incentives for Ecosystem Services (IES) in the Himalayas.

- (Kumar Shobana, Dec 2015). Rehabilitation of degraded mountain forests with an integrated eco restoration model- A case study of the Attappady Hills, Kerala, India.

- (UNEP, n.d). A beginner’s guide to ecosystem restoration

- (UNEP, n.d). Ecosystem Restoration for people, nature and climate.

- (Parker Gwen & Johnson Nels, n.d). An overview of Incentive Approaches to Ecosystem Protection.


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