Measuring the Paradigm Shift in Ecological Services in the Mountainous Urban and Peri-Urban Systems of the Himalaya

. Diksha, Amit Kumar


In the present study, an attempt has been made to understand the dynamics in ecological demand and supply in the mountainous urban systems of Himalayas using spatial approach during the three decades. The study discusses the spatio-temporal dynamics of urban ecological services (UES) by investigating the pattern of demand and supply patches in the major mountainous urban systems of the Himalayas during the period of 1991-2018. The demand patch (135 %) in the mountainous urban systems of the Himalayas has increased significantly in contrast to a serious decline in the supply patch (-24 %) over the last three decades (1991-2018). The city-scale comparative study indicated Srinagar (80.37 km2) and Kathmandu (51.82) exhibited higher growth in the demand patch in contrast to Gangtok (3.52 km2), which observed comparatively lower growth for the same. On the contrary, the supply patches observed higher depletion in Srinagar (-68.03 km2) and Kathmandu (-54.66 km2) while lower in Gangtok (3.52 km2). However, the intensity of rate of change of demand patch was higher in Srinagar (181.69 %), Shimla (163.04 %) and Itanagar (153.75 %), and comparatively lower in Gangtok (71.84 %) whereas the intensity of the same for supply patch was in higher in Kathmandu (-57.48 %), and lower in Shimla (-12.26 %) and Gangtok (-7.66 %). Significant changes in ecological services, particularly in cities such as Srinagar and Kathmandu, lead to a loss of heterogeneity and wellbeing in urban ecosystems. The cities in Himalayan valleys (Srinagar, Dehradun and Kathmandu) exhibited severe decline in the supply patch and significant rise of demand patch in especially the peri-urban areas followed by the saturation of urban regions. Also, the city on ridges (Shimla, Gangtok and Thimphu) showed moderate growth of demand patch in the urban regions and insignificant growth in the peri-urban regions. As a result, the supply patch exhibited lower depletion in both urban and peri-urban regions.  For a robust and sustainable urban system in the Himalayas, the study highlights the implementation of contingent policies combined with resilience methods, particularly in urban and peri-urban areas.


Urban ecological services, Demand-Supply patches, Peri-urban regions, Himalayan urban system, Remote Sensing


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