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NIE proposes a new study on River Ganga

The NIE has proposed to the National Mission Clean Ganga under the Ministry of Environment and Forests to support a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, multi-institutional study of the Ganga’s ecosystem services which contribute to the nation’s Invisible Economy.

The ‘ecosystem services’ i.e., “the direct and indirect benefits derived by humans from the functions of the ecosystems” (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005) of forests and wetlands are now attracting great attention of ecologists and economists. It is now being stressed that often the contribution of the intangible, non-market goods and services constitutes a significant proportion of a nation’s economy. Pavan Sukhdev (Special Adviser to UNEP’s green economy initiative) indeed calls it “invisible economy” and pleads for taking it into account in the national GDPs.

However, the ecosystem services of rivers have received practically little attention outside USA and Europe. In fact, in India, rivers like Ganga are revered as ‘mother’ and ‘goddess’ but not treated as ‘ecosystems’ which provide invaluable services. It is therefore for the first time that the National Institute of Ecology has taken the lead in proposing to undertake a study of ecosystem services of River Ganga.

As a first step, a brainstorming Workshop is planned for middle of July 2014, in Delhi. Those interested in details may contact, Prof. Brij Gopal (ciwsa.nie@gmail.com)