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Title: Impact Analysis of Landscape Level Conservation and Development of Methodologies: A Case Study of Terai Arc Landscape Programme, Nepal
Keywords: aimed to identify impacts and develop methodologies for monitoring and impact analysis (M&IA) of landscape level conservation (LLC)
Issue Date: 29-Mar-2019
Abstract: Appreciation of the multiple benefits of conservation is incomplete without a comprehensive understanding of their impacts on biodiversity, livelihood and climate change. This study aimed to identify impacts and develop methodologies for monitoring and impact analysis (M&IA) of landscape level conservation (LLC). Four corridors and three bottleneck areas of the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) programme of Nepal were selected for the study. The study included questionnaire survey, focused group discussion, field measurement based on forest inventory protocol, checklist, observation and secondary data review. The study also compared the results of TAL targeted interventions and non-TAL interventions with pre-post data. The various conceptual and methodological issues (approach, methods and tools) underpinning M&IA of LLC were reviewed and prioritized based on the perception, expert inputs and field data. Likewise, the study analyzed policy impacts, assessed the community based climate change adaptation and vulnerability, developed indices on biodiversity, livelihood, forest threats and disturbances reflecting the forest management scenarios using principal component analysis (PCA), multiple linear regression analysis (MLRA) and logistic regressions. The timelines for field surveys were 2008-2009 and 2012-2013. The extent of implementation and the awareness of policies and strategies were found low as per one sample median test (2.5, 50%) at p<0.05. However, out of 29 impact variables, 21 variables were positively significant at p<0.05. The main positively performed variables in categories were in clarifying objectives, using communication channel, achieving outputs and impacts, sharing resources, changing the process, receiving funds, mainstreaming, efficiency, disseminating information and adapting policies. The five underlying dimensions of policy impacts were identified as Effectiveness, Efficiency, Additionality, Governance and Sustainability. Community based management (CBM) had a higher alpha (α) and gamma (γ) diversity than that in state managed system (SMS). The beta (β) biodiversity estimators namely absolute beta value and Routledge beta-R Index appeared to be higher in CBM but not Mountford Index than in SMS. Between the forest management modalities, gamma (γ) diversity ranged from 70.15 to 119.6, the average basal area varied from 6.29/ha to 13.41 m2/ha, mean species presence/ha from 13 to 32, density/ha from 2,348 to 11,788/ha and total volume from 89 m3/ha to 150 m3/ha. Tree species composition, however, did not differ significantly. Yet, the IV forest communities differed greatly across site-or forest management modes. ANOVA showed a significant effect of forest management modalities on species richness (p=0.000) but not abundance (p=0.171), significant effect of site on abundance (p=0.000) but not on richness (p=0.236), significant effect of site based management on both richness and abundance at p=0.000 and also significant effect of CBM over SMS on richness and abundance at p=0.000. PCA and MLRA results confirmed that instead of using PCA and MLRA separately, factor score of PCA in MLRA can offer a good opportunity for developing and predicting model or equations on performance of biodiversity without multicollinearity problem. The PCA equation in CBM had R2 = 86.5%, Adjusted R2 = 86.4 %; and RMSE=0.433; whereas in SMS it was 88.7%, 88.5% and 0.422 respectively. The findings under Threat Reduction Assessment (TRA) indicated that the overall current management approaches under TAL fall some short of addressing threats. Threat Reduction Index (TRI) of CBM showed significantly higher than conventional SMS (mean difference of 19.16  1.238, t 224=15.74; p=0.000). One sample median test (2.5, 50%) revealed a significant difference toward positive conclusion on its simplicity to use, easy to understand, usefulness, cost effectiveness, replicability and comparatively better with p=0.000 and nonpositive conclusion on its accuracy (p=0.324) and need for training (p=0.099). The study also investigated the response of forest management modalities to human disturbances to forest and biodiversity by which ten threats were identified. The pattern and trend of disturbances, which were analyzed quantitatively using a binary logistic regression model, revealed all statistically significant predictors, with Chi-square (27, n=128), 269.27, p<0.000, and distinguished between disturbances and the management modalities. In the overall index model of livelihoods in 2009 and 2012, altogether 11 and 12 variables accounted for 31.1% and 68.5% of variations respectively. The mean annual income from farm and forests has been estimated as Nepalese Rupees (NRs) 56,288 ±1699.72 in 2009 and NRs. 115,748±2,809.01 in 2012. Similarly, with remittance it was NRs. 99,985 ± 1854.71 in 2009 and NRs. 136,460.70 ± 2,170.89 in 2012, revealed increased contribution of remittance. For non-CBM, the significant factors with p<0.05 were landlessness, forest management and access to natural resources, however, for CBM, implication of negative relationship of policies, natural shocks and human wildlife conflicts were noticed significant at <0.05. The CBM in TAL has gained much momentum and shown several positive changes and achievements in its implementation areas. Despite the positive outcomes, however, there are V scopes emerging for immediate and long-term improvements of CBM in TAL. Statistically significant perceptions on negative effects of CBM of TAL included problem of elite dominancy (p=0.012), increased political pressures, (p=0.000); and increased human wildlife conflicts (p=0.000). The study provided evidences that the CBM actions have the most immediate and greatest benefits for climate change adaptation, mitigation and vulnerability reduction. At community level, both observed data and local perception revealed that climate change is no longer a future phenomena but a present reality. A total of 73 different methods and tools were categorized/subcategorized into seven groups: general, specialized technical, climate change adaptation and vulnerability assessment, livelihood improvement, biodiversity inventory/assessment, participatory biodiversity assessment and non-participatory biodiversity monitoring. Methods and tools under each category were tested and prioritized from which at least one set of methodology has been recommended for each category. The set of methodologies had four key attributes: a) access to methods and tools was not a problem but there was limited guidance available on how to select the most appropriate approaches, b) most of them were not plug-and-play, their use required training, skilful facilitations, significant data collection and resources; c) no single approach was sufficient to successfully support M&IA, and d) expert judgment was still one of the indispensable ingredients for success. A set of process for organizing the methods and tools was presented, that demands to adapt an approach for differentiating monitoring with impact analysis, designing and implementation monitoring at central and field levels with clustering indicators in three groups. The fact that TAL indicators have limitations demands a three-levels system of IA: a) Intensive In-depth Research, b) Field Sampled Monitoring and c) System Wide Monitoring– to provide the full depth, breadth, and scope required to look at its strategy. The methodologies (methods and tools) are identified according to a) their focus; b) their approach; c) their use of indicators and whether these are community defined indicators; d) expert focused with fixed content and process and e) expert judgments. However, the methodology relies on the contention that no single aspect of impact analysis alone could produce enough information to address the objectives.
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