Yartsagunbu: transforming people's livelihoods in the Western Himalaya

Article


Yadav, Pramod Kumar, Saha, Subhajit, Mishra, Ashish Kumar, Kapoor, Mohnish, Kaneria, Manendra, Kaneria, Manish, Dasgupta, Sabyasachi and Shrestha, Uttam Babu. 2019. "Yartsagunbu: transforming people's livelihoods in the Western Himalaya." Oryx: journal of fauna and flora international. 53 (2), pp. 247-255. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605318000674
Article Title

Yartsagunbu: transforming people's livelihoods in
the Western Himalaya

ERA Journal ID3125
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsYadav, Pramod Kumar (Author), Saha, Subhajit (Author), Mishra, Ashish Kumar (Author), Kapoor, Mohnish (Author), Kaneria, Manendra (Author), Kaneria, Manish (Author), Dasgupta, Sabyasachi (Author) and Shrestha, Uttam Babu (Author)
Journal TitleOryx: journal of fauna and flora international
Journal Citation53 (2), pp. 247-255
Number of Pages9
Year2019
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
ISSN0030-6053
1365-3008
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1017/S0030605318000674
Web Address (URL)https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/oryx/article/yartsagunbu-transforming-peoples-livelihoods-in-the-western-himalaya/3AF270854F25558AD25CD1838E48C3F5
Abstract

Rural communities in developing countries extract provisioning ecosystem services from the natural environment to meet their subsistence needs, generate cash income and create employment opportunities. Caterpillar fungus Ophiocordyceps sinensis, known as yartsagunbu in Tibet and in the literature on this subject, is a medicinal resource extracted by the mountain communities of the Himalaya. Studies of the contribution of the fungus to local livelihoods in the Indian Himalaya are scarce. We investigated trade and harvest and analysed the contribution of caterpillar fungus to household economies in 32 villages in Dhauliganga Valley, Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, in the Western Himalaya. Caterpillar fungus harvesting has become an integral part of local livelihoods in the study area, and on average contributes c. 74% of household cash income. The majority of harvesters perceived that harvesting had become more difficult during 2010–2015 as a result of competition and a decline in abundance of the species. The mean annual per capita harvest declined by 54 pieces during 2011–2015. Increasing harvesting and trade, coupled with the dependency of local communities on the fungus, may result in greater extraction of the resource for short-term economic benefits, and could eventually lead to depletion and ecological damage. Harvesting of the fungus has already created environmental, legal and social challenges, although it has become a lucrative livelihood opportunity. The ongoing decline of the fungus threatens local livelihoods. Good governance and livelihood security should be integrated with biodiversity conservation when devising government policies and plans for sustainable management of the caterpillar fungus.

KeywordsBiosphere Reserve, caterpillar fungus, ecosystem services, Himalaya, non-timber forest products Ophiocordyceps sinensis, yartsagunbu
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020419999. Other environmental sciences not elsewhere classified
410401. Conservation and biodiversity
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Byline AffiliationsCentre for Integration of Conservation and Developmental Accountability, India
Conservation and Livelihood Programme, India
Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, India
Global Tiger Forum, India
Forest Research Institute, India
Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, India
Institute for Agriculture and the Environment
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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