Action research on ecosystems and ecosystem services management in Udayapur, Nepal: a documentation of process and learning.
Healthy ecosystems are intrinsically linked to our well-being and our quality of life. But native ecosystems are being impacted every day by both our actions and inactions in the face of increasing environmental and socioeconomic challenges. It is therefore important to understand the socio-ecological system and promote ecosystems-based approaches by developing innovative strategies and tools to ensure integrity of the ecosystem and people's livelihoods. Considering the importance of balancing conservation and development with placed based action research, ICIMOD supported an initiative, in collaboration with BCN and Nawaprabhat Nepal in Rauta VDC of Udayapur district Nepal, whose objective was 'to identify the practical solutions for improved ecosystem management through conducting collaborative action research on alternative livelihood options to show visible impact at the ground considering socio-economic and ecosystem health as indicators'. After two and half years of research implementation, ICIMOD initiated a study for process documentation to understand the enabling conditions for effective research execution and find out the effect of short-term action research. This process documentation mainly followed a participatory inquiry approach. The documentation team met various officials from ICIMOD, BCN, and Nawaprabhat Nepal to understand the research background, context, objectives and processes adopted by the action research. Some consultations with the local community were also carried out at research sites and government officials of the selected line agencies were also consulted in April/May 2016.