A multi-dimensional assessment of ecosystems and ecosystem services in Taplejung, Nepal.
Excessive demand for ecosystem services arising from rapidly growing human population and several anthropogenic activities have led to the extensive modification of vital ecosystems of the world. This has generated global concerns as this undermines ecosystem functioning and resilience and thus threatens the ability of ecosystems to continuously supply services. The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals can only be met when ecosystem degradation is halted and further loss of ecosystem services is controlled, and only if the natural capital and assets can be utilized in a sustainable way. Therefore, regional, national and local assessments of ecosystem and their services are needed to identify and develop an effective policy in response to ecosystem degradation. Despite the multi-dimensional (ecological, socio-cultural and economic) importance of ecosystems to human society, there have been no serious efforts to assess the ecosystem services of the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). The benefits provided by ecosystems are inadequately recognized and resource users do not take into account the cost of ecosystem degradation in their resource management decisions, since there is very limited understanding of ecosystem dynamics and the values that are being lost through degradation.