The Centre for Ecological Services Management (CESM) and Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal with support from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) made first ever Economic Valuation of 6 tiger reserves in India.
"..............These findings provide adequate justification for enhanced investment in such areas which is critical to ensure continued flow of vital life-supporting ecological, economic, social and cultural services from these genetic repositories."
--wrote Shri Prakash Javadekar, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for environment, forests and climate change about the report.
I would like to touch upon the pertinent points covering the Sundarbans Tiger Reserve (STR) falling within geographical boundary of India.
1. The total area of Sundarbans Tiger Reserve is 2,585 sq. km ( Core: 1330 sq.km., buffer: 1255 sq.km )
2. STR has at least 1,586 species of Protozoa and Animalia apart from 69 floral species belonging to 29 families.
3. About 270,000 people live around fringe villages around STR.
4. During 2013-14, a total of 157,600 man-days were generated by STR for various management activities in which local communities were involved. The economic value of employment generated by STR is estimated at Rs.3.25 crore per annum [@Rs.206 per man-day].
5. The economic value of fish caught from STR is estimated at Rs.160 crore per annum. Fish being the main protein for the underprivileged communities living around STR, in true sense the economic value of STR for fishing is significant -- economically and culturally.
6. The standing stock of timber in STR is estimated at Rs.62,870 crore. This is significantly higher than Corbett, Kaziranga, Kanha, Periyar and Ranthambhore -- the other 5 TRs included in the study.
7. STR has Carbon stock of over 22.38 million tonnes.
8. The net biosphere-atmosphere exchange of Carbon in Sundarbans is estimated at 2.79 tonnes per hectare per annum. Assuming this rate of Carbon sequestration across the entire forest area (1538 sq. km) of STR, annual quantity of carbon sequestered in STR is estimated at 0.43 million tonnes.
9. Using social cost of Carbon for India the total economic value of Carbon sequestered in STR is estimated at Rs.46.21 crore per annum.
10. The capacity of sewage treatment plant required for Kolkata is 250 million litres per day for population estimated
at 4.5 million. Considering the costs involved in operating such a plant, the economic value of waste assimilation
services attributable to STR for Kolkata alone is Rs.150 crore per annum.
11. The service provided by STR in moderating cyclones is worth Rs.27.5 crore per annum.
(Main Source: The Times of India, Kolkata : 8 April 2015)