Opportunity Cost of Biodiversity Conservation and Attitudes Towards it in Assam

Ratul Mahanta


The study assesses the extent of dependence on forest by the dwellers of village forests and encroachers and estimate the opportunity cost of biodiversity conservation in terms of benefits foregone as well as external cost. The study showed the attitudes of dwellers of village forests and encroachers towards biodiversity conservation through Forest Rights Act 2006. During the study period, 190 households were surveyed in four village forests and two encroached villages under reserved forests of Sonitpur and Golaghat districts of Assam. It was observed that both village-types earned a significant portion of their total income from forest which demands livelihood diversification to reduce their dependency on forest. The benefits of conservation outweighed opportunity cost of biodiversity conservation for encroached villagers. Though the dwellers of village forests and encroachers had positive attitudes towards biodiversity conservation but they were more concern about their personal rights rather than biodiversity conservation through this Act. It is recommended that environmental education program, co-management mechanism by all stakeholders and self monitoring systems by the right-holders on their use of forest resources are necessary for biodiversity conservation.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/enrr.v4n3p83

Environment and Natural Resources Research   ISSN 1927-0488 (Print)   ISSN 1927-0496 (Online)

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