Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Economic Valuation of a Wetland in West Bengal, India

Mukherjee, Sacchidananda (2008): Economic Valuation of a Wetland in West Bengal, India. Published in: Proceedings of the IWMI-Tata Water Policy Research Program’s Seventh Annual Partners’ Meet , Vol. 1, (3. April 2008): pp. 254-266.

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Abstract

In the Gangetic flood plain of West Bengal, wetlands are used for multiple purposes, and have significant role in the livelihoods of the local people. Over the years, these Multiple Use Systems (MUSs) are getting converted to single use systems due to economic and social pressure from dominant stakeholders, which are higher than that in single use systems. Economic and ecological functions of MUS changes over time and space. These dynamic aspects of MUS are often not fully appreciated. Attempts to classify wetlands according to their uses across ecological zones and to do their economic valuation are very limited.

Based on available secondary information, a wetland was selected in Bardhaman district of West Bengal to evaluate the economic benefits from multiple uses namely, wetland cultivation, irrigation, fisheries, jute retting, and fodder collection. The study shows that the major economic benefits that people living in the surrounding area of wetland derive are from wetland cultivation; direct irrigation; jute retting; and fisheries. The most important benefit was from fisheries, followed by wetland cultivation and jute retting. The irrigation benefits were found to be low due to larger distance of the land from the wetland, and the easy access to shallow groundwater in the region. However, the many ecological functions of the wetlands are not evaluated in the study.

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