Valuation of direct consumptive benefits of forests of Himachal Pradesh

Dr. Kesari Singh

Himachal Pradesh is a hill state which comprised about 90 per cent of its total population depending on forest resources for the subsistence needs of fuel wood, fodder, grazing, construction timber and other non-timber forest products for some of which there is no available substitutes. Such contributions of forests in the form of goods and services used for subsistence needs are termed as direct consumptive benefits or contributions of forests which often go unnoticed and unaccounted as the products do not enter the market. Consequently, the true worth of forest resources is often underestimated. The present paper focuses on the valuation of such direct consumptive benefits of forests to rural people and is based on a survey of 894 households across the different climatic and vegetation zones of the state of Himachal Pradesh. The sample households were classified on the basis of land holding and social strata. Multi criteria approach was used to estimate the value of forest resources used. The annual average value of forests of Himachal Pradesh was estimated at Rs. 52504.9 per household. Values will be helpful to the policy makers in formulating policies for forest management and make rural people aware about the true worth of forests.

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