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This project aims to design models for incentivizing bioresource conservation and ecosystem restoration in rural communities through localized opportunities for financially viable ecosystem stewardship. The specific objectives are to build capacity for decision-makers from local to national levels, identify institutional barriers to ecosystem stewardship, perform research on ecosystem services and the valuation of these services, and develop a stewardship toolkit for financial incentivization of ecosystem restoration and bioresource conservation. The project will culminate with a publicly accessible digital platform that provides data and incentivization strategies for all stakeholders.


Core Challenges

  1. How can we develop and implement an ecosystem stewardship strategy for rural livelihoods by quantifying, building, and embracing human and natural capital?

  2. How can we realize a democratic model for valuing ecosystem services that employs capacity building and participatory frameworks to engage stakeholders?

  3. How can we leverage digital platforms and local knowledge in an integrated approach to support ecologically sustainable rural communities?


Capacity Building

  1. Stakeholder consultations with decision-makers

  2. Ecosystem valuation curriculum

  3. Mulitlingual platform for ecologically-conscious implementation of current policies 

  4. Feedback mechanisms to continuously refine the approaches based on real-world experiences and challenges


  1. Institutional assessment for incentivizing ecosystem stewardship in rural communities 

  2. Stakeholder mapping for establishing a financially viable institutional ecosystem with industry and financial stakeholders

  3. Digital toolkit with localized opportunities supporting ecosystem stewardship


  1. Analysis of localized ecosystem services, particularly understudied regulating and cultural services

  2. Quantitative and qualitative criteria for the valuation of provisioning, regulating, supporting, and cultural services

  3. Valuation model to aid in localized decision-making 


  1. Database of ecosystem services with implementation of valuation model to aid decision-making 

  2. Digital curriculum resources including success stories and case studies of outputs  from target communities including simplified explanatory resources.

  3. Linkage of valuation to financial incentivization and livelihood opportunities that support stewardship


1. Agricultural stewardship as a practice for sustainable development in India, in the context of ecosystem valuation.

- Claudia Anselmi, Mannan Bhan, Shannon B. Olsson. (2023). Sustainability Ambassadors Global Exchange Programme, Bengaluru. 

​2Valuation of prioritized regulating ecosystem services in West Sikkim using the EST and TESSA toolkits

- Flora Anna Zentai, Shannon B. Olsson. (2023). Sustainability Ambassadors Global Exchange Programme, Bengaluru. 

3. Exploring Biochar’s role in sustainable soil management biomass burning, mitigation and carbon trading. 

- Praful V. Panicker, Siddartha Dabhi, Shannon B. Olsson. (2023). Sustainability Ambassadors Global Exchange Programme, Bengaluru.


4. Designing a Conceptual Framework to Incorporate Indigenous Perspective in Ecosystem Valuation: A Case Study of West Sikkim, India

- Sowndarya Acharya, Shannon B. Olsson (2023). Sustainability Ambassadors Global Exchange Programme, Bengaluru. 

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Asem Surendro Singh

Senior Research Assistant, Neurobiology and Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Medicine - University of Cincinnati

Hansika Singh

Principal Strategist - Forum For The Future

Hari Dilip Kumar

Director - SolveSustain

Kiril Manevski

Senior Advisor, Researcher, Department of Agroecology - Aarhus University


Research Fellow - Rainmatter Foundation

Abdul Kareem

Centre Head and Associate Professor, Centre for Conservation of Natural Resources - University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU)

Manoj Kumar Paras

Assistant Professor, Fashion Design - National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), Kangra

Prof. Rakesh Kumar Khandal

Independent Consultant

Joy KJ

Founding Member & Senior Fellow - Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM) 

Neha Bhadbhade

Research Fellow - Society for Promoting Participative Ecosystem Management (SOPPECOM)

Ravikanth G.

Senior Fellow - Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

Shrutee Ganguly

Director, Net Zero & Sustainability, India - Turner & Townsend

Sourya Das

Assistant Professor, Rural Management - Xavier Institue of Social Service (XISS)

Viren Lobo

Managing Trustee - Institute for Ecology and Livelihood Action (IELA)

Subir Ghosh

Independent Consultant and Wetlands Expert

Vijai Dharmamony

Associate Director, Marine Conservation Program - World Wide Fund for Nature - India (WWF India)

Mahesh Sankaran

Professor - Community & Ecosystems Ecology - National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS)

Imran Khan YD

Senior Researcher and Thematic Lead (Ecology) - Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR)

Rajkamal Goswami

Fellow in Residence (Faculty) - Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

Saurabh Purohit

Senior Researcher (Ecology) - Watershed Organisation Trust (WOTR)

Varuna Subramanya

Scientist F, Centre for Traditional Knowledge, Data Science and Informatics - University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU)

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