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Ecosystem Services of Chariganga and Arpara Beel in Nadia District, West Bengal: A Geographical Enquiry


The ecological set up of the deltaic Bengal has immensely been benefitted by the ecosystem services extended by the freshwater wetlands. Along with the diverse ecological benefits, those floodplain wetlands serve the adjacent agrarian community through the provision of free goods and services. The present study has attempted to identify the ecological resources provided by the Chariganga and Arpara Beel and its impact on the livelihood patterns of the rural inhabitants. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques have been used for the study. Ecosystem Service Index (ESI) has been computed to quantify the values of ecosystem services in each category for the dry and wet periods. Nearly 33 ecosystem services are identified which have significantly influenced the socio-economic lifestyle of the inhabitants of three adjacent villages like Arpara, Gotpara, and Sultanpur but not homogeneously in terms of space, time, and status of stakeholders. The computed ESI values reveal that the maximum index value in each category of ecosystem services has been recorded at Chariganga Wetland in both dry and wet seasons.  Moreover, the fluctuation of ESI between the two seasons is least at Chariganga Wetland (0.03) compared to Arpara Wetland (0.28). Spatio-temporal variation in availability of resources has conspicuously altered the yearlong utilisation pattern of wetlands’ resources and put a noticeable imprint upon the diverse economic activities and cultural practices of the beneficiaries. The seasonal transformation of a large segment of the studied wetlands in wet and dry months has noticeably influenced the livelihood strategies of the natives. As a consequence, dynamism in utilisation pattern and contrasted societal views concerning the wetland-people interdependency has come into existence.


Ecosystem Service, Ecosystem Service Index, Ecological Resources, Wetland-people Interdependency



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