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INSEE Panel at ISAE conference, BHU

The INSEE organized a panel on Valuing Ecosystems: Challenges and Approaches at the 72nd Annual Conference of Indian Society of Agricultural Economics, Banaras Hindu University, 17-
19 November 2012, coordinated by Purnamita Dasgupta. Kanchan Chopra chaired this session; Purnamita Dasgupta, Indira Devi and Jagdish Krishnaswamy, were the other panelists. A.S. Raghubanshi, Director, Institute of Environment & Sustainable Development at BHU summarised the presentations. This was the first time INSEE collaborated with another association in  organizing a panel. The efforts of P. G. Chengappa (ISAE), Amita Shah (INSEE) and Indira Devi (ISAE-INSEE) are noteworthy in this regard.

India, has a large agrarian economy dependent on diverse eco-systems, providing crucial services ranging from dispersal of seeds, drought and flood mitigation to cycling of nutrients, bio-diversity and sustainable livelihood options. The panel provided an overview of the approaches and the challenges of valuing such ecosystem services, along with specific and focused discussion on certain techniques and their applicati on to specific contexts in India: tangible and intangible flows, non-linear changes, multiple services and their inter-connectedness. Kanchan Chopra provided an overview of sustainability issues and human
well being, discussing important conceptual frameworks such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and the alternative approaches available to value ecosy stem services. Purnamita Dasgupta presented different methods of valuation for ecosystem services developed within environmental economics as relevant to the Indian context, highlighting the advantages and challenges including those of distributional aspects, instrumental and non instrumental metrics. Jagdish Krishnaswamy presented detailed case studies on the opportunities for synergies and trade-offs in ecosystem functions and services, relevant for contributing to the understanding of these processes in relation to human welfare. Indira Devi presented a case study on how the negative externalities associated with agricultural produc tion, can be monetarily valued by using health cost estimation technique for the harmful effects of pesticide use, leading to the notion of an ecologically adjusted cost of production.he INSEE Panel at ISAE conference, BHU, 17-19 November, 2012