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Social Acceptance for Ecological Services of Exotic Eucalyptus tereticornis and Indigenous Dalbergia sissoo Plantations in N-W India
Exotic tree plantations of eucalyptus species are preferred over native trees for their fast growth and quick monetary returns from wood production, in India. This approach has led to neglect the value of ecological services in maintaining ecosystem stability, and dependence of a common man for use and non-use benefits obtained from native trees. The paper describes the social acceptability of exotic Eucalyptus tereticornis and native Dalbergia sissoo monoculture plantations by people in Punjab, a north-western state of India. The contingent valuation method was used to estimate use and non-use values for recreation, solitude, education, wildlife and shade of E. tereticornis and D. sissoo plantations. The total value of these ecological services in addition to soil nutrients, nutrient return through litter and ground floor vegetation, was about 6-21 per cent in E. tereticornis and 10-58 per cent in D. sissoo of their respective total benefits. The value of intangible tree services in the absence of associated social and cultural values, may be underestimated in this study, but the results emphasize the need to recognize and develop indigenous methods to estimate ecological, social and cultural values associated with native trees before implementing any policies on exotic tree plantations in the future.
Eucalytus tereticornis, Dalbergia sissoo, ecological services, monoculture plantations, exotic and native trees
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