Introduction & Background


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OVERVIEW

Around 22% of the global land surface is covered by mountains, providing home to nearly 12% of the human population, and critical ecosystem services to around 40% of global population. They play a multifaceted role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in developing economies like India, where they form the foundation of the local economy for a large part of the population. However, mountain regions remain one of the most vulnerable ecosystems.
The youngest chain of mountains, yet, harbouring a diverse ecosystem-the beauty of the Himalayas lies in its intriguing complexity. Home to an impressive biodiversity, the mountains in themselves the most resilient, ironically, make life for its inhabitants quite vulnerable.
For Himalayan communities, forest resources are crucial to poverty alleviation, economic growth, and food security. In the Himalayas, where very few livelihood options are available, mountain forests form an essential life-support system for local people. However, a dwindling natural resource base, unsustainable agricultural practices, and lack of basic amenities create a challenge for the local people living here.
Over a period of time, mountain communities developed technologies to cope with their day to day living. Those technologies were eco-friendly and efficient as per the requirement of the local people. But, with the course of time, new technologies replaced the older ones, without being tested for the mountain environment. The local people often lacked the capacity for adopting these, and sometimes the technologies were not in consonance with the socio-cultural context of the region.
Therefore, developing and internalising the use of appropriate technologies for the proper utilisation of natural resources of the Himalayan region is the need of the hour which can only be achieved by innovative thinking and human resource development.

ABOUT THE PROGRAMME

Science for Equity, Empowerment & Development (SEED) Division under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, along with Himalayan Environmental Studies and Conservation Organization (HESCO) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun have developed the concept of Technology Intervention for Mountain Ecosystems (TIME)-Livelihood Enhancement through Action Research & Networking (LEARN) Programme based on the deliberations amongst different stakeholders.
Under this programme, an innovative mechanism has been developed for promoting Science and Technology (S&T) based field groups/voluntary organizations to develop and implement innovative solutions for mountain specific problems in the Western Himalayan states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, with 20 projects already been sanctioned to various centres of excellence and research institutions.

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