My research project
Creating a cultural ecosystem services valuation framework for enhanced natural resource conservation in Bangladesh's forests
From till-date literature review it has been found that there is no universally accepted definition of cultural ecosystem services (CES) and as a result there is no agreed model to incorporate CES valuation into policies. The main reason for this gap is the subjective nature of the sub-categories that make up CES’s definitions. Also, such models highlight the costs of conserving ecosystem services and/or are not compatible with national conservation policies, often resulting in higher levels of encroachment of natural resources and lower levels of conservation therein; the nexus between the scientific knowledge generators and the practitioners of the developing countries is also missing. Hence, the research will try to mitigate this issue by aiming to explore the diverse meaning/interpretation of CES in a comprehensive, but efficient manner, creating a model that will reflect the sub-categories of CES (from which the cultural values are derived) as variables from both the local communities' and visitors’ (and other stakeholders') perspectives, keeping a developing country scenario in mind, fine-tuning it after discussions with relevant key informants, collecting the data from indigenous communities of chosen sites in Bangladesh and later, developing a framework for assessing the CES. The developed framework will then set on to test the model (1) to check its validity in terms of errors, (2) apply the framework to assess CES at a number of sites, (3) assess its acceptance by Bangladeshi policy makers, communities and the conservation policies/market prices, and (4) explore the usefulness of the framework for policy intervention.