We investigate the livelihood responses of two ethnic communities in a village in southern India to changes in biodiversity arising from the invasion of forest by Lantana camara. The invasion of forest by Lantana has led to changes in the attributes and functions of four key livelihood assets: forest grazing, bamboo for basketry, palm leaf collection, and wild foods. We observe that differences in households’ and individuals’ ability to substitute important functions of lost or declining assets affects their ability to adapt to changes in resource availability and attributes. A focus on change in the attributes of key livelihood assets provides a useful lens through which to look at impacts of environmental change. Analysing changes in attributes for different user groups encourages the social effects of environmental change to be disaggregated, thus acknowledging social differentiation of impacts.
Kent, R.; Dorward, A. Biodiversity change and livelihood responses: ecosystem asset functions in southern India. Centre for Development, Environment and Policy, SOAS, University of London, London, UK (2012) 15 pp.