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Evaluating sustainable intensification and diversification options for agriculture-based livelihoods within an aquatic biodiversity conservation context in Buxa, West Bengal, India

Bunting, Stuart W and Mishra, Rajeshwar and Smith, Kevin G and Ray, Dhananjay (2015) 'Evaluating sustainable intensification and diversification options for agriculture-based livelihoods within an aquatic biodiversity conservation context in Buxa, West Bengal, India.' International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, 13 (4). pp. 275-293. ISSN 1473-5903

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Abstract

Potential impacts of sustainable intensification and diversification options for agriculture-based livelihoods in Buxa, West Bengal, India, were evaluated using bioeconomic modelling. The baseline scenario involved multiple cropping seasons and a combination of crops on 0.9 ha land-holdings, livestock husbandry, and exploitation of common property resources. With capital costs of Rs.128,180 (US$2293) and annual operating costs of Rs.37,290 (US$667), the net benefit generated (excluding depreciation) was Rs.70,250 (US$1257) annually. The pay-back period was 1.8 years, and the internal rate of return (IRR) was 53.7% over 10 years. Allocation of 20 days annually to fishing increased the net benefit to Rs.75,030 (US$1342) and IRR to 56.5% with minimal added costs and risks. Adopting the system of rice intensification (SRI) for paddy cultivation on 0.35 ha increased the IRR to 61.1%, while reducing agrochemical and inorganic fertilizer use. Including small-scale fish culture in a 0.1 ha pond integrated in the irrigation scheme for SRI cultivation resulted in an IRR of 77.3% and reduced the pay-back period to 1.3 years. Some risks to biodiversity are apparent with each scenario; however, with appropriate safeguards, sustainable agricultural intensification and livelihoods diversification could bolster agrobiodiversity and social-ecological resilience of highland communities, while alleviating pressure on biodiversity.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: biodiversity conservation, bioeconomic modelling, highland aquatic resources, livelihoods diversification, sustainable agricultural intensification, Buxa, India
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Biological Sciences, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2015 13:05
Last Modified: 30 Oct 2015 10:29
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/12733

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