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Title: Conceptual Model for the Vulnerability Assessment of Springs in the Indian Himalayas
The Indian Himalayan Region is home to nearly 50 million people, more than 50% of whom are dependent on springs for their sustenance. Sustainable management of the nearly 3 million springs in the region requires a framework to identify the springs most vulnerable to change agents which can be biophysical or socio-economic, internal or external. In this study, we conceptualize vulnerability in the Indian Himalayan springs. By way of a systematic review of the published literature and synthesis of research findings, a scheme of identifying and quantifying these change agents (stressors) is presented. The stressors are then causally linked to the characteristics of the springs using indicators, and the resulting impact and responses are discussed. These components, viz., stressors, state, impact, and response, and the linkages are used in the conceptual framework to assess the vulnerability of springs. A case study adopting the proposed conceptual model is discussed for Mathamali spring in the Western Himalayas. The conceptual model encourages quantification of stressors and promotes a convergence to an evidence-based decision support system for the management of springs and the dependent ecosystems from the threat due to human development and climate change.
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National Science Foundation
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