Economic contribution of Chinese caterpillar fungus to the livelihoods of mountain communities in Nepal

Shrestha, Uttam Babu and Bawa, Kamaljit S. (2014) Economic contribution of Chinese caterpillar fungus to the livelihoods of mountain communities in Nepal. Biological Conservation, 177. pp. 194-202. ISSN 0006-3207


Harvesting of Chinese caterpillar fungus, one of the most expensive biological commodities in the world, has become an important livelihood strategy for mountain communities of Nepal. However, very little is known about the role of Chinese caterpillar fungus in household economy. We estimated the economic contribution of Chinese caterpillar fungus to the household income, quantified the extent of 'Chinese caterpillar fungus dependence' among households with different economic and social characteristics, and assessed the role of cash income from the Chinese caterpillar fungus harvest in meeting various household needs including education, debt payments, and food security. Results show that Chinese caterpillar fungus income is the second largest contributor to the total household income after farm income with 21.1% contribution to the total household income and 53.3% to the total cash income. The contribution of Chinese caterpillar fungus income to total household income decreases as the household income increases making its contribution highest for the poorest households. There is significant correlation between Chinese caterpillar fungus dependency and percentage of family members involved in harvesting, number of food-sufficient months, and total income without Chinese caterpillar fungus income. Income from Chinese caterpillar fungus is helping the poorest to educate children, purchase food, and pay debts. However, reported decline of Chinese caterpillar fungus from its natural habitat might threaten local livelihoods that depend on the Chinese caterpillar fungus in future. Therefore, sustainable management of Chinese caterpillar fungus through partnership among local institutions and the state is critical in conserving the species and the sustained flow of benefits to local communities.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Permanent restricted access to published version in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 12 Aug 2014 22:39
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2016 06:34
Uncontrolled Keywords: dependency; Himalaya; Nepal; NTFPs; poverty
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140201 Agricultural Economics
06 Biological Sciences > 0605 Microbiology > 060505 Mycology
14 Economics > 1403 Econometrics > 140301 Cross-Sectional Analysis
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9199 Other Economic Framework > 919902 Ecological Economics
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2014.06.019

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