South Asian Forum for Environment

Conservation of Wetlands & Ecosystem Services

Conservation primacies for wetland ecosystem is in the central tenet of climate objectives for the South Asian Forum for Environment [SAFE] and leading the wetland advocacy at the community-science interface have been our strategy in propounding ecosystem-based adaptation for communities dependent on wetland goods and services, especially in the urban fringes and as well in the vulnerable coastal flood plains. The reason for prioritizing wetland conservation has been simple, the unique biodiversity in the wetland ecotone owing to the edge effect, the dependence of the urban poor on the ecosystem services of periurban wetlands, and the policy gaps in conserving the most subtle yet significant ecosystem. SAFE works on wetlands conservation as mentioned below:

  • SAFE has been successful in propounding the ‘Biorights’ of Wetlands as a fiscal conservation paradigm that compensates the opportunity costs of marginal wetlands through Payments from Ecosystem Services.
  • Sustainably intensify the ecosystem services of wetlands that sustain the food and livelihood security of marginal communities at the bottom of the economic pyramid.
  • Enthuse consorted action research in wetland management and conservation of wetland biodiversity through knowledge economy and reciprocal partnership of the stakeholders.


Bio-rights is a right-based neo-economic conservation paradigm that compensates the opportunity costs incurred in environmental conservation efforts by the marginal communities, living near globally important ecosystems and dependent on it for their livelihood, through payments from environment services. This conservation model, propounded by SAFE in 2011 in the workshop on natural resource management group organized by the planning commission of India, brought forth the true value of circular economic interventions in socio-ecological conservation, shaped through sustainable human interactions with nature. 

Several conservation interventions of SAFE in socio-ecological production landscapes, from periurban wetlands to distant Himalayan valleys, evaluates local conservation successes of global south in the climate milieu, as empirical evidence of ‘Bio-rights’ of commons at community-ecosystem interface for sustainable intensification of nature’s goods and services.

These multilevel studies of conservation science serve an interdisciplinary academia, consistent with conventions on climate change, bio-diversity and sustainable development, to establish links between conservation priorities and development objectives. Bio-rights is introduced by SAFE as a ‘design approach’ for production linked sustainable development, supplemented with indigenous knowledge in the climate milieu. Some of these studies are available as here below