I-C03: Ecosystem services, agricultural diversification, and smallholders' livelihoods in the rural-urban interface of Bangalore

Project summary

The ecological,socio-economic, and cultural services provided by the green spaces along the rural-urban gradient greatly affect the smallholders’ livelihoods and can be understood and assessed in conjunction with each other using approaches from Sustainable Livelihoods and Social-Ecological Systems framework. Trade-offs between provisioning, supporting, regulating and cultural ecosystem services become complex in the rural-urban interface of mega-citiessuch as Bangalore, where competition, diversity, conflicts and coordination play out as drivers of change. This project will address the dynamics of transitions in social-ecological systems at the rural-urban interface of Bangalore, and eventually of similar megacities in India and the Global South.

Particularly interesting will be the joint valuations of specialization versus diversification in production systems as well as agrochemical-based intensification strategies. The expected outcome of this project is a survey of services and disservices of urban versus rural agriculture, balancing ecological and livelihood needs. Comprehensive data on temporal and spatial agricultural dynamics in the rural-urban interface will provide inputs for a set of scenarios and potential changes in agro-ecological sustainability, integrating ecological, social and economic parameters. This approach includes the need to assess which part of the rural-urban community appreciate indirect versus direct use values of biodiversity and associated ecosystem services. Thus this project aims to explore sustainability of small farm livelihoods and socio-ecological systems in order to understand how production systems in rural-urban gradient of Bangalore affect agro-ecosystem services and livelihood vulnerability.