Landscape Character and Ecosystem Services Assessment: A Case Study from India

  • Debbie BartlettEmail author
  • Sarah Milliken
Part of the Innovations in Landscape Research book series (ILR)


This chapter describes a research project in Gujarat, north-west India, which resulted from a request for help with developing a strategy to deal with Prosopis juliflora, an invasive thorny shrub also known as ‘Mesquite’. After due consideration, we concluded that any attempt at eradication would not only be impractical, it would also be unlikely to succeed. Funding was therefore sought to enable us to apply an integrated approach combining several methods to provide an information base for land use planning, rather than taking a single species approach. Landscape character assessment enabled natural areas in the region to be identified and this was followed by detailed participatory ecosystem services assessment focusing on one specific natural area. This process revealed that, although the spread of Prosopis juliflora is a key concern for ecologists, local people value the plant as a source of fuel and other resources for which there was no obvious alternative. All the results were collated into a natural area profile document, which was presented to the focus group participants as well as to other stakeholders and decision-makers as a robust evidence base to inform future land use planning decision-making.


Landscape Ecosystem services Participation India 



This project would not have been possible without the support of the British Council UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) which provided funding, the M.Sc. students who took part, particularly Eulalia Gomez Martin, and Dayesh Parmar from the Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE) who, in addition to his role as part of the research team, was the Gujarati interpreter and translator.


  1. Ashok KL, Tapas K, Sen R, Kavita RP, Jena R (2001) Economic consequences of the Gujarat earthquake, Gujarat earthquake assessment mission of the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. Available at Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  2. Awasthi DN (2000) Recent changes in Gujarat industry: issues and evidence. Econ Polit Weekly 35:3183–3192Google Scholar
  3. Geevan CP, Dixit AM, Silori CS (2003) Ecological economic analysis of grassland systems: resource dynamics and management challenges-Kachchh District (Gujarat). Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology. Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  4. Hirway I (2017) The truth behind the Gujarat growth model Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  5. Kathiresan RM (2006) Invasion of Prosopis in India. In: Problems posed by the introduction of Prospois spp. in selected countries. FAO, Rome, pp 3–10Google Scholar
  6. Koladiya M, Gajera N, Mahato AKR, Kumar VV, Asari RV (2016) Birds of Banni Grassland. Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology. Published by the Ravi Sankaran Foundation, 303 pp. ISBN: 978-93-5254-957-3. Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  7. Lowe S, Browne M, Boudjelas S, De Poorter M (2004) 100 of the World’s worst alien species: a selection form the global invasive species database. Published by the Invasive Species Specialist Group, Species Survival Commission of the IUCN, 12 ppGoogle Scholar
  8. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (2015) Brief industrial profile of Kutchdistrict. Government of India. Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  9. Panigrahi JK, Amirapu S (2012) An assessment of EIA system in India. Environ Impact Assess Rev 35:23–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sharma A, Srivastava J, Kar SK, Kumar A (2012) Wind energy status in India: a short review. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 16(2):1157–1164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Therivel R, Wood G (2017) (eds) Methods of environmental and social impact assessment. Taylor and Francis. ISBN 9781138647640, 724 ppGoogle Scholar
  12. Thivakaran GA (2011) Coastal ecology of Kachchh—status, issues, problems. In: State of the environment in Kachchh. Gujarat Ecological Education and Research (GEER) Foundation and Gujarat Institute of Desert Ecology (GUIDE), pp 59–88Google Scholar
  13. Tudor C (2014) An approach to landscape character assessment. Natural England available at Accessed on 20 Mar 2019
  14. United Nations (2005) Millennium ecosystem assessment. Ecosystems and human well-being: synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC, 137 p. Accessed on 20 Mar 2019

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Engineering and ScienceUniversity of GreenwichGillinghamUK
  2. 2.Department of Landscape, School of DesignUniversity of GreenwichGillinghamUK

Personalised recommendations