Geographical indications and biodiversity in the Western Ghats, India

A geographical indication (GI) is a form of protection highlighted in the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It protects intangible economic assets such as the quality and reputation of a product through market differentiation. It is considered a promising tool at the international level to maintain multifunctionality in rural landscapes and involve local populations in biodiversity management and conservation. Using the example of an existing GI for Coorg orange, a crop frequently associated with coffee agro-forestry systems in the mountain region of Kodagu (Western Ghats, India), we discuss how a GI can be successfully used by local producers and what conditions are needed for it to have a positive impact on the landscape and its associated biodiversity.

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