By Ramani Balakrishnan
I plan to start blogging on the AMC site on a social note, with some interest in understanding the changes around us and how this affects our day-to-day life.
Is there a way out to conserve natural resource to bring back yesteryear’s glory to our kith and kin’s future? YES is the answer.
We cannot handover the world to our future generation in the present state, because we are responsible for this present state.
Leaving a question in your mind, to think over responsibly, what’s wrong if our future generation enjoy the life like our ancestors and we enjoyed.
Man-made nature, instead of preserving nature, which I studied and wanted to share. Example here is Indian sub-continent, no doubt it is reaching (reached) your zone faster :
Do we need a new reason to save our trees, deforestation will leave us to choose between eat and breathe. Monsoon in Indian subcontinent is weakening and is closely related to land use and land cover.
To understand how these two are related, we have to understand the term Evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration is the phenomenon where water from land is transferred into the atmosphere, either by evaporation and transpiration. This evapotranspiration has seen a decreasing trend over the years. How this works is if the soil is weak at a particular location, mainly due to deforestation, then chances of excess water to stay is more. Since there is less water to go back in the environment, hence less of it will fall back, resulting in defiance.
The weakening of Monsoon is seen at a tremendous rate over North and Northeast India. This is due to the large scale extensive deforestation, which leads to the recycling of the rainfall over a region. This component can be observed in the north and northeast India during the August & September when nearly 20-25 per cent of the Monsoon rainfall received is recycled. Subimal Ghosh is an associate professor at the Department of Civil Engineering in IIT Bombay who happens to be one of the authors of the study said, “The recycled component is important in north and northeast India because monsoonal winds in this region are internally circulated due to the presence of the Himalayas.” Moreover, due to less moisture in peak of summer in the India soil, evapotranspiration is less distinct at that point of time. “It is only in the latter half of the monsoon that the soil picks up moisture from oceanic sources,” Ghosh added. The team that came up with the study compared the grassland cover of 1980s India to 2000s. It was seen that back in 1980s, the woody grasslands were more as compared to 2000s, especially in Northeast India. There was a large scale deforestation observed over the years in the area as the demand of tea plantation and agriculture increased. Overall almost 20% of the leaf cover was reduced over Northeast India in all these years. Following to this, the task was to observe the rainfall figures of all these years. The comparison came in negative implying there was a significant decrease in the rainfall over the years over Northeast India. Previous to this study there were reports that blamed the heating of parts of Indian Ocean which may have some effect implying the weakening of Monsoon over India. “There is no denying that monsoon is a large-scale phenomenon, where macro-factors such as warming of the Indian Ocean are at play. This is the first time the effect of local factors like deforestation has been considered,” Ghosh said.
Dr Vir Singh, while talking to The Tribune, said increasing concentration of the carbon dioxide in the troposphere was the main reason behind rising temperature. He has more than 30 years of research experience in the field of agro-ecology, environmental science and animal sciences in various capacities at the GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology.
He says the average temperature in Himalayas has risen by 1 degree Celsius which is a matter of concern. Rising temperatures have serious ramifications on the Himalayas. “Trees and other vegetation start reducing as you go higher. Thus any loss of species here has more serious consequences than a species lost in plains,” he pointed out.
“The visible signs of climate change in the region have been revealed by change in flowering pattern and invasion of some weeds into newer areas. I still remember when I was serving on Ranichauri campus of Pantnagar University way back in 1984, flowering at Rhododendron used to take place in May and June. Now, it takes place as early as February, which is one of glaring visible signs of climate change,” he said.
The expert says that even weeds like Parthenium and Lantana that were once limited to plains have reached hilly areas. Development of alternative sources of energy which are renewable and inexhaustible is vital for climate change mitigation.
Underlining the importance of photosynthesis, Dr Vir Singh says it fixes carbon dioxide into life and regulates carbon and oxygen cycles. It is photosynthesis that locks carbon into ecosystems and thus its fortification is important to arrest the rise in temperature.
Dr Vir Singh did his PhD in Animal Nutrition from the GB Pant University of Agriculture and Technology in 1985. Apart from being MSc in Animal Nutrition, he is also MSc in Botany. In 2007, he was also awarded D Phil on Studies on the Rangeland Management of Selected Areas in Kumaun Himalaya.
He has been a Research Fellow at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, Nepal from 1996-97. He holds a Diploma in Environmental Management from Galilee College, Israel. A versatile personality, Dr Vir Singh, besides being from a science background, also got MA (sociology) degree from Indira Gandhi National Open University in 2007. He is a versatile writer and is also editor-in-chief of two monthly magazines published by the university-Indian Farmers Digest and Kisan Bharati (Hindi) since June 28, 2013.