Forest degradation and climate change behind Uttarakhand floods, say local people
Forest degradation could be an important trigger for floods and landslides in the Himalayas during heavy rainfall events such as occurred in June 2013. At 1800-2000 m in the Himalayas in the banj oak-pine belt, there is considerable evidence of deterioration in forest quality and extent.
Banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) is one of the immensely important species here for both rural livelihoods and for biodiversity, and our research team is attempting to find out why the banj oak forest is declining. According to the locals, spreading extent of pine (Pinus roxburghii) and climate change are the major factors.
Rare bird species such as the wedge-tailed green pigeon, rufous-bellied niltava, greater yellow-naped woodpecker and white-throated laughing thrush require an unbroken canopy, large trees and thick leaf litter to survive, all forest features that are gradually changing. Unfortunately current forest statistics do not take into account deteriorating forest quality; these subtle changes do not attract attention of policy-makers.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.