Nature's Narrative Vol. 5(II)
National Forest Update
Odisha CAMPA investing crores for afforestation
Odisha recently thought of investing crores for the purpose of afforestation. On 17th January, 2021, the State-level Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) approved the annual action plan of 2021-22 with a total amount Rs. 903.39 Crores. The activities included under it are block plantation, assisted natural regeneration of the bamboo forest, maintenance of previous year plantation, fodder and fruit bearing plantation, bamboo culture, wildlife management, infrastructure development, capacity building research and evaluation. Chief Secretary Mr. Mohapatra directed to increase green coverage on bald hills through plantation and regeneration activities during the year 2021-22. He further directed to create a digital database of all the forest assets and upload those on a public domain to update regularly. He also asked the forest department to create a land bank for compensatory afforestation and protect that land from human interference. In the meeting, the target for plantation was set over 3, 603.03 hectares from 2021-22.
Indian Water Update
Himalayan Glaciers to be studied to assess water availability and their volume
As the Himalayas are influenced by global warming, the Ministry of Earth Sciences on 20th December, 2020 decided to estimate the depth of glaciers in the zone in order to ascertain their volume and gauge the water available in them. In the Chandra river basin, the aim is to first study the seven glaciers. A major tributary of the Chenab River, which is itself a tributary to the Indus, is the Chandra River. While the area of the glaciers is already known with the input of satellites, the NCPOR (National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research) director said that what needs to be known is the volume. The Himalayan glaciers are a significant source of water for rivers emanating from there. The Himalayan rivers are also a lifeline for many million people in the Indo-Gangetic plains. The radar systems that utilize microwave waves can be used. They will penetrate the ice to enter the rocks, something that can not be achieved through satellite images. The signals may help to explain the depth after projecting on the rocks.
Chilika Lake is now home to 22% of India's seagrass area
Chilika being the largest brackish water lagoon of Asia is now home to 22 % of India’s seagrass area. The survey conducted by the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) to assess the biodiversity of the lagoon ecosystem has found that the area of seagrass has increased by 3 Km in a year. The distribution of seagrass has been estimated over an area of 155 sq km, against last year’s 152 sq km. The Chief Executive of said, “ the CDA growth in seagrass area in Chilika at time when it is on a declining trend worldwide, is a good sign as it would help in strengthening the biodiversity and marine ecosystem of the lake late.” He also added that five species were found in the lake during the survey. Removing of illegal gheris in the recent years has helped immensely in restoring the ecosystem of the Ramsar site. He further stated that, 156 Irrawaddy dolphins, protected under wildlife Protection Act 1972 have been spotted in the lake in 2020. In addition to that the annual bird census carried out in the lagoon on January 5 has pegged the total number of migratory birds at around 1.2. Million. The survey also revealed that the highly productive ecosystem of the lake with its rich fishery resources currently sustains the livelihood of over 2 lakhs fishermen who live in and around the lake.
Indian Environmental Diplomacy Update
UN Chief Antonio Guterres called on nations to declare a "state of climate emergency"
On 12th December, 2020 The UN chief at the Climate Ambition summit held online to mark five years since the pandemic, said that as nations rebound from the pandemic, they are expected to make good on their commitments to curb carbon emissions. He said that we could be preparing towards a drastic temperature increase of more than 3.0 degrees this century if we do not change course. Thus, until carbon neutrality is accomplished, all representatives worldwide should declare a state of climate emergency in their countries. The IMD also said that severe weather conditions lead to the deaths of more than 1,565 people in December, with 815 of them killed by thunderstorms and lightning.
India will be the co-chair of the IUCN-supported Asia Protected Areas Partnership (APAP) for three years
After successfully increasing the population of wild animals such as Asiatic lion, snow leopard, Great Indian Bustard, Indian Gangetic Dolphins, etc through protecting their habitats, On 31st December, 2020 it was decided that India will be a co-chair of this regional forum to conserve wildlife habitats. The APAP is a regional platform to assist governments and other stakeholders to engage together in the field to handle protected areas (PAs) more effectively. The APAP currently consists of 21 delegates, including China, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, namely a few from the 17 nations. Vivek Saxena, Country Representative, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), affirmed that India will play a significant leadership role as co-chair in resolving and assisting Asian countries on the conservation agenda and 'protected area management' at the level of national and cross-border cooperation.