David Breashears/Royal Geographic Society
The Tibetan plateau has seen a rise of 0.3 degrees Celsius in temperature with each passing decade...
DEHRADUN: Due to degradation of their fragile eco-systems and impact of climate change, the deserts are undergoing a slow transformation which is having far reaching impact on flora, fauna and humans. This issue was discussed at a conference held at the Wildlife Institute of India to commemorate World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) on Friday.
Neeta Shah, wildlife scientist, shared some shocking revelations. "Tibetan plateau, known for gold mining, has seen a rise of 0.3 degrees Celsius in temperature with each passing decade. Due to this, 95% of glaciers in the region spread across lakhs of sq kilometers, have retreated, leaving scores of springs dried up, affecting pastures and leading to scarcity of water for local people."
She said it was due to the same reasons that the small size species are fast declining. "Amphibians are extinct in Ladakh. Snow is not seen much on the peaks of mountains. Diseases like malaria have made in-roads in saline deserts of Runn of Kutch in past five years and made life of people involved in making 35% of country's table salt miserable. Due to canal system introduced in Kutch, lakhs of flamingos have begun moving away from this place for nesting. Proposies, the invaded species have dominated slow growing native vegetation," she said.
She added that increased anthropogenic pressure, which includes nomads starting to travel by trucks, have degraded the deserts which are already fragile due to poor rainfall, sparse vegetation, low organic culture and rain-fed farming.
Speaking on the occasion, V B Mathur, Director, WII said that over 2.6 billion people in the world depend directly on agriculture, out of which over 1.5 billion people are globally affected by land degradation. Approximately 40% of the world's degraded land occurs in areas with the highest incidence of poverty affecting almost 74% of the world's poor. He further added that a global effort is needed to reverse the impacts of land degradation which affect the sustainability of the entire world. "Land resources - soil, water and biodiversity - are the foundation upon which our societies and economies grow and prosper."
WDCD is observed since 1995 by United Nations to promote international cooperation and public awareness to combat desertification and the effects of drought. In 1994, United Nations General Assembly in Paris declared June 17 as the "World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought".
This year's theme for WDCD is "inclusive cooperation for achieving land degradation neutrality" with the slogan "Protect Earth. Restore Land. Engage People." Land degradation neutrality is also one of the key targets of the 15th Sustainable Development Goal which states, "By 2030, combat desertification, restore degraded land and soil, including land affected by desertification, drought and floods, and strive to achieve a land degradation-neutral world."
Seema Sharma | TNN | Jun 17, 2016, 08.27 PM IST
original story HERE
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