State Centre on Climate Change
under aegis of the State Council for Science Technology & Environment
Himachal Pradesh

   


To understand climate change and its impact on the Himalayan Eco-System by developing and implementing mountain spicific adaptation plans based on vulnerability,risk scenario and by enhancing capacity of all stake holders to combat the threat of climate change.
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NCHG-Abstract Vol.

Background:

Climate change issues are of global concern all over the world but pose major challenge over mountain environment as mountain ecosystem is highly vulnerable and sensitive to the climatic variations. Mountains cover close to 20 percent of the Earth's surface, providing a home to approximately one-tenth of the global human population. With their steep and varied topography, and distinct altitudinal ecological zones, mountains support a high diversity of species and ecosystems and a large percentage of global endemic species. Mountainous areas throughout the world provide essential resources such as timber, minerals, recreational escapes, and a significant portion of the freshwater consumed by humans. They are rich sites for cultural diversity. Mountains have a special role in showing the effects of climate change. The Himalayan ecosystem has 51 million people who practice hill agriculture and whose vulnerability is expected to increase on account of climate change.

The recent IPCC reports warns that mountain ecosystem is much more susceptible to the vagaries of climate change than the other regions of earth and poses serious challenge to the people of mountain regions in dealing with this global threat for sustaining their economic and social development. The state of Himachal Pradesh, which forms a part of the Northwestern Himalaya, is environmentally fragile and ecologically vulnerable. occurence of natural hazards emanating from the effects of climatological variations are a matter of immediate concern to the state of Himachal Pradesh, as every year the state experiences the fury of nature in various forms-like cloudburst, flash floods, landslides, snow avalanches droughts etc. The fragile ecology of the mountain state coupled with large variations in physio-climatic conditions has rendered it vulnerable to vagaries of climate. The incidence of cloudbursts in the last few years has baffled both the meteorologist and the common man equally. Notwithstanding, continuous efforts made by the Government to cope with such hazards through relief and rehabilitation measures, the recurrence of uncertainties continue to inflict widespread harm and damage to human life as well as property. The roads that are the state’s lifeline are repeatedly damaged, blocked or washed away by one or the other acts of nature. The Snow and glaciers which are considered to be best indicators of changing climate have been affected by the rising temperature through out the Himalayan belt. It has been observed that the estimates on the magnitude of glacial retreat and their impact on natural resources have been varying considerably. However the impact of climate change and rising temperature has been noticed even by a common man in far flung parts of the Himalayan eco system. Depletion of small glacierets in the Himachal Himalaya which were providing the sustained discharge to many rivulets for irrigation to agriculture fields and sustaining the water resources in downstream areas has been reported by the villagers.

Considering the sensitivity of the state towards the vagaries of nature and changing climate, a State Centre has been set up to understand the dynamics of climate change and to evolve management measures with the active involvement of experts such as glaciologist, climatologist, agriculturist, horticulturist, foresters, social scientist etc. This centre shall also take up community based management of micro ecosystem for ensuring the stability of the fragile watersheds of the state of Himachal Pradesh.

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A Government of Himachal Pradesh Initiative to combat the effect of Climate Change on Himalayan ecosystem
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