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Manipur loses 290 sq kms of forest cover

 By Reena Nongmaithem

Source: Imphal Free Press

IMPHAL| Apr 11

Experts highly recommend ‘proper mountain policy’ in the state to minimize man made natural calamities when it is not too late.

According to a study conducted by Directorate of Environment, Government of Manipur, there has been a massive decrease of total forest area as per Forest Survey of India Reports viz. about 190 sq. km. and 100 sq.km has been lost in 2011 and 2013 successively, especially in four hill districts which is proportionate with the decadal increase in population along with the process of urbanization.

In Chandel district, there was 40 percent decrease in total forest coverage during years 2011-2013 when there was increase of 21.72 percent population as per 2011 census in the district.

Likewise in Senapati district, 10 percent decreased in forest coverage when 25.16 percent increase in population; in Tamenglong, 37 percent of forest coverage has been decreased with increase of 25.69 percent in population. While in Ukhrul, 23 percent have decreased with raise of 30.07 percent population.

Referring on the proven data, Deputy Director of the Directorate of Environment, Dr. Brajakumar told IFP that as the state has also reached the impact of climate change, it is very high time for the state to have proper mountain policy, settlement policy particularly in hill areas so as to minimize the effect and enhancing the ecosystem services.

He preferred Sikkim state’s mountain policy to be copied by Manipur in which out of four districts, two districts are reserved for natural resource management while one for settlement and one for agriculture.

It is learnt that Sikkim and Manipur has close similarities with regard to demographic and inhibiting pattern however state of forest in the states has been found with vast of difference.

Because of proper implementation of mountain policy in the state, Sikkim is far ahead in conserving and protecting forest coverage.

In Manipur too, the environmentalist suggested to adopt traditional approach blending with modern knowledge for sustainable environment adaptation to the global changing pattern.

Since the last one decade, the state has been witnessing more and more occurrence of massive landslide in hill areas while unpredictable flash flood in valley areas and drying up of river water when there is no rain.

The scientist said, all are the consequences of interrelated chain of manmade phenomenon factors such as decrease in forest canopy coverage at catchment areas; change in rainfall pattern and rainfall intensity with the impact of climate variability; drying up of stream heads in catchment areas due to high rate of evaporation as raise in temperature due to climate change.

The increase in water yield in Bramhaputra River basins due to the increase of snow melting at Himalayas is said to be another reason of frequent flash flood in the valley of Manipur.

It has been intensifying the frequency to destroy hectares of crops by unseasonal and incessant rainfall causing huge loss to poor farmers of the state.

Commenting on the recent heavy rainfall, Principal Scientist at Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Manipur station, Dr H Birkumar Singh told IFP that when if only the timing of rainfall were considered, it was very good rain.

The one or one and half period of pre-monsoon is the scarcest of water in the state troubling to farmers, he opined.

However the above mentioned man made phenomenon made the rain appeared as destructor, he commented.

In order to cope with the changing pattern of rainfall, scientists recommended in the Manipur State Action Plan on Climate Change for re-appropriation of crop calendar, choosing of climate resistance crop with enhancing climate adaptive capacity of the farmers so as for better adaptation to climate change.