Global warming may affect Bhutan’s biodiversity, impact India

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Bhutan (Photo courtesy: Kidu Foundation)

By Sahana Ghosh

Kolkata– Slow-melting of glaciers due to global warming may cause huge floods in Bhutan in the future and result in loss of keystone species which may encourage probable animal poachers to hunt in this country, Indian researchers say.

“The effect on India can be severe. In fact there are earlier instances of devastating flood in Indian states located in the Eastern Himalayas. More emissions will result in global warming rate higher than the normal which can directly result into loss of many ecologically important flora and fauna,” Rajib Bandopadhyay, Associate Professor, UGC-Center of Advanced Study at University of Burdwan’s Department of Botany, told IANS.

Bhutan-mapThe Eastern Himalayas are experiencing widespread warming at a rate higher than 0.01 degree Centigrade per year.

Bhutan is one of the few countries in the world with negative carbon emissions. However, Its status as a negative carbon emitter does not make it immune to the impact of climate change.

“Currently, loss of keystone species is not recorded for Bhutan but the snow leopard, tiger and white-bellied herons are presently threatened. India could be affected in a way that probable animal poachers will hunt in India if loss of keystone species occurs in Bhutan. Also, some international policies (relating to the environment) can also be affected,” Bandopadhyay said.

The presence and absence of a keystone species impacts the existence of all other organisms around it.

In a critical analysis in Current Science, Bandopadhyay and Aparna Banerjee of the varsity have drawn attention to Bhutan and its biodiversity links with India in reference to their location in the Eastern Himalayan (EH) range, one of the 34 biodiversity hotspots in the world.

Bhutan (Photo courtesy: Kidu Foundation)
Bhutan (Photo courtesy: Kidu Foundation)

Spanning nearly 750,000 sq. km, the EH hotspot covers Nepal, Bhutan, the Indian states of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, southeast Tibet and northern Myanmar.

“Bhutan is the only country which shares all its land area as the EH region. It occupies a major share (7.60 percent) of the total EH area. Other than a few rare specific flora and fauna of Bhutan, most of the biodiversity found in the country is the same as that found in Eastern Himalayan states of India such as Sikkim, West Bengal, Assam, Uttarakhand,” Bandopadhyay said.

Bhutan also has 10 protected areas (PAs) with biological corridors that are home to mass populations of vulnerable takin (goat-antelope), endangered one-horn rhino, pigmy hog, leopard, red panda and the like, as also varying bird species.

Conservation of the natural environment is one of the four pillars of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness creed.

Its constitution says that “a minimum of sixty percent of Bhutan’s total land shall be maintained under forest cover for all time” to conserve the country’s natural resources and to prevent degradation of the ecosystem.

“We have parks and that too connected with biological corridors. Indian Manas Park has a good future because it’s connected to Bhutan’s Manas National Park (called Royal Manas National Park) which is connected to all the parks,” a source in the the Royal Manas National Park told IANS on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

Bandopadhyay said to prevent devastating floods, India and all other Eastern Himalayan countries need to “decrease the rate of deforestation and urbanisation so that effect of global warming will be less and rate of glacier melting will slow down”.

“Bhutan’s ethics and principles on conservation are very strong and their population ratio is very slim. We have good biodiversity in India but we need to take care of it,” he added. (IANS)

1 COMMENT

  1. …TODAY, Humans have become the PRIMARY FORCE affecting climate and the changes threatening our current level of civilization.

    “… humans have known about anthropogenic (man made) global warming (AGW) for almost 200 years.

    A National Geographic piece,Why Is the Man Who Predicted Climate Change Forgotten?, names Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) as a founding father of global warming science.

    The
    Guardian names George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) as the author of “the
    1847 lecture that predicted human-induced climate change.”

    NASA likewise reminds us, “The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.”

    I have Searched and Searched and have not found Al Gores Signature on these Seminal Research reports/ lectures.

    “Despite
    the apparent inability of many of our current policy makers to accept
    the scientific reality of climate change, the science is not new.

    Fifty-nine years ago, on Oct. 28, 1956, the New York Times ran a story in their Science in Review section entitled ‘Warmer climate on the earth may be due to more carbon dioxide in the air.’”

    The Legitimate Scientific Community issued a report & warning to President Eisenhower in 1958.

    The Legitimate Scientific Community issued a research report & warning to President Johnson in 11/5/1965.

    Another Warning:
    When
    entire forests were browning and dying, the legitimate
    scientific community reported that tiny amounts of INDUSTRIAL waste
    Gasses & Chemicals were being disposed of by unrestrained pumping into the
    atmosphere.

    A conservative President with science, took quick precise action ….those forests have been replanted.

    Another Warning:

    Near
    epidemics of skin cancers around the globe, were examined by the
    Legitimate scientific community, and found the Industrial/Commerical
    Gasses and Chemicals
    were being pumped into our atmosphere.

    Another Conservative President took quick efficient action and last month we learned that the ZONE HOLE
    has shrunk by 20%.!

    CO2 and other fossil fuel waste products have been pumped into the atmosphere in FAR LARGER massive quantities than
    the Gasses & Chemicals we already LEARNED can damage the atmosphere and the world’s environment.

    Today, the Threat is Apparent.
    *
    *****The Last 20 Years have been the HOTTEST 20 Year Period in history.

    When
    Legitimate Science examined in detail, proxy measures like ice cores
    around the world, we learn that the last 20 YEARS HAS BEEN the HOTTESTIN
    Thousands of years.

    Temps are rising, ocean levels are rising and surface areas increase.Between the added heat and moisture to our atmosphere……
    .
    *World Wide Storms have doubled.
    *Storm intensity has nearly doubled.
    *Heat waves have nearly doubled.

    *Droughts have doubled.
    *Flooding events have doubled.

    *Asian
    News Media is in near panic mode as their populations are watching
    yearby year, snow packs and glaciers decrease…..visibly decrease. That
    is their PRIMARY source of water for drinking and irrigation.

    *The
    Earth’s 270 Largest fresh water lakes are warming at twice the
    atmospheric temperature rise….leading to increased algae Blooms and
    fish die offs.

    *10 of the 15 busiest hurricane seasons have occurred since 2000.
    *The World’s strongest Hurricane occurred just last year.

    *Just Last year 3 SUPER TYPHOONS occurred as the same time.

    In the early 20th century about 6 towns or cities had some tidal flooding.
    **…TODAY,
    dozens of US towns & cities have routine Tidal/Storm flooding.
    ….you can watch Norfolk, Virginia flood on YouTube.

    Miami and New York are spending large amounts of money in preparation of sea rise and storm surges.

    TRILLIONS of Dollars of US infrastructure lie less than 3 feet or so, of sea level, our ports and port cities, many power grids, highways, etc.
    .
    “…The
    Arctic is experiencing a heat wave. Alaska reached temperatures in the
    80s, with Deadhorse reaching a record-high temperature of 85 degrees on
    Wednesday evening. Other cities including Bettles and Eagle reached 85,
    Fort Yukon hit 84, and Nenana reported 87.

    “A pulse of warm air
    invaded
    the North Slope of northern Alaska on Wednesday, bringing some of the
    warmest air ever recorded there,” meteorologist Jeff Masters explained
    on his blog, Weather Underground.

    “Even with the
    24-hour sunlight it receives during most of July, the North Slope
    typically experiences highs only in the 50s and lows in the 30s.”

    *Fairbanks also officially reported 87, but one record showed Fairbanks’ airport reaching 96 degrees Wednesday.

    Meanwhile hundreds of miles south in Orlando, Fl.,
    temperatures
    reached 94 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Miami
    and Daytona Beach only rose to 92 on Wednesday.Temperatures in Fairbanks
    could reach 90 degrees on Thursday or Friday, National Weather Service
    meteorologist Rick Thoman reported to the Alaska Dispatch News…..”

    ***Even
    the Bugs know what is going on in this world……The Lowly pine
    Beetle, for thousands of years confined to southern warm
    climates….can NOW BE FOUND IN FAIRBANKS, ALASKA.

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