Você está na página 1de 74

Environment and Ecology

Dated: 17/02/2015
1. 16 New entries in the kaiga Bird Census: According to a report, 16 new birds
have been spotted during the Kaiga Bird Marathon 2015 organized by the Kaiga
Atomic Power Centre. Till last year, the bird census had recorded 229 species of
birds. But, this year, the census report has registered 245 bird entries.
The bird census is being conducted by Nuclear Power Corporation of India
Limited (NPCIL) since 2011 under an environmental awareness programme.
The bird survey covers the areas surrounding Kaiga in Uttara Kannada district.
The new entries are : Alpine swift, Malabar trogon, Booted warbler, White-bellied
woodpecker, Oriental turtle dove, Indian pitta, Brown hawk eagle, White-spotted
pintail, Indian blackbird, Lesser adjutant stork, Common wood stork, Greater paintedsnipe, Paddyfield warbler, White cheeked pintail and Oriental white-eye
Dated: 18/02/2015
Canaries breathe easy, as gadgets enter mines
With the advent of a range of portable electronic toxic gas detectors, the canaries
are now set free and relieved from the dangerous job that they had been doing in the
coalmines of the Kothagudem region of Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. With the
company introducing state-of-the-art handheld gas detectors with sensors and alarm
systems for deep excavation, the birds are no longer called in to play the role of an
early-warning system for carbon monoxide and other toxic gases in the mines.
Why Canaries were used?
The rapid breathing rate, small size and high metabolism of the canaries make them
die before miners do on inhaling toxic gases. The men can then be quickly
evacuated. The canaries used to be carried in cages and miners had to look for
distress signs in the birds.
Animal rights activists have been raising objections to the use of the birds. Canaries
have become a fast dwindling species now.
Sources: The Hindu.
Global Fertilizers use to surpass 200 million tonnes in 2018: FAO Report
The worlds fertilizer consumption will grow over by 1.8% a year through
2018. This has been confirmed through the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization)
Report, Worlds Fertilizers Trends and Outlook 2018, a press release. At the same
time the global capacity of fertilizer products, intermediaries and raw materials will
increase further, the report added.
As the potential to produce fertilizer outpace their use, the Global Potential Balance,
a technical term measuring the amount available over actual demand-will grow for

nitrogen, phosphate and potash-three of he main soil fertilizers.

Dated: 20/02/.2015
Millions at risk from rapid sea rise in Sunderbans: It has led to a million
exodus out of climate refugees creating enormous challenges for both India and
Bangladesh. Mud embankments build with crude hands are not enough for the
purpose. Losing the 26,000 sq km area would take an environmental toll.
Role in the environment: The freshwater swamps and the tangles of
mangroves act as a natural buffer protecting Indias West Bengal and Bangladesh
from cyclones. With rising temperature and increasing sea line seas have been
rising globally at ana average rate of 3mm per year; which is further expected to
speed up. The latest projection suggest that seas could rise at an average rate of
about 1 meter or 3.3 feet this century
January Missing Events:
Subramanium committee recommended single window system for
environment projects: High-level committee (HLC) headed by former Cabinet
Secretary T S R Subramanium; appointed by the Union Ministry of Environment
and Forests (MoEF) and Climate Change (CC) to review environmental laws.
Recommendations of the Committee: suggested single window clearance
mechanism for green nods. The committee submitted its reports with
recommendations after studying six environment laws.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) on 29 January 2015
announced to create India's first fenced elephant sanctuary at: Banerghatta
National park
Dated: 27/02/2015
1. Worlds first all-female patrol protecting rhino-poaching in Krugers
(South Africa): Poaching kills a rhino every seven hours in South Africa has been
brought under some control by employing an all-female patrol inside the Greater
Kruger national park. They are named as The Black Mambas are unarmed and
mainly consist of unemployed high school graduated from the adjoining locality.
Their main role is to stop any group before they poach a rhino. The Mambas are

the brain child of environmentalist and economist Mr Craig Spencer. Giraffes,

lions and many other species apart from rhinos are thus protected from the target
of poaching syndicates. The Mambas are the eyes and ears on the ground. The
numbers suggest that their employment has worked good for the safety of the
rhinos. As, no rhino has been reported to be poached in the past 10 months while
the adjacent parks have reported 23.
Dated: 28/02/2015
Antarcticas retreating Ice may reshape the earth: Water is melting away from the
icebergs of Antarctic, hitting the oceans, at the rate if 118 billion metric tonnes, for the
past decade based on the studies conducted by NASA. In the worst case scenario, this
melt could push over the ocean water levels to a height of around 10 feet worldwide in
a century or two, curving heavily populated coastlines. Though 97% of Antarctic is
still covered with ice, entire valleys are now free from it, ice is thinner
elsewhere and glaciers have retreated.

Dated: 02/03/2015
The FIRST country to submit its Climate Action plan: SWTZERLAND
@ the UNFCC. It also submits its Intended nationality Determined Contribution
(INDC) ahead of the Paris Climate Talks committing to reduce the GHG emissions by
50%relative to 1990 levels by 2030. The rich European country promised that 30% of its
emissions will be controlled in Switzerland itself and the remaining in the many
countries abroad where it carries out its projects.
Dated: 03/03/2015
1. Google maps go Trekking in Amazon: Photos of the rainforests are now
visible at the Street View option of the app. This is done in collaboration with
the Environment Protection group Amazonas Sustainable Foundation of
the FAS, to explore a remote part of an Amazon rainforest. Since Google
developed the Trekker camera in 2012, the devise has been used in other unusual
journeys as well. The Trekker went scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands to take
underwater photograph of the preserve, and travelled on a dog sled in the
Canadian Arctic to photograph the Tundra.
2. Clean sector energy seeks more clarity: The renewable sector may find it
difficult to realize the targets set for them without the clarity on the funding of
various schemes announced in the budget, sector exports analyst said. The fund
that prevailed till now was announced by then then Fin Min Mr Pranab Mukherjee
when Coal Ind Ltd was supposed to pay Rs 50 for per tonne coal it raised
as a cess (set up on the principle of polluter pays). It was put as a corpus
for funding research and innovation in the renewable energy. Mr Jaitley raised this
to Rs 200 in the recent budget.
Dated: 04/03/2015
1. Deforestation hits monsoon says reports: According to a new study
conducted by the researchers at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore,
Widespread deforestation, especially in the northern high latitudes, has taken a
toll on the monsoon across the northern hemisphere, with rains over India
particularly badly affected.
Details of the Study: The study says that
Till 1750s, only about 7% of the global land area had been cleared for
agriculture and that proportion has since risen to around one-third.

Such deforestation has reduced rains in the monsoon regions of the Northern
Hemisphere. India was affected the most with global deforestation producing
18% reduction in the summer monsoons.
Not only that the Northern hemisphere was affected, even countries in the
Southern Hemisphere like South Africa, South America and Australia.
Reasons for the decrease in Rainfall in Northern high latitude regions:
When forests in the northern high latitudes are removed, more sunlight is reflected
back into space and this region gets cooled sharply. And hence, the rainfall is

Sources: The Hindu.

Dated: 05/03/2015
1. India submits 46 entries to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List : Revised
tentative list for the monuments/sites of historical importance and this was
discussed in the RS. The list was submitted to the UNESCO World heritage
Site List in April 2015 as per the UNESCO guidelines Culture Minister
Mahesh Verma said in a written reply. Ancient Buddhist Site (Sarnath,
Varanasi) Chilka Lake, Dholavira; Mountain Railways of India (the
extension). Bahais House of Worship at New Delhi, Silk Route Sites in
India; Sri Harimandir Sahib and Mughal gardens in Kashmir are among the
recommended sites among the 46 listed.
Dated: 09/03/2015
1. Sunderbans loosing green cover and land mass; says ISRO study :
According to a satellite analysis conducted by the Indian Space Research
Organisation, the Indian Sunderbans has lost 3.71% of its mangrove and
other forest cover, while losing 9,990 hectares of its landmass to erosion
in one decade.
The Eastern Zone Bench of the National Green Tribunal which is hearing case
environmental violations in the Sunderbans directed holding the study.
The study also says the following:
As much as 1,607 hectares of the eroded area had vegetation.
During the 10 years, 216 hectares of landmass had been added, of which
121 hectares has green vegetation.
About 95.14% of the green cover had not undergone any change;
while fresh vegetation has come up with 1.1% of the entire area.
The depletion may be due to some natural and anthropogenic(human
intervention) process
The 9,600 sq km of Indian Sunderbans is highly susceptible to coastal
erosion and coastal land dynamics.
A recent World Bank report had also pointed out that the carrying
capacity of the landmass had exceeded with the population
density of over 1,000 a sq.km.
Added Points: Sunderbans covers approximately 10,000 square kilometres (3,900 sq
mi) of which 60% is in Bangladesh with the remainder in India. It is described as the
UNESCO Heritage Site. This is the single largest block of tidal halophyte vegetation in
the world.
Mangroves in India account for about 3% of the worlds mangrove vegetation.
Mangrove cover in India is 4,662 sq. km, which is 0.14% of the countrys total
geographical area. Sundarbans in West Bengal accounts for almost half of the total

area under mangroves in the country. Mangrove in India is famous for its rich variety of
flora and fauna.
Reasons for the depletion of the mangrove cover int eh country may be cited
as follows:
Grazing and exploitation problems
Neo tectonic movement of the river courses
Abatement of fresh water discharges due to construction of dams and reservoirs.
Rapid trend of the reclamation of mangrove forests for habitations
Pollutant discharges from cities and industries etc.
Sources: the Hindu, GSI, FSI, Wiki.
Dated: 11/03/2015
1. United Nations: natural Disasters will soon cost the world USD 314
billion annually: The UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in a report
stated that the said amount will be spent every year to meet annual average
losses from antural disasters like earthquake, tsunamis, tropical cyclones and
river flooding.
This report serves as an alarm as the UN convene the 3 rd UN World
Conference on Disaster Risk reduction that will replace the 10 year old
HYOGO framework for Action adopted on the 2005 UN Conference in
At Sendai. Countries are expected to announce their commitments on reducing
the impact of disasters, which have claimed over 1.3 million lives and cost the
global economy at least $2 trillion in the past 20 years.
2. Black Carbons Impact on ecosystem:
Black Carbon and Snow Melt:
1. BC can accelerate ice melt when they accumulate on snow. The bright
snow surfaces reflects high amount of solar energy back into space
2. BC absorbs substantial factors of this energy and re-emit it as heat. The
Arctic and Himalayas are therefore vulnerable.
3. BC on glacial snow is a concern as it alters the melt cycle of the glaciers
in regions that rely on glacial melt to compensate the water supply
through seasons
4. These impacts are highly regional, and dependent on the local profile
and the trend and transport of pollution
5. Considerable focus on the Arctic and alpine glacial regions and the
Himalayan glaciers
Black Carbon and rains
1. Known to interfere int eh cloud formation and the rainfall pattern
2. Also reduces sunlight that reaches the surface and reflects back into
3. May change precipitation patterns and surface visibility. Scientists say
that plumes of emissions can suppress convections and stabilize the
atmosphere in ways that obstruct normal precipitation patterns
4. It is also described as the dimming of the Earths surface that reduces
patterns of evaporation that makes cloud. If BC heats up the layer that
produces clouds, then they will evaporate instead of bringing in rains
5. They can no longer reflect sunlight back into space, and so the sootlaced clouds end up in warming the atmosphere.
6. But BC that hangs over low lying clouds have a different effect: it
stabilizes the air on the top of the cloud, promoting their growth. These
clouds act like shields, blocking th incoming sunlight.
7. As a result BC also ends up cooling the atmosphere

Thus BC has both positive and negative impacts.

All particles necessarily do not warm. Some have a cooling effect as well.
Among the various fractions of particles, mainly the Organic carbon and
Sulphate have a cooling effect, as they are light-reflecting. The share of
heating and cooling particles decide the net temperature on the planet.
Scientists are still trying to figure out a threshold for this. The exact threshold
from negative to positive forcing for the major sources is still an area of
uncertainty, and a field of ongoing research.
.Share of cooling and warming particles decide the net positive and net
negative impact on various sources.
Moreover, if the Global radiative forcing of particles of various sources since
the Industrial revolution is tracked, it will be seen that while CO2, methane, BC
had a warming effect; organic compounds and sulphate had a cooling effect
on the planet. Thus all sources CANNOT be blamed for causing the warming of
the atmosphere. For instance open burning and residential biomass/biomass
based cook stoves have a much higher have much higher proportion of
Organic Carbon that scatter sunlight, thus yielding a net cooling effect. Thus
ironically, while CO2 emissions are tipping to the point, it is biomass energy of
the poor which is playing the compensating role.
But, Black carbon emissions from transport which either uses diesel/brick kilns
with inefficient combustion techniques have higher share of light absorbing
combustion techniques and this warms the atmosphere.

Source: Insights:
What do you mean by Black Carbon? What is its impact on ecosystem? (200
Black Carbon is a fine particulate component (<2.5microns) which is either present in
soil (makes soil fertile) or in atmosphere (short lived GHG effect.). It is emitted by
incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, crops chaffs, brick kiln, bagasse burning,
inefficient diesel engine or other anthropogenic factors.
Impact on ecosystem
(1.) When deposited in snow, ice or cloud they absorb sunlight which otherwise were
reflected. Hence, it raises the temperature leading to faster melting of glaciers and ice.
Sometimes they are trapped in snow and keep on absorbing sunlight.
(2.) Black carbon like CFCs, HFCs, Methanes and other short lived GHGs remains in
atmosphere for 2 weeks to 1 year, but during this period they do good amount of
(3.) Right now, no country is observing the Black Carbon emission as it is not included in
Kyoto Protocol list and only emitters are India and China in vast amount.
(4.) Most vulnerable people are living in rural areas and working in Brick Kiln as they
breathe the Black Carbon. Also village women who cook in wood, fossil fuels and saw
dust are prone to pulmonary disease due to Black Carbon.
(5.) One of the constituent in smog during winter season, it also affects health of people
in traffic.
Though it is not a long lived GHG and harms potently to environment. But measures to
stop emission of Black Carbon should be taken seriously by Govt of developing nations.

Dated: 12/03/2015
1. Rare Snow Leopard spotted in China: In the Tianshan Mountains in NW
China Xinjiang province; after a gap of 10 years. They were captured in infrared cameras three in number. Snow Leopards are one of Chinas Category A
endangered animals, are usually found in the Himalayan ranges in
Central and South Asia. According to researchers, the pictures showed an
increase in the number of the species within the area as well as balanced
2. Jaisalmers breat-taking sand dunes fast losing their awe : And turning
into garbage dumps as a result of unregulated tourist flow. Broken beer bottles,
Unchecked footfall, movement of vehicles right up to the dunes and camel carts
ferrying tourists are taking a heavy toll of the natural sand dunes which used to
be about 55 to 60 metres in height about 30 years ago, and have now
reduced to half, the locals claims. But, none seems to be complaining since
tourism is the main source of livelihood for the local population in Jaisalmer
district which is very close to the international border along Pakistan.
Apart from these, plastic wrappers and all sorts of environmentally hazardous
items are not only being left behind by the tourists but, more shockingly, buried
under the sand by the camp operators.
3. Rhino numbers rise in West bengal: West Bengal is now home to the
second highest population of the one-horned rhinoceros in the country
after Assam, with the number growing to 250 in the State. A State Forest
Department survey in January has revealed that the Jaldapara National Park in
the State has nearly 200 of these endangered animals and the Gorumara
National Park, 50. Jaldapara now has the second highest population of them after
the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, which has over 2,000. The increase in
number from 20 in 1990 to 250 now is a major feat. This is the result of
conservation efforts and [work of] our local communities,
One Horned Rhino: (Vulnerable species) One horned rhino is the highest
population among all the other species of rhino. Once found across the entire
Northern part of India, populations were severely depleted due to human
interference like poaching, hunting for sport and used as agricultural pests. This
pushed the species close to extinction by 1975 there were only 600 individuals
surviving in the wild.
2012: conservation efforts saw the population grow to over 3,000 in
the Terai Arc Landscape of India and Nepal, and the grasslands of
Assam and north Bengal in northeast India.
4. Oldest primitive animal fossil found in China: Scientists have discovered the
earliest and most credible primitive animal fossil in 600-million-yearold rocks in southwest China. The research led by Chinese scientists
described a well-preserved, rice grain-sized primitive sponge fossil in the Guizhou
Province, The discovery will help remove doubts whether animals have emerged
on earth 600 million years ago,
Significance of the Discovery: The discovery will help remove doubts whether
animals have emerged on earth 600 million years ago.
Description of the species: The fossilized animal, slightly more than 1.2-mm
wide and 1.1-mm tall, displays many characteristics of modern adult sponges, an
analysis based on advanced imaging techniques found. The specimen is
composed of hundreds of thousands of cells, and has a structure consisting of
three adjacent hollow tubes sharing a common base, the researchers said.
5. Mars once had larger Sea than the Arctic Ocean: Ancient Mars was likely to
have possessed a primitive ocean that held more water than the Earths Arctic
Ocean, the US space agency NASA said. Perhaps about 4.3 billion years ago,
Mars would have had enough water to cover the entire surface in a

liquid layer about 450 feet (137 metres) deep. More likely, the water would
have formed an ocean occupying almost half of Mars northern hemisphere, in
some regions reaching depths greater than a mile (1.6 kilometres). In all, the red
planets early ocean would have contained 20 million cubic kilometres of water,
but since then, 87 per cent of that water has been lost to space.
Comparisons: By comparing the ratio of heavy water containing deuterium, a
heavier form of hydrogen, with regular water, scientists believed that Mars
must have lost a volume of water 6.5 times larger than the amount
trapped in the present polar caps.
An early ocean on Mars containing the lost water would have covered 19 per cent
of the planets surface, they said. By comparison, the Atlantic Ocean occupies 17
per cent of the Earths surface.
6. Sindhudurg comes alive with a pristine coral collection: The Zoological
Survey of India (ZSI) has found three new records of coral reef on the Sindhudurg
coast near Malvan of Maharashtra during a recent survey. Efforts to protect the
reef with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme
(UNDP) which has sanctioned Rs. 80 lakh towards capacity building of the local
As per the coral species are concerned, the three new additions are: Goniatsrea
sp, Porites sp and Turbinaria sp.
Coral reefs stand second only to rainforests in the biodiversity of
Possible threats of Coral reefs:
Fragile ecosystems, partly because they are very sensitive to water
They are under threat from climate change, oceanic acidification, blast
fishing, cyanide fishing for aquarium fish, sunscreen use, overuse of reef
resources, and harmful land-use practices, including urban and agricultural
runoff and water pollution, which can harm reefs by encouraging excess
algal growth.
Dated: 14/03/2015
1. Forest, ecology, environment clearances through a single portal now: In order to
bring more transparency in the process, The Ministry of environment, forests, and
climate change (MoEF&CC)is rolling out a single portal to be up and running from
March 15th. This is for the online submission for monitoring the environmental,
forests and wildlife clearances integrating wildlife clearance with forest and
environment. The Ministry also sent a circular to all States Forest Secretaries and
Chief Wildlife wardens asking them to tell user agencies to submit their proposals
online. This portal would facilitate monitoring of proposals of user agencies for
seeking wildlife clearances along with other two clearances.
2. US Scientists questions Green nod to Indian Hydel projects: A top American
researcher has questioned the scientific accuracy of EIA reports for Indias Hydel
power projects criticizing the process behind environmental clearances as being
manipulative. This is based on his research for over 20 years, focusing on public
culture and environmental issues. The Subansiri and the Dihang projects in the
NE India were among them. He is the author of the book: On the Banks of the
Ganga: When Waste Water meets a Sacred river.
3. Goa beaches to be studied for carrying capacity: Goa will rope in the National
institute of Oceanography (NIO) to study the carrying capacity of tis beaches in a
bid to control pollution and proliferation of the beach shacks. The board has
decided to Ask NIO for the study to know how many shacks will be required to put
ideally on a stretch on beach. Goa based NIO is a Central govt Agency that
functions under the aegis of Council of Scientific and Industrial research. The

shacks are licensed before every tourist season and have to be dismantled before
the monsoon season. This will also look into the issues related to sewage
management and solid waste management in beach shacks.
Dated: 18/03/2015
1. New butterfly species spotted In West Bengal: This is considered to be a
significant addition to the butterfly species. Wildlife enthusiasts have found the
Malayan Green Banded Peacock (Papilio palinurus), a beautiful specimen
found in South East Asia, for the first time in India. This was spotted in
Chintamany Kar Wildlife Sanctuary in South 24 pgs district in Bengal. Referred to
as the flagship species, butterflies are not only pollinators of flowering
plants, but also useful in monitoring environmental changes. While there
are about 600 known species of butterflies in West Bengal, India is home to about
1,500 species of butterflies.
Additional Information: West Bengal is probably the only State which is home
to a wide variety of peacock butterflies such as the rare Krishna Peacock, Blue
Peacock, the relatively common Paris Peacock, Common Peacock and
Common Banded Peacock. The only other Peacock butterfly found in the
country is Buddha Peacock or Malabar Banded Peacock, which is endemic to
south India.
Source: the Hindu
2. Impact of rising temperature on pests: The effects are claimed to be several
and complex. Climate change resulting in increased temperature could impact
crop pest insect population in several complex ways. Increased temperature can
potentially affect insect survival, development, geographic range and population
Some of the possible impacts can be stated as follows:
Temperature can impact insect physiology and development directly
or indirectly through the physiology or existence of hosts.
Depending on the development strategy of an insect species, temperature
can exert different effects.
Reproductive biology of an insect may be affected both positively
and negatively: (Climate, temperature and precipitation in particular);
Warmer temperatures in temperate climates will result in more types and
higher populations of insects. Some insects like arctic moths take several
years to complete one lifecycle.
Some crop pests are stop and go developers in relation to temperature
they develop more rapidly during periods of time with suitable
temperatures. Increased temperatures will accelerate the development of
these types of insects, possibly resulting in more generations per year.
Insects that spend important part of their life histories in the soil may be
more gradually affected by temperature changes than those that are
above ground simply because the soil provides an insulating medium that
will tend to buffer temperature changes more than the air.
Rise in temperature in winter may help to continue the lifecycle of some
pests. Lower winter mortality of insects due to warmer winter temperature
could be important in increasing insect populations.
Insect species diversity for a particular area tends to decrease with higher
latitude and altitude indicating that rising temperature could result in more
insect species attacking more hosts in temperate climates.
Source: the Hindu
3. E-surveillance by drone will make an impetus on the preservation on
tiger populations: Minister of Environment, Forests & Climate Change Shri
Prakash Javadekar has said that India which was home to more than 60 % of

the total global tiger population needed a systematic approach to preserve

the wild life species. This initiative is taken to stop the poaching and several other
illegal activities. Thus this initiative will be a strategic intervention for the
preservation of the tiger population across the country. The Minster also
released SOPs(Standard Operating Procedure) on issues related to Active
Management towards rehabilitation of Tigers, Orphan Tiger cubs and Tiger
depredation on livestock which gives various details of steps being taken in this
Additional information: PROJECT TIGER: The Government of India has taken a
pioneering initiative for conserving its national animal, the tiger, by launching
the Project Tiger in 1973. From 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the
Project Tiger coverage has increased to 47 at present, spread out in 18 of our
tiger range states. This amounts to around 2.08% of the geographical area
of our country. The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy. The
core areas have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the
buffer or peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a
multiple use area. The Project Tiger aims to foster an exclusive tiger agenda in
the core areas of tiger reserves, with an inclusive people oriented agenda in the
Source: The Hindu
4. National body to formulate standards for forest certification: After years
of disagreement the GOI and non-government stakeholders, the country is a step
closer to having its own National Forest Certification system in place.
Representatives of forest-based industries, non-profits, forest auditors and
government forest departments launched a body called Network for Certification
& Conservation of Forests (NCCF).
Aims of the Body: The body will now set standards for certifying Indias
forests and their products, with an aim to ensure their sustainable
management. Forest certification is a market-based mechanism which
ensures that domestic forest produce commands better price in the global
market, while encouraging sustainable harvesting of forests in the country.
Certification leads to better management of forest resources by promoting
responsible trade in forestry.
Progress so far: India has however made little progress in this regard
Of the total 78.92 million ha forest and tree cover in the country, only 0.8
million ha of forests has been certified so far.
The total supply of certified wood in India is less than 10 per cent of the
total demand.
The major reason for little progress has been the governments
reluctance to subject the forests managed by it to an independent and
third party scrutiny (Like any private owned insitutions, like we have in
most of the Latin American/European countries).
Source: Down to Earth
5. Climate change, migration burdening urban areas in Bay of Bengal:
Rising urban population following forced migration from rural areas is a result
of climate change and poses a burden upon urban risk-reduction efforts,
aver experts from Bay of Bengal countries. The forced migration as a result of
climate impact is adding burden to manage urban risk reduction efforts.
The experts adopted a 'Charter for Disaster Risk Reduction' with key policy
recommendations for the ongoing World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction
(WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan.
The document also brought to the fore the need to localise disaster risk-reduction
(DRR) approaches.

The Charter was adopted in a workshop where majority of the BOB nations in SE
Asia participated.
Focus should be on:
Urban centres must have the plan to address the issues for migrants to the
cities and develop a comprehensive strategy to promote resilience with
necessary skills to address their vulnerabilities.
There is also the necessity to strengthen institutional instruments to support
data management, habitat planning and capacity building.
Weak resource management as well as faulty development design and
initiatives have created several challenges in urban areas such as flood,
health related problems.
Importance of inclusion of social parameters
Strengthening the linkages between science, policy and practice for a
comprehensive engagement finally resulting in policies and strategies that
lead to benefits for the communities at risk.
Source: The TOI
Dated: 20/03/2015
1. The differentiated impacts of climate change/Part 1: Different countries
are acting different, given the muddling motives to change . Climate
change is a global phenomenon caused by all of us in differing extents and
affecting all of us in different ways.
In Climate Change, the key players together constitute more than 50% of the
world GDP, population and CO2 emissions. They are the US, China, the
European Union and India.
Lets start with the US. The US is geographically and politically very
diverse. California and the US Southwest are and will be hit hardest
by the changing climate. Much like India, they will become drier, so
households and agriculture will be sorely beset. The rich and famous in
Hollywood already spend crores of rupees a year in buying water. Forest fires,
encouraged by increasing drought and heat, burned 9.2 million acres of forest
in 2012 (roughly the size of Kerala) with rising risks to health and property. So
its not surprising that Arnold Schwarzenegger, erstwhile Terminator and
current governor of California, is a committed climate change fighter.
Moving to the East Coast: Hurricane Sandy that hit the US in 2012 left behind
$60 billion in property damage and 150 deaths in its wake. The Northeast will
be pounded by heavy rainfall and powerful storms as the climate warms
leaving expensive infrastructure and the urban poor vulnerable to flooding
and its aftermath.
The rest of the US will be affected by climate change but manageably so and
many parts like the Midwest might even benefit with longer crop growing
cycles and nicer weather.
The Great plains of America is home to oil companies and oil-derived wealth
and the fracking (getting oil & gas from shale rock) revolution - they will not
want to give that up easily to lessen climate change especially as they are not
impacted too much.
CHINA: China is a powerful country with an average 1.3 billion mouths to feed
and a third of its workforce in agriculture. Dust storms now bombard the
capital, frequent droughts have begun to plague agriculture, floods
and storms threaten the prosperous south-eastern cities and the air
is thick with haze. Heat waves threaten the urban Chinese and incidence of
dengue is set to increase. Many of Chinas glaciers are predicted to disappear
by 2050 further impacting agriculture, especially in the dryer north. China has

woken up to the dangers of climate change and in typical Chinese fashion, has
started to act. From next to nothing, China has the largest installed wind
power capacity today and is targeting 70 GW of solar installations by 2017. It
is the worlds largest solar panel manufacturer. China has been building
another great wall - one made of trees to prevent sandstorms over Beijing.
2. The differentiated impacts of climate change/Part 2: European lead is a
positive step, but Indian consequences still dire. European countries look like the
poster children of action on climate change. Emissions of greenhouse gases (the
causative agents of global warming) are down since 1990 and; a further binding
40% reduction in greenhouse gases (from 1990 levels) is targeted by 2030.
Credibility of Europe: Europe achieved its targets for three reasons: the 2009
financial crisis and the 2011 Euro crisis caused the European economy to falter
(and lowered the amount of energy it used), the outsourcing of production of a
substantial fraction of the stuff consumed by European customers (and the
emissions associated with producing the stuff) and the pursuit of renewable
power. How they perform in future will depend on what their payoff is.
Air pollution (some of which exacerbates global warming) causes half a million
deaths in Europe annually; Glacier melting and the flooding of rivers and rising
sea levels threaten low lying countries like the Netherlands (where up to an
eighth of the country lies below sea level). Intense water scarcity and increasing
summer temperatures hurt agriculture and tourism income of Southern Europe.
Many northern European countries benefit with lower heating costs, higher
agricultural productivity and longer tourist seasons. There are winners and losers
within Europe, but because Europe is developed, the losers can manage the
By this Europe can gain in the following way:
First, it might desire to gain prominence in the global podium, which at
present is dominated by China and USA.
Second, a higher sense of social equity in European countries may be
driving action through a social justice angle.
Third, European companies stand to gain from action on climate change.
Some of the worlds leading wind energy manufacturers and LED lighting
companies are European. 92% of responding Euro 300 companies report
that climate regulation presents an opportunity to their business.
Indian Impact: India is and will be badly affected by the changing
climate. We are a hot, dry and poor country - thus vulnerable to the heating and
drying aspects of climate change (think floods, droughts, lost livelihoods and
increased infection) and with limited financial space to adapt.
We have abundant reserves of relatively inexpensive coal. We have a young
country with a large poor and middle class hungry for iphones and commercial
dreams. They will want the government to spend on education and jobs,
not on carbon sequestration. We cannot take on binding unilateral targets of
emission without ambitious binding emission reduction commitments and
financial assistance from developed countries.
Why? India cannot afford to cut its emissions aggressively - but even if it
did, this would be futile if the rest of the world continued to emit for then, the
world would still get warmer
Taken together, Indias payoffs if status quo persists are very negative
unless everyone cooperates; Chinas is negative; USs is very mixed; Europe,
though the status quo payoff is not very negative, by credibly signalling that they
will always cooperate, has made it more likely for others to cooperate .

The depressing truth is that the differentiated payoffs from climate change
makes substantive action unlikely in a consensus based forum like the UN. We
could try for better success by framing the issue on moral grounds like slavery
and shame countries into complying by invoking reputational consequences. But
thats a long shot.
1. Mystery of strange mammals: Ever since Darwin first collected their fossils
about 180 years ago, scientists had been baffled about where these odd South
American beasts that went extinct just 10,000 years ago fit on the mammal
family tree. The mystery has now been solved. Biochemical analysis of bone
collagen extracted from fossils of the two mammals, Toxodon and
Macrauchenia, demonstrated that they were related to the group that
includes horses, tapirs and rhinos. Some scientists previously thought the
two herbivorous mammals, the last of a successful group called South American
ungulates, were related to mammals of African origin like elephants and
aardvarks or other South American mammals like armadillos and sloths.
Infomration about the newly tabled species: Toxodon, about 9 feet long,
possessed a body like a rhinoceros, head like a hippopotamus and ever-growing
molars like a rodent. Macrauchenia, just as long but more lightly built, had long
legs, an extended neck and apparently a small trunk.
2. Green solution for bio-waste: Away from the public gaze, South Indias first
plant producing Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) from hotel and poultry farm
waste has completed its first year of operations.
The plant is supplying 600 kg of CNG to the citys restaurants every day. Tucked
away in Huskur village, the plant named Maltose Agri Products Private
Limited (MAPPL) not merely takes away some amount of the citys waste, but
also turns it into energy and averts release of hazardous methane into the
atmosphere. Currently operating with three waste digesters, it will have ten of
them on completion of its expansion plans. Waste from poultry farms, hundreds of
hotels and restaurants n cattle dung which are hand-picked abound the area are
trucked into the farm. Dry waste is first crushed. Non-organic waste such as
plastics or silica is removed and sent to a collector tank where slurry is prepared.
It is then pumped into large digester chambers. Anaerobic digestion takes 21
days for production of methane at the start of the process. Methane is finally
produced in the form of a continuous process and compressed under
high pressure to be filled into CNG cylinders and supplied in restaurants in
the area.
Benefits: Plants like Maltose have several benefits. They can be a replacement for
landfills. With low content of carbon in emission from them, the environmental
dividends are huge. The residues from them can be used instead of organic
fertilizers and the CNG is available at cheaper rates.
3. Street lights glow on electricity generated from vegetable waste:
Corporation sets up bio-methanation plant in Pulianthope on a trial basis. is
one of the first projects to be undertaken by the civic body to convert vegetable
waste into electricity. Along with scientists from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
(BARC), Mumbai, which provides technical support for the project, engineers of
the civic body have been conducting trials at the transfer station. Separate bins
have been provided to hotels and Amma canteen in the neighborhood to collect
vegetable wastes, the main raw material used in the plant. On an average, for
every two tons of vegetable waste, around 40 kilowatt of electricity can
be generated. One kilowatt of electricity can illuminate four street lights in the
neighborhood. In other words, around 40 KW of power can get 150-160 street
lights to glow in the locality.

4. Sacred grooves of Kerala down to 1200: Rampant construction and

human activities have spelt doom for Keralas sacred groves, a recent
report tabled in the state Assembly said. Over the past six decades, Kerala
has witnessed a drastic reduction in the number of its groves. While the state
boasted of more than 10,000 groves at the time of its formation in 1956,
only around 1,200 exist now, and among these many are under threat, the
report prepared by the State Assembly Committee on Forest and
Sacred groves, also called Kavu in Malayalam language, are rich abodes of
biodiversity. They are often seen on the premises of Hindu ancestral homes
(tharavaadu) in the villages. It was a common practice among the people to
assign a portion of the land on which they built house to serpent god
Naga or goddess Durga. Felling of trees or even removing a twig from these
lands were considered taboo. The groves were looked after and maintained by
joint families. Establishment of sacred groves was also seen as traditional efforts
by the villages to conserve biodiversity and water resources. These groves had
perennial water supply and thus supported human habitation. They also served
as places for worshipping nature.
Biodiversity hot spots: According to the state forest department, sacred groves
are as rich in biodiversity as the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats.
The size of a grove varies from 0.004 to 1 hectare.
The vegetation in undisturbed groves is often luxuriant with multi-layered
canopies, shrubs, lianas and herbs.
The ground laden with humus is full of ferns and undergrowth. A majority of
the groves occur in the northern region of the state.
The groves are home to rare flora and fauna, including endangered
species---As many as 475 species of birds, 100 species of mammals, 156
species of reptiles, 91 species of amphibians, 196 species of fish and 150
varieties of butterflies abound in the groves.
Reasons for destruction:
A major reason for the destruction of the groves is the
disappearance of the joint family and the emergence of the
nuclear family.
Construction of new houses in place of old ancestral homes is contributing
to the gradual destruction of the groves as the fragile ecological system is
getting disturbed, the report says.
Indiscriminate grazing of cattle, felling of trees for firewood, encroachment
by people and uprooting of old trees in natural calamities have contributed
to the destruction of sacred groves.
The coastal district of Alappuzha has the highest number of groves while
mountainous districts like Idukki and Wayanad have the lowest number.
Iringorkavu, spread over a hectare in Perumbavur in Ernakulam district, is
the largest grove in the state, the report says.
Way Ahead:
Preservation of sacred groves is important in an era of dwindling forest
cover, water shortage and climate change
Concerted efforts should be made by the forest department and the State
Biodiversity Board to maintain the groves.
he government should encourage the grove owners to maintain them by
giving financial incentives and awards
Programmes to make people aware about the importance of groves
should also be held.
Felling of trees and poaching of birds should be banned in the groves,

Rare species of trees should be preserved in seed banks to ensure their

What has been done till now:
The state has spent about Rs 88 lakh since 2011-12 to promote the
conservation of groves.
In a bid to involve students, 240 biodiversity clubs have been formed in
various higher secondary schools and colleges.
The number of these clubs will be increased to 500 by the end of this year,
The government is also trying to create new groves in different areas .
5. US federal agencies to cut greenhouse gases by 40% by 2025 : This move
comes in wake of the US China deal and is expected to cut the overall
emissions of the country by 26 million tonnes. This new sustainability plan
for the next decade also directs federal agencies to increase their renewable
energy target to 30 per cent by 2025. This is seen as a bold move on the part
of the US to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while at the same time boosting
clean energy which is expected to save tax payers up to $18 billion in energy
costs. US is the worlds largest polluter historically and currently emits over 5,000
million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The country is faced with pressure from
developing countries and environmental groups to drastically cut its emissions
owing to its historical responsibility to address climate change. The new charter
signed by Obama follows the US-China climate deal wherein the US pledged to
cut its carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2025 against 2005 levels.
6. Aral Sea turning Desert: In 1960, the Aral Sea was the worlds fourth largest
inland water body, spread over 67,499 sq kman area 65 times that of Delhi. Its
basin was spread over seven Central Asia nationsUzbekistan,
Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Iran.
Today, hardly 50 years later, it is a shadow of its former self. According to UKbased online environment paper Earth Times, 82 per cent of the sea has
dried up into a desert,

This should act as an eye opener for world

leaders and institutions that favour economic growth at the cost of the
environment. In October last year, the world saw the death of the Aral Seaa
lake that was so big that it was called a sea. This is among the biggest
ecological disasters of modern times.
In the Beginning: The Aral Sea is an endorheic lake, which means that
although it has surface inflow, there is no surface outflow of water. The
inflow into the sea is because of two rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya.
Reasons that lead to the disaster: The Sea started to shrink because of the
ambitious economic plans of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. In 1929, he ordered
collectivization of farms in Central Asia to achieve cotton independence. The
lasting legacy of this social and economic transformation was destruction of
traditional irrigation in the Aral Sea basin. In the 1940s, under Stalins Great Plan
for the Transformation of Nature, construction of irrigation canals was started
on a large scale. Many of the canals were poorly built, allowing water to leak or
In 1987, the sea separated into two water bodiesa small Aral Sea in the
north and a large Aral Sea in the south. The Syr flows into the former, the Amu
into the latter. In 1992, the local authorities constructed an earthen dike to block
outflow to raise the level of the small sea.
In August 2005, the dike was replaced by a dam (Kok-Aral) built by Kazakhstan. In
the case of the small sea, the dike and dam raised and stabilised the water level,
leading to greatly improved ecological conditions. But the large Aral Sea was not
so fortunate. It continued to dry up and by the early 2000s had divided into a
shallow eastern lobe and a deep western lobe connected by a channel.
In October 2014, the eastern lobe dried up completely for the first time
in modern times, according to NASA. The seabed that emerged is now known as
the Aralkum desert.
Factors responsible:
While experts hold the former Soviet Unions economic policies responsible
for the shrinking of the sea, they also blame the areas geopolitics for the
death of the water body.
The Aral Sea is located in a place which is still Russias backyard and where
Russian influence reigns and competes with forces of Islamic extremism
and Sinic and Western influence.

Soviet central government, by expanding irrigation in the basin beyond the

point of environmental sustainability, dried up the sea.
n fact, 2014 saw a string of events in the regions vicinityRussian
annexation of Crimea, unrest in Ukraine, soured Russian-West relations,
global jihad and the continued rise of China.
All these events indirectly influence the future of the sea. Local
governments in the catchment area have a lot of other things to do now.
Saving the Aral Sea is not the primary task for them
Ecological and Human Impact:
The vibrant commercial fishing industry that developed in the first half
of the 20th Century ended in the early 1980s as indigenous catch species
disappeared owing to rising salinity and loss of shallow spawning and
feeding areas.
The sea basin, which was once a habitat for more than 70 species of
mammals and 319 of birds, has only 32 species of mammals and 160 of
Navigation on the sea also ceased by the 1980s as efforts to keep the
increasingly long channels open to the ports of Aralsk at the northern end
in Kazakhstan and Muynak at the southern end in Karakalpakstan became
too difficult and costly.
There has been continual desertification in the area. Salt has
accumulated on the surface forming pans where practically nothing will
Salt-tolerant plants and drought-tolerant plants have replaced endemic
Strong winds, particularly in spring, blow salt and dust from the dried
bottom of the sea on to surrounding land.
Owing to the seas shrinkage, climate has changed in a band up to 100 km
wide along the former shoreline in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan,
As a result, maritime conditions have been replaced by desert-like regimes.
Summers have warmed and winters cooled, spring frosts are later and fall
frosts earlier, humidity is lower, and the growing season shorter,
The population around the sea suffers health problems. Bacterial
contamination of drinking water is pervasive and has led to high rates of
typhoid, viral hepatitis and dysentery. Tuberculosis is prevalent as is
anaemia, particularly in pregnant woman. Liver and kidney ailments are
Future Implications:
Uzbekistan government has finally announced a US $2 billion
package to revive the water body. The project will be funded through
international loans that will be repaid by the Uzbek government and
International Fund for Salvation of the Aral Sea, which includes Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

Dated: 23/03/2015
1. Australian Blueprint for saving the Great Barrier Reef: A plan to save
Australias Great Barrier Reef from destruction was announced as Prime Minister
Tony Abbott sought to persuade the United Nations that the World Heritage site
was not in danger. The reef has lost about 50 per cent of its coral in the
past 30 years, due partly to ocean acidification caused by greenhouse gas
emissions; the dumping of spoil from the dredging of sea channels; and
pollution from agricultural chemicals. Plagues of venomous crown-of-thorns
starfish, which eat coral, have also caused widespread damage. Australias 35year plan envisages spending more than 1bn over the next decade to protect
the reef. An initial sum of 52m will be used to cut the run-off of sediment,
fertilisers and pesticides into the sea, which Steven Miles, the state of
Queenslands environment minister, said was the biggest medium-term threat.
The reef contributed about 3bn a year to the economy.
2. Madhav Gadgil wins Tyler prize: Ecologist Madhav Gadgil has been chosen
for the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement for 2015.
Achievements: Gadgil was the Chairman of the Western Ghats Ecology
Expert Panel (WGEEP). Dr. Gadgils report on the preservation of the
unique ecosystem of the Western Ghats was specially cited as the reason for
the honour, besides his contributions to the crafting of the National Biodiversity
Act, 2002.
Fellow winners: Gadgil will share the $200,000 cash prize with American
marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco for their work in changing policy and
especially for their leadership and engagement in the development of
conservation and sustainability policies in the United States, India and
About the Prize: Prize for Environmental Achievement is an award for
environmental science, environmental health, and energy. Tyler Laureates receive
a $200,000 annual prize and a gold medallion. The prize is administered by the
University of Southern California and was established by John and Alice Tyler in
Source: The Hindu
3. Scientists discover shape shifting frog in Ecuador cloud forests: Mutable
rain frog changes texture from smooth to shiny--- A frog in Ecuadors Andean
cloud forests can rapidly change skin texture in minutes, appearing to
mimic the texture it sits on/ mutable rainfrog (Pristimantis mutabilis),/ nicknamed
the amphibian the punk rocker frog for its thorn-like spines/

4. Nine new frog species found in the Western Ghats: In 2014, 41 new species
of frogs have been found, all in the Western Ghats---- The new species belongs
to genus Raorchestes. According to journal Nature, Western Ghats are one of
the eight "hottest hotspots" for biodiversity in the world.
About the species: What is Raorchestes
It refers to a group of frog species found in south and Southeast Asia. Some of these
bush frogs are small enough to fit on the tip of one's thumb, measuring anywhere
between 15 to 45 mm. A part of the larger family of tree frogs, they are called bush
frogs because they are found in lower parts of the forest canopy, usually in bushes,
shrubs and small trees. Bush frogs are nocturnal creatures, very hard to spot, and most
easily found by tracking their loud calls, especially in the dark or the middle of the night.
5. Indonesian frog species found to show unique reproductive behavior:
Limnonectes larvaepartus is the only species of frog known to give birth to
live tadpoles----- A species of frog found on the Indonesian island of
Sulawesi has been found to be giving birth to live tadpoles a unique behavior
among the worlds 6,000 frog species. The Limnonectes family is known as
fanged frogs because of twin projections on their lower jaws that are
used in fighting.
6. Carbon Emissions from forests drop down by 25%---/ 2001-2015/ Better
forests Management and deforestation contribute to emission
reduction---Slowdown in global deforestation rates.
Global emissions from deforestation dropped from 3.9 to 2.9 Gigatonnes (Gt)
of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year over the period of 2001-2015.
Deforestation is defined as a land-use change, from forest to other land uses.
Among the significant ones, include Brazil, Chile, China, Cape Verde, Costa
Rica, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Turkey, Uruguay, and Viet Nam
FAO emphasized at the same time that despite the overall reduction in carbon
emissions from forests linked to less deforestation, emissions from forest
degradation have significantly increased between 1990 and 2015, from 0.4 to 1.0
Gt CO2 per year
Forest degradation is a reduction in tree biomass density from human or natural
causes such as logging, fire, wind throws and other events.
FAO published these figures for the first time on the occasion of the International
Day of Forests, celebrated on 21 March 2015.
Methodology adopted to this change
A more sustainable management of forests will result in a reduction in carbon
emissions from forests and has a vital role to play in addressing the impacts of
climate change
Forests are critical to the Earth's carbon balance and hold about three-quarters as
much carbon as is in the whole atmosphere.
Sustainable agriculture is equally important to reduce the pressure on forests
Imbalances between countries and regions-- The absorption of carbon by forests helps to counterbalance, although not
entirely, overall emissions due to the conversion of forests to other types of land
Forests absorb and store an additional two billion tonnes of CO 2 per year (20112015), excluding emissions from deforestation.
Half of the forest carbon sink is related to growth in planted forests.
Developed countries continue to represent the bulk of the overall estimated
carbon sink, with a share of 60 percent (2011-2015). --- This share, however, has
decreased from 65 percent (2001-2010), mainly due to a decrease in the
establishment of new planted forests.

Developing countries account for the remaining 40 percent of the total carbon
At the regional level, Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean all
continued to release more carbon than they absorb, although emissions from
Africa and Latin America decreased between 1990 and 2015.
Brazil alone represented more than 50 percent of the overall estimated reduction
in carbon emissions between 2001and 2015.
The forests of Europe and North America functioned as net carbon sinks between
1990 and 2015 since they absorb more carbon than they release, whereas
Oceania did not show a clear trend in forest emissions over the same period.
Dated: 27/03/2015
1. Policy niggles put Indias solar dream under a shadow---While the
government wants to generate 100,000 Mw of solar power by 2022, it is yet to
seriously implement steps to meet production and transmission targets--2. Climate change costsunpredictable weather may affect about 30% of the
crops in IndiaIndia has been hit by unusual weather and much of the climate
change has been endured with unseasonal rainfall and even hailstorms majorly
affecting around 30% of the Rabi crops. Adverse implications will be on the food
availability and even inflation. Wheat, mustard and gram, with many vegetables
and fruit crops over 18 million hectares has been affected in the process. The loss
in production is feared to hit wheat alone to Rs. 65,000 crore. Tracts in Vidarbha
and Marathwada in Maharashtra had to be coped with the first drought and then
excessive rainsboth affecting badly the crops in those regions. Like the
Sholapur region was mashed by hailstorms affecting crops in a similar way.
Dated: 30/03/2015
1. Pacific Ocean warms, indicated potential EL Nino--Recent warming of the
Pacific Ocean may signal an El Nino weather event is forming, the Australian
Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday. Also Climate models indicate the central
tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to continue to warm, with El Nino thresholds to be
reached or exceeded by mid-year. There is about 50% chances of the
development of El Nino in the coming months, which is twice the threshold of
likelihood. Because of the possibility of EL Nino various other related climatic
changes can also follow-- the system would likely bring below-average winter and
spring rainfall over eastern Australia and above-average daytime temperatures
over the southern half of Australia.
Impact--Such climatic conditions would prove a blow for Australian wheat
production, which is reliant on rains in winter and spring.
Source: The Hindu
2. Channeling of Green Climate Fund begins--The Green Climate Fund (GCF), an
international fund dedicated to achieving low-emission and climate resilient
growth in developing countries, will soon begin allocating funds for projects. Its
board has identified the first seven entities which will serve as channels for fund
The entitles accredited to board includes
Asian Development Bank
Kreditanstalt fr Wiederaufbau (KfW
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Centre de suivi cologique (CSE) in Senegal
Fondo de Promocin de las reas Naturales Protegidas del Pru

The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)

based in Samoa
Acumen Fund, Inc. (Acumen)
This is the first time that the GCF Board reviewed applications for accreditation with the
Fund. Of the US $10.2 billion pledged to GCF, only $104 million have been received so
far. The GCF aims to accumulate $100 billion by 2020. In that sense, the pledged
amount is only 10 per cent of the targeted amount.
3. River linking to climate change--The Pampa Parirakshana Samiti (PPS), an
eco group, has urged the government to abandon the Pampa-Achencoil-Vaipar
Link Project (PAVLP) aimed at diversion of water from the west-flowing
Kerala rivers Pampa and Achencoil to the Vaipar river in Tamil Nadu, as it
would lead to climate change over a period of time.
The scientific community had alerted the government on the alarming
environmental issues in the event of implementing the various river-linking
projects proposed in the National River Linking Programme.
The environmental consequences of the reduced runoff from rivers
targeted by the interlinking programme. Experts were of the view that the
reduced runoff from the rivers could affect the monsoon rainfall.
More news on the Interlinking------Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation has
constituted a Task Force on Interlinking of Rivers to look into the issues relating to
Interlinking of Rivers (ILR) in the country. The Task Force would be chaired by B.N.
---- B.N. Navalawala said the panel would work out a mechanism that will bring
benefits to the surplus States when they shared waters with deficit regions.
Inter Basin transfer------Intra-basin transfer of waters was equally important. The rainfall distribution in the
country, even within a State, was uneven.
---- Therefore, while facilitating inter-linking of rivers, the task force would also look at
intra-basin transfer.
---- To start with, the Ken-Betwa link between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
would be taken up. That would be followed by the Daman Ganga-Pinjar Par-TapiNarmada links between Maharashtra and Gujarat.
---- The newly constituted Central task force on interlinking of rivers will focus on
delivery of relief and rehabilitation (R&R) measures even before the links are
---- For the remaining links, efforts would have to be made to win over Kerala, Odisha
and Karnataka who were opposed to the programme.
The river linking project, which the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) calls
inter-basin transfer of water, is designed to ease water shortages in western and
southern India, while mitigating the impact of recurrent floods in the eastern parts of the
Ganga basin

The plan proposed

----Under the National Perspective Plan (NPP) prepared by the Ministry of Water
Resources, the NWDA has identified 14 links under the Himalayan Component and
16 links under the Peninsular Rivers Component.
---- According to the NPP, the Himalayan Rivers Development Project envisages
construction of storage reservoirs on the main Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their
principal tributaries in India and Nepal, along with an inter-linking canal system to
transfer surplus flow of the eastern tributaries of the Ganga to the West. It will also link
the main Brahmaputra with the Ganga.
---- The Peninsular Rivers Development Component is divided into four major parts:
interlinking of Mahanadi-Godavari-Krishna-Cauvery rivers and building storages at
potential sites in these basins, interlinking West-flowing rivers north of Mumbai and
south of the Tapi, interlinking of Ken-Chambal, and diversion of other West-flowing

Issues with the Inter Linking Project

----Environmentalists, hydrologists and economists around the world have expressed

deep concerns at the irreversible damage that this sort of a mega project can do to the
countrys environment and our water resources. ---- Massive civil works will be
involved, lakhs of people will be uprooted and vast sums of money will be required.
---- The idea of inter-basin transfers is based on the assumption that certain surplus
(flood-prone) and deficit (drought-prone) areas exist so that water is readily available
without any objection to transfer from the former to the latter.
---- Any neat division between deficit and surplus areas becomes more of a
problem in these times of climate change when erratic weather patterns are more
frequently seen. So the basic conditions of problem-free transfer of water from the
country's surplus to deficit areas simply do not exist. The tensions are likely to be
much greater when inter-basin transfers also involve neighbouring countries.
---- Bio-Diversity flourishing in a particular river system will react when it is linked to
another river.

1. Climate change has health and economic benefits: claims study If

countries limit global warming to 2C, more jobs will be created and
fewer pollution-related deaths will take place.
The reportAssessing the missed benefits of countriesanalysed the
emissions pledges made by countries before the Paris UN Climate Summit
scheduled in December.
Europe, US and China to be benefitted
Europe has promised 40 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030. This will
create 70,000 full-time jobs, prevent around 6,000 premature pollutionrelated deaths and bring about a $ 35.56-billion cut in fossil fuel imports.
But if emissions were reduced by around 55 per cent, all these benefits
would increase.
USA-- If the US is able to meet the 2C target, it could prevent 20,000
premature deaths each year from air pollution. It would also create
180,000 full-time green jobs in the domestic renewable energy sector and
save $ 160 billion each year from reduced oil imports.
China-- would save over a million lives and create almost 2 million jobs.
Switzerland was the first country to formally communicate its contribution
to the UN climate change deal by promising 50 per cent reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
Effects of temperature rise-- Global temperatures have already risen by
0.85C since 1880, according to the UNs Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC). However, if the temperature continues to rise, then
the limits for human and environmental adaptation are likely to exceed in
many parts of the world, It has envisaged around half of the worlds
current agricultural land becoming unusable, the sea level rising up to two
metres and the extinction of about 40 per cent of species worldwide.
As climate changes, drier regions will become less habitable owing to
increased drought and desertification
People would be expected to adapt to the new situation by shifting.
However, this would result in a concentration of the human population,
agriculture and remaining biodiversity in a contracting land area, leading to
an increasing competition for land and water,

Source: Down to earth

2. Year 2014: records in extreme climatic conditionsSaw record Ocean
heat; High Land surface temperatures and devastating flooding--The year
2014 will be best remembered as the warmest year on record since modern
measurements began in the mid-1800s.
And this was despite an expected EL Nino condition, which is typically associated
with elevated global temperatures, which failed to materialize.
Global average sea surface temperatures for 2014 were the warmest,
Antarctic sea expanded to a record extent for the third year in a row,
The major events that occurred are depicted as follows

3. Arctic Sea Ice hits a record low this winterAs the planet gets hotter, Arctic
sea ice gets a record melting percentage even this winter. In the Unsettling new
milestone, Arctic sea ice, made of frozen seawater floating in the ocean, usually
expands in the cold winter months, reaching a "maximum" around February or
March. But this year, the winter maximum appears to be the lowest on record:
Satellite investigations began as earlier as 1979 when it was noted that
Arctic ice declines at the extent of 3-4% per decade---The decline in sea ice
has been especially pronounced during the summer months, where Arctic sea ice
extent has declined roughly 40 percent over the past three decades, and the ice
has lost significant volume,
Once the sea ice hits its winter maximum, it will start melting over the spring and
summer months. Back in August 2012, Arctic sea ice extent hit its lowest
level ever recorded, but then rebounded a bit in the summers of 2013 and 2014.
Scientists point out that the melt is driven by Global Warming, as well as by other
pollutants humans put into the atmosphere.
This vanishing sea ice has the following conseqiuences
1. Unlocking once frozen areas of oil and gas explorations
2. Potentially mucking with weather patterns in North America and Europe.
If this decline continues then we are likely to see a year when th Arctic will be
potentially ice free in the summer months.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) simply says an ice-free
Arctic in September is "likely" before 2050 under high global-warming scenarios.

Human Interference: responsibility towards the increased meltIn 2012, (the

large storm in august that year also played a viable role to break apart the Arctic
ice).one study confirmed that between 70 and 95 percent of the Arctic melt since
1979 has been caused by human activity. Exact numbers aside, it's clear that
human influence has played a big role in the Arctic.
Global warming has drastically heated up the region, with the Arctic warming
about twice as fast as the rest of the world
Soot and other pollutants from factories and power plants in Europe and Asia
travel up to the Arctic. When those dark particles settle onto snow and ice, they
absorb sunlight and start sizzling. It all leads to less ice.
Melting Arctic ice wont raise up Sea levels, but a melting Greenland
might--Frozen seawater that's floating in the ocean can't raise sea levels when it
melts, because that ice was already displacing its own weight--So melting Arctic
sea ice won't, on its own, flood our coastal cities.
But, As the newly exposed Arctic Ocean waters start absorbing more sunlight, the
broader region will keep heating up. And that's important when it comes to
the vast ice sheet covering Greenland. Greenland's freshwater ice is sitting on
land, so when it melts and flows into the ocean, that does raise sea levels.
Greenland's ice sheet is currently 1.9 miles thick and contains enough ice to raise
global sea levels by about 25 feet in all. And that ice sheet is indeed shrinkng--which is now loosing ice at an accelerated rate of 243 gigatones per
This is partly due to raised Arctic air in the summer and partly due to rising ocean
temperatures which chews away the outer edges of ice sheets.
Possibilities for the Arctic Melt-- It could, in theory, make it easier for oil and
gas companies to explore polar regions that were once inaccessible. Back in
2012, for instance, Shell sent a drill ship to the Chukchi Sea off Alaska to prepare
for oil exploration in the newly thawed region. Alternatively, the melting Arctic
could also open up new shipping routes during the summer months.
There's also the possibility that a melting Arctic could lead to fresh
tensions among the nations that border it the United States, Russia,
Canada, and so forth. In theory, there's an Arctic Council that's supposed to settle
various -disputes that are likely to arise as the ocean opens up.
Contrast to the studies of the Arctic Ice is the Antarctic Ice which for reasons
unknown is growing.
There are two types if ice in the AntarcticSea Ice and Land Ice
Of them the Sea ICe is that which covers vast tracts of floating in the
ocean around the continent. For reasons that are still unclear, the extent of
Antarctic sea ice has indeed been growing in recent years
There's also land ice. This is the snow and ice that sits on top of land in
large ice sheets.
Land ice is more relevant to humans, since when that ice melts and drips into the
ocean, it pushes up global sea levels. (There's enough ice in West Antarctica
alone to raise the ocean 10 to 13 feet..and according to current estimates,
Antarctica is loosing this land ice.
Thus although the Arctic and the Antarctic are behaving like their locationspoles
apart, yet the global rise in temperature can do more harm than being useful.
3. Greenhouse gas hits records
The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a new record
high in 2013, propelled by a surge in levels of carbon dioxide,
the World Meteorological Organization reported Tuesday, raising
the threat of increased global warming.

The scientists warn that the Earth's natural ability to store and
mediate the gases through oceans, plants, and other means may
be approaching a saturation point, which could exacerbate
current warming. Not all scientists agree, however.
The World Meteorological Organization's annual report "shows that, far
from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,
This trend has to be reversed by cutting emissions of CO2 and other GHGs
Carbon dioxide levels rose more between 2012 and 2013 than during any
other year since 1984.
The report showed that between 1990 and 2013, the energy in the
atmosphere increased by 34 percent.
The surge was driven by a concentration of carbon dioxide that is 42
percent higher than the level in the pre-industrial era (prior to 1750).
Methane and nitrous oxide were 153 percent and 21 percent higher,
respectively, than pre-industrial levels, although their overall numbers are
much lower than carbon dioxide's.
Cautioning systems
1. Normally, about a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions into the
atmosphere are absorbed by plants, while another quarter dissolves
into the ocean.
2. But the ability to plants and oceans to keep on absorbing excess greenhouse
gases may be slowing as those systems approach what may be a saturation
3. The record high levels of CO2 gas was related to the r educed CO2 uptake by the
earth's biosphere in addition to the steadily increasing CO2 emissions,
4. CO2 remains in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years and in the oceans
for more longer. Thus it is also related to the increased acidity in the ocean
4. Ozone facts---- Ozone is a colorless gas. Chemically, ozone is very active; it
reacts readily with a great many other substances.
Near the Earths surface, those reactions cause rubber to crack, hurt plant
life, and damage peoples lung tissues.
But ozone also absorbs harmful components of sunlight, known as
ultraviolet B, or UV-B.
High above the surface, above even the weather systems, a tenuous layer
of ozone gas absorbs UV-B, protecting living things below.
Dobson Unit-- The Dobson Unit (DU) is the unit of measure for total ozone. If
you were to take all the ozone in a column of air stretching from the surface of
the earth to space, and bring all that ozone to standard temperature (0
Celsius) and pressure (1013.25 millibars, or one atmosphere, or atm), the
column would be about 0.3 centimeters thick. Thus, the total ozone would be
0.3 atm-cm. To make the units easier to work with, the Dobson Unit is
defined to be 0.001 atm-cm. Our 0.3 atm-cm would be 300 DU.
Ozone Hole--- Each year for the past few decades during the Southern Hemisphere
spring, chemical reactions involving chlorine and bromine cause ozone in the southern
polar region to be destroyed rapidly and severely. This depleted region is known as the
ozone hole.
The area of the ozone hole is determined from a map of total column ozone. It
is calculated from the area on the Earth that is enclosed by a line with a

constant value of 220 Dobson Units. The value of 220 Dobson Units is chosen since
total ozone values of less than 220 Dobson Units were not found in the historic
observations over Antarctica prior to 1979. Also, from direct measurements over
Antarctica, a column ozone level of less than 220 Dobson Units is a result of the ozone
loss from chlorine and bromine compounds.
5. What is meant by Ecotourism--Ecotourism is a new approach in tourism sector. Several terms relating to
ecotourism such as, sustainable tourism, green tourism, rural tourism, communitybased tourism, responsible tourism etc have been emerged over the last 20 years or so.

Eco tourism means preserving travel to natural areas to appreciate the cultural
and natural history of the environment, taking care, not to disturb the integrity of the
ecosystem, while creating economic opportunities that make conservation and
protection of natural resources advantageous for local people.

The potential of ecotourism as a strategy for sustainable development was

recognized during the Earth Summit in 1992, when sustainable tourism was considered
as an environment friendly economic activity.

It can provide vitally needed income to poor communities, giving them

an economic stake in protecting the environment. It led to change in the tourist
perceptions, increased environmental awareness and desire to explore natural
environments. Eco tourism may foster cultural exchanges between people- leading to
greater understanding.

India, the land of varied geography offers several tourist destinations that not just
de-stress but also rejuvenate you. The few places like the Himalayan Region, Kerala, the
northeast India, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the Lakshdweep islands are some of
the places where you can enjoy the treasured wealth of the Mother Nature. Thenmala in
Kerala is the first planned ecotourism destination in Indiacreated to cater to the Ecotourists and nature lovers.

The India topography boasts an abundant source of flora & fauna. India has
numerous rare and endangered species in its surroundings. The declaration of several
wildlife sanctuaries and national parks has encouraged the growth of the wildlife
resource. Currently, there are about 80 national parks and 441 sanctuaries in India,
which works for the protection and conservation of wildlife resource in India.

There are numerous Botanical and Zoological Gardens in India, which are working
towards the enhancement of the Ecosystem. Poaching has been stopped to large
extent. There are several animal & plant rights organisations, which fight for the rights
of the animals and plants. Numerous organisations and NGOs are coming forward to
provide environmental education to the common people at the grass root level.

Community eco-tourism initiative:

Eco-tourism at the initiative of communities has been started in different states of
India like J&K, Nagaland, Kerala, Sikkim and West Bengal.
In Ladakh, several villages have initiated home stay programmes for trekkers and
other tourists, with funds going back to conservation and village development.
Khonoma village near Kohima is the site for Green Village Project set up by the
Maharana Kumbha Common Interest Group, with nine villages from BPL families. The
youths were trained in visitors management. The camp offers camel and horse riding,
hiking, folk dances etc.

If ecotourism is not properly monitored it can be as damaging as the mass

tourism with negative impacts on ecology, environment, social and economic life of host
communities. With the increased footfalls of tourists, the deep need today is that
tourism like other sector be planned and managed suitably.
Negative consequence List:
commercialization, direct impact on environment, problem of garbage and
pollution, impact on fauna and flora, encroachment on virgin land, heavy traffic in
ecologically fragile areas, adverse effect on local people, trade of wild animals, threat to
indigenous culture (Jarawa tribe)
The use of plastic cups, bags and bottles causes havoc in the natural system.
Paper cups abandoned in and around biosphere reserves might cause large scale
mortality of worker bees. It is reported that globally 70% of crop plants and 98% trees in
tropical rain forests are pollinated by tiny insects like bees.
6. Reef fish and sex ratios: related to warming trend of oceans-- Using a
multigenerational experiment research has shown for the first time that when
reef fish parents develop from early life at elevated temperatures they can adjust
their offspring's sex through non-genetic and non-behavioral means
Dated: 07/04/2015
1. Bengaluru shutterbag captures rare Partridge--A photographer recently
spotted the Chestnut-breasted Partridge (Arborophila mandellii), endemic
to the Eastern Himalayas in Arunachal Pradesh.
About Chestnut-breasted Partridge
There are nearly 45 different species of partridges, of which the Chestnutbreasted Partridge is classified as a hill partridge
It gets its scientific name from an Italian naturalist
IUCN estimates that about 2,500 Chestnut-breasted Partridges live in Arunachal
Pradesh, Bhutan and Lower Tibet along the Himalayas.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which
categorises the bird as vulnerable, has only a colourful painting at least
two decades old as reference.
Source: the Hindu
2. Green ultimatum to western ghats states The Ministry of Environment and
Forests has set April 30 as the final deadline for the States along the Western
Ghats for submission of reports on demarcation of the ecologically-sensitive areas
as per the recommendations of the high-level working group
The committee is headed by Dr K Kasturirangan
37% of the ghats are to be declared sensitive (as opposed to the too
much economic friendly Gadgil Committee recommending 75% of the
Western Ghats area as ecologically sensitive zone restricting development
According to the ultimatum, the states bordering the Western ghats must
submit their area They consider to be ecologically sensitive so that
developmental activities can be planned by the GOI in other parts. If not,
the GOI would demarcate the boundaries as per their own accord.
Kerala is the only State among six bordering on the Western Ghats that
has promptly filed the submissions while other States have been dragging
feet---Kerala has submitted the cadastral maps of 123 ESA villages
along with colour-coded maps, demarcating the residential areas,
water bodies, sandy grounds, farmlands, plantations, forests and hilly
areas in each village. And then according to the remaining area it can lead
to exemption.

Madhav Gadgil report2011---was an environmental research

commission appointed by the Ministry of Environment and Forests of India.
The commission submitted the report to the Government of India on 31
August 2011. It was considered to be too environment friendly when it
recommended banning of complete environment-hazardous activities in
the whole of Western Ghats starting from Salher-Mulher to the BilgiriRanjan
hills.this report was also considered by UNESCO, which added the 39
serial sites of the Western Ghats on the World Heritage List
Kasturi Reportit seeked to balance both the developmental front and
the environmental front. By watering down the environmental regulation
regime proposed by the Western Ghats Ecology Experts Panels Gadgil
report in 2012. The Kasturirangan report seeks to bring just 37% of
the Western Ghats under the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA)
zones down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil report.[8] Dr. V.S.
Vijayan, member of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) said
recommendations of the Kasturirangan report are undemocratic and antienvironmental.
----A crucial report on Western Ghats prepared by K. Kasturirangan-led
high-level working group (HLWG) has recommended prohibition on
development activities in 60,000 km2ecologically sensitive areas spread
over Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Goa, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
---the 37 per cent of the total area defined as the boundary of the Western
Ghats is ecologically sensitive. Over this area of some 60,000 km2, spread
over the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil
-----The Kasturirangan group had recommended declaration of 56,825 sq
km of the Western Ghat areas as ecologically sensitive, which is much less
than the Gadgil committee suggesting delineation of 1.29 lakh sq km.
Also in the News--The ministry has already accepted the Kasturirangan
group's report for demarcation of the ESA zones in the Western Ghats and
it is now under pressure of the National Green Tribunal to declare the ESA
zones at the earliest.
Source: Herald
Other important approach for the Western ghats
Western Ghats have been added to the enviable list of UNESCOs world heritage
sites on July 1, 2012 at a meeting in the Russian city of St. Petersburg.
Thirty nine sites of the Ghats have been selected as heritage sites by the World
Heritage Committee
Silent valley, one of the must see destinations in a mans life also belongs to the
The major seven clusters of Western Ghats are Agasthyamala, Periyar, Anamala,
Nilagiri, Thalakkaveri, Kudhramukh and Sahyadri.
The topmost peak of Western Ghats is Anaimudi found in the Idukki District of
The three major rivers that originate in the western ghats and flow to the east
and transverse a great distances right across the peninsula are:1) The Godavari
2) The Krishna
3) The Kaveri
The habitat and biological hotspot of 5000 flora, 16 never ever seen endemic
birds, 179 omnivorous species and 191 pure water fishes:140-Mammal species

510-Bird species
180-Amphibian species
260-Reptile species
Major threats to the Ghats
The ecological imbalance and the regular rhythm of the nature is mainly
attributed to the unfettered axing of trees and thus paving the way for the
desertification of the zone.
The Red Data Book published in 2012 signal that the fauna of the Ghats is
increasingly depleted and decimated over the years.
Unscientific methods over fishing especially electro-fishing, dynamiting,
industrial effluents, introduction of exotic species.
Illegal mining is found rampant especially in Goa and Karnataka. Mining
activities badly necessitate enormous quantum of water which in turn causes
siphoning off water into mining pits. Naturally, there is dearth of water for
farming and drinking.
The large scale thermal plants such as cement, iron and steel in the states of
the Ghats heighten the temperature of nearby regions by dissolving toxic
chemicals from air.
Thermal power plants emit fly ash containing lead and mercury which is
deposited in river and thereby turn detrimental to the reproductive cycle of
Steps taken by the GOI
The GOI followed the mandate of the National Development Council,
promulgated the execution of the Western Ghats Development Programme in the
Fifth FYP (1974-79)
9th 5YP onwards wherein watershed based development approach became the
watchword:- in order to check the water erosion, optimize the use of natural
Major Committees Formed
1. Madhav Gadgil Committee (Specified): Madhav Gadgil, famous ecologist, was
deputed to be the chairman of Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel. The main
objective of the Committee is to study the ecological and environmental issues
hovering around Western Ghats and give salutary recommendations:He submitted Ecologically Sensitive Zones (ESZ) into three zones.
Zone 1: Needs highest protection.
Zone 2: Needs intermediate protection.
Zone 3: Needs moderate protection
2. Kasturirangan Committee--The Kasturirangan panel was set up by GOI to study
the Gadgil committee report on Western Ghats. The Committees report was
brought to light on 18/04/2013. Some of the crucial recommendations are: There should be complete ban on mining activities in Ecologically Sensitive
Areas (ESA).
The ongoing mining activities should also be banned within 5 years or as
and when mining lease is expired.
90% of the natural forests left in the Ghats to be conserved under the ESA
The Panel did not recommend an outright rejection of the Athirapalli
hydroelectric project in Karnataka and Gundiya Dam in Karnataka.
The forest area falling within the ESA covers 4156 villages and so the
villagers should be involved in decision making on the future projects.
The township or construction over the size of 20,000 sqm in the ESA to be

3. Leopard numbers across the country down by 80%-- Following the spates of
recent Human-Leopard conflicts, which indicated that leopard numbers were on
the rise. A study conducted by three wildlife scientists for over four years has
found that the leopard population, on the contrary, has declined by a whopping
70-80 per cent over the past 100 years.
The study was primarily based on genetic analysis
The population estimation of leopard numbers has been done from different
parts of the country, but no cumulative data is available
Molecular data from fecal samples of leopards were also collected
In India leopard preservation is often clubbed with tigers because many
leopard are in Tiger reserves
Because a reliable count of their numbers is not possible, not much has been
done for their systematic protection
While Tigers have got protection under the Project tiger Programme initiated
by the GOI, leopard did not sustain such a major feat
Infact poachers have now tried to replace tiger parts with that of
Leopardsaround 4,000 body parts and bones of leopards were discovered
from different parts of the country during the period of 1994-2013 as
compared to only 1,000 of that of tigers
Rising conflicts of human and leopards are also dwindling their
numbers. the severe depletion of habitat and prey is bringing leopards in
direct conflict with human
Though leopards are territorial animals and solitary in nature, but the
encroachment ont heir territory is bringing them in direct clash with human
thus decreasing their numbers.

Dated: 13/04/3015
3. Lakshadweep has been facing a drastic decline in coral cover in
recent years. Discuss various environmental and anthropogenic

factors behind this phenomenon. How can El Nino be disastrous for

the worlds coral reefs? Illustrate-----Lakshadweep is one of the best regions of India for coral formation and of late this has
been facing a decline in coral formation.
As reported in early 2010, the coral cover of the area was 27% which dropped till 11%
because of the May 2010 bleaching. The effects were most pronounced in the
Karavatti region of Lakshadweep.
--this decline is producing serious threat to the marine community and the livelihood
prospects of the local community.
Some of the factors which contributed to these phenomena can be listed hence
1. Environmental
Climate change-- the rise in sea surface temperature due to El-Nino
phenomenon during 1998 caused extensive coral reef bleaching impacting
over 40 to 90% of live coral cover
Coastal erosionserious problem faced by the islands every year leading to
coral loss
Increased sedimentation and pollution of water also affects the delicate
balance of coral and their survival need
El Ninothis is an anomaly and not well understood phenomena, and often
cited as the major reason for coral bleaching according to scientists.
Further, it is well established that the last big El Nio in 1997/98 caused the worst
coral bleaching in recorded history. In total, 16% of the worlds coral was los t and
some countries like the Maldives lost up to 9 0% of their reef coverage
Corals are a symbiotic relationship between the microbe which provides its
nutrients and it ends up making its shell, all happening at an Optimum
temperature. Warming of the sea ends this relationship, and ends up destroying
them. Moreover, in that process corals do not get the required nutrients and
hence get depleted.
Thought they have the capacity to recover, but the enhanced global warming has
pared this down.
2. Anthropogenic
Population Pressure Changing demographic pattern and lifestyle, coupled
with resource harvest from the reefs have brought many reefs in the
Lakshadweep to various degrees of stress.
Developmental Activities-- Overexploitation and mind less mining of coral reef
colonies led to degrading of coral reef.
Coral Tourism-- Lakshadweep increasingly being promo ted as major tourist
destination for sea sports like scuba diving. This results in environmental
pollution particularly of sea water
Limits to fishing and other water activities
Snorkeling should also be limited as human activities and tourism cause coral to
get destroyed
Mining should also be under control
Cap of carbon emissions
Dated: 15/04/2015

1. The Great Indian Bustard, a critical analysisGenerally recognized as

Critically Vulnerable and Endangered; protected in the sanctuaries of Gujarat
and Rajasthan needs special care and protection due to its rapid declining trend.
Cause of Vulnerability
Degradation of Grassland
Unprotected Lekking sites
Overgrazing of grasslands
Feral dogs
Unprotected eggs
Integrated measures
(a) Improvisation of GrasslandBetterment of grassland with special care and
(b) Awareness- An integrated process of Public awareness contributed by the
naturalist and specialist can take special measures to protect nesting ground;
lekking sites which can substantially raise the population of great Indian bustard.
(c) Government Efforts--Government effort like forming special task force for
protecting bustard from hunting in conjugation with international efforts can
really help keeping intact the population of great Indian bustard.
--In all the aforesaid way, government has been able to protect Narcondum
hornbill and Amur Falcon ; in that way great Indian bustard also requires special
protection. They are the jewel of nature and a combined process of NGOS ;
government; naturalist and above all common people can save them.

Is water vapor more disastrous than Carbon di oxide : Global Warming Issue
Water vapor, which accounts for 98 percent of the greenhouse effect. Doesn't this
inconvenient truth wholly discredit your little global-warming charade
It's unassailably true that water vapor is the gas most responsible for the
greenhouse effect.
Greenhouse gases let shortwave solar radiation through the atmosphere, but
impede the escape of long-wave radiation from the Earth's surface.
This process keeps the planet at a livable temperature: Without a suitably
balanced mixture of water vapor, CO2, methane, and other gases in the
atmosphere, the planet's average surface temperature would be somewhere
between -9 and -34 degrees Fahrenheit, rather than the balmy 59 degrees it is
By mass and volume, water vapor is the most prevalent greenhouse gas in the
According to both the International Panel on Climate Change and manyglobal
climate models, water vapor accounts for somewhere between 60 percent and
70 percent of the greenhouse effect.
The skeptical argument thus goes something like this: Since water vapor is the
most potent greenhouse gas, and since this vapor is created through natural
evaporation rather than human activity, the current warming trend is nothing
to worry aboutjust the Earth going through a normal climatic cycle.
However for the gas to create GH warming, it must be aided by temperatureas
we know The amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold is almost purely a
function of temperaturethe warmer the air gets, the more vapor it's able to
glean from the planet

We know, for example, that the atmospheric water content over the oceans
has increased (PDF) by 0.41 kilograms per square meter every 10 years since
Well, over that same time period, global emissions of carbon dioxide
have soared.
And unlike water vapor, which returns to Earth as precipitation within a week of
entering the atmosphere, CO2 sticks around for between 50 and 200 years.
Carbon dioxide accounts for approximately 25 percent of the greenhouse effect,
so it's pretty clear that the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO 2 is playing a
significant role in recent warming. (This warming might have been even
greater if not for the ability of the planet's oceans to absorb heat.)
Thus the atmosphere is able to absorb more WV aided by CO2which goes on
creating procedural amplification.
-----So anthropogenic CO2 serves as the chief engine of global warming, with
water vapor playing a crucial secondary role. Ex: According to the IPCC, if
CO2 emissions were to double, water vapor would amplify the resulting
temperature change by another 60 percent

Remaining updates
1. Typhoon Haiyaan: Phllipines: Impacts--- In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated
the Philippines, killing more than 6,000 people and destroying nearly $3 billion
worth of property. Typically, when people think of flooding or sea level rise, they
look at how its going to drown out villages and roads, but all these effects
propagate underground where the aquifers are.
2. India proposes changes to International treaty on Ozone Layer--Opening the door to using the Montreal Protocol to phase out climatedamaging Hydroflouro Carbons (HFCs), India has this week moved an
amendment to the international treaty that seeks to protect the ozone
layer.India's new position on expanding the protocol to cover HFCs indicates
that the country has come around on an issue on which it had reservations for

3. Lion as National Animal--- The Narendra Modi government is considering a

proposal to make lion India's national animal, pushing out the tiger that has
had the coveted status since 1972
--it naturally created a furore among environmentalists saying that it would
deadlock the campaign to save tigers and pave the way for clearance of
industrial projects near tiger sanctuaries.

However several factors come into paly before considering Lion as the
national animal--- Tigers are found across 17 states in India, whereas
lion is found in only one
In a recent countrywide assessment, it was found that India is home to
more than 2,200 tigers, whereas the Asiatic lion population,
estimated at 411, is confined to Gujarat's Gir.
Tiger was adopted as the national animal at a meeting of the Indian Board for
Wildlife (now NBWL) in 1972 in view of its "worldwide importance, existence in
the entire country and the need for its protection".
If you really want to make lion the national animal, you should first restore
at least 10-15 natural habitats which are suitable for lions. Then the
lions should be relocated there from Gir. Otherwise, as things stand now, lions
are staring at a genetic bottleneck, which is common in populations
concentrated in small pockets,
Due to inbreeding, the single population of lions at Gir is susceptible
to genetic disorders. Also, an epidemic or a natural disaster would seal their
fate, confined as they are to just 258sq km.
A relocation project was proposed in 2004, where some of the endangered big
cats were to be shifted from Gir to Madhya Pradesh's Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary
to save them from extinction
4. Satpura Tiger Reserve-- Satpura Tiger Reserve has become a paradise for
summer breeding birds, mainly due to reduction in water level in backwaters of
Tawa reservoirs (tarns: fish eating birds). Black belly tern, an endangered species,
was spotted breeding at Satpura, which is encouraging news for the sanctuary
Population of this species is on the decline, mainly due to increase in human
pressure on river eco-systemthus the increase of these species in this area is
encouraging news.
5. Ken Betwa River Linking/ Panna Tiger reserve--- Red flagging Ken-Betwa
river-linking project, Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) authorities have submitted an
adverse report saying it would hurt the prized tiger habitathence the
implementation of this project cannot be recommended. More than 200 square
km of PTR would be submerged if project is implemented.
the project is embroiled in controversy over its environment impact
assessment (EIA). The assessment report mentions presence of Sangai, an
endangered brow-antlered deer, which is only found in Manipur, at the Ken
basin. The Sangai sighting clause has triggered an uproar with
The Rs 9,393-crore project involves 9,000 hectares, half of which is forest
area. If the project is cleared, 10% of the tiger reserve will be taken away.

March Updates
1. After years of the world becoming modern as many as 2.67 billion peopleover
40 per cent of the worlds peoplestill burn biomass in their inefficient and dirty
cook stoves. This is another wicked problem. Efforts to provide clean energy for
cooking began in the early 1980s, when the world was worried, not about the
pollution from stoves, but about the prospect of losing forests because of
firewood collection. This did not happen in a country like India. Even today rural
and poor Indians, constituting 75 per cent of the population, use inefficient stoves
and inhale toxins that are now understood to be the worlds number one killer

2. Dark future of Coal

India is pushing for a more coal-based power generation but recent reports
raise serious concerns over
the viability of coal-fired plants

Indias coal-based power plants have doubled in capacity over the past two Plan
periods between 2002 and 2012 and currently stands at 160 gigawatt or GW (60 per
cent of total).
We rank third in the world behind China and the US in terms of coal-based power
Large reserves coupled with favorable economics have spurred capacity addition in
coal power over the past decade.
In 2012, the Planning Commission (now replaced by NITI Aayog) had forecast that
capacity addition will continue at this robust pace and almost double again by 2022.

In 2011, a study by Prayas Energy Group found that more than 200 GW of coalbased capacity had been
approved by the Union environment ministry for the 12th Five Year Plan period (till
2017) alone against
a requirement of 70 GW.
Another 500 GW was awaiting approval. The study noted that this combined capacity
was three times the capacity additions required till 2032. This could result in locking
up of significant financial resources and create stranded assets in generation and
According to a report by CoalSwarm and Sierra Club Boom and Bust: Tracking the
Global Coal Plant Pipeline a large number of these projects have either been
stalled or shelved.
Construction began on just 9 GW of the proposed 500 GW between up to mid-2014.
Between 2010 and 2012, the ratio of completed to cancelled projects was about 2:1.
Between 2012 and 2014, this increased to a shocking 6:1, highlighting the severity of
problems in the sector.
Trigger for protests
Worsening air quality, displacement due to land acquisition, forest destruction, impacts
of fly ash
disposal and conflicts over water use have triggered protests from local communities
against setting up
of plants.
The Centre for Science and Environments (CSE) Green Rating Project (GRP) notes that
environmental impacts of this expansion have been severe.
In its recent publication, titled Heat on Power [4] , GRP observed that plants in critically
polluted areas in India (as defined by Comprehensive Environmental Assessment of
Industries or CEPI) contributed to more than a third of the total installed capacity.
Even existing new plants are suffering from poor capacity utilisation (PLF). In 2013-14,
PLF for thermal
power plants dipped to 65 per cent, which is the lowest level in 14 years and has
stagnated at the same
level in 2014-15 as well. This further questions the need for new plants when existing
plants are not
being utilised fully.

The focus for coal-based power sector should be efficient management, especially in
the areas of PLF,
efficiency improvement, pollution control, water consumption and ash utilisation.
Whether there really
is a need for more coal-based generation needs to be debated after taking into account
the projects
already in the pipeline and the aggressive expansion of renewables, mainly solar, said
Umesh Bapat,
former vice-president (operations) of Tata Power Company Limited.
Who will fund them?
Global financial institutions like World Bank have also committed to not
finance dirty coal projects
-----This means project developers have to seek out domestic sources of funding.
However, domestic
Financial institutions are already facing massive accumulation of non-performing assets
(NPAs) on account of the power sector, and are unlikely to lend given the uncertainties
The impacts are already being felt by BHEL, Indias largest power generation equipment
maker. Its profits slumped by 70 per cent consecutively in the second and third quarter
of 2014-15 due to lack of orders.
Uncertain coal supply is an added constraint for plants. Coal India Limited (CIL) is
notoriously inefficient
in coal production and has a monopoly over coal supply in India.
Its average productivity per-man-per10/shift is three times below the global average.
Plans are afoot to double CILs production and captive coal blocks are being auctioned
to ease supply. However, these measures are not likely to take effect till at least 2019.
Time to rethink strategy
Price of renewable energy is set to reach parity with coal-based generation and even
surpass it.
Combined with the governments revised targets for renewable energy capacity of 100
GW by 2022, coal-based generation is likely to face strong headwinds. Now would be
the right time for the government to re-think coals contribution to Indias energy mix
and formulate a strategy to use existing capacity effectively as well as prevent
accumulation of non-performing assets in the future.
3. Countries in the Hindukush region should understand the potential of
water resources for sustainable development--The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region heavily depends on water resources for
irrigation, food, hydropower, sanitation, and industry, as well as for the functioning of
many important ecosystem services.
Water thus directly contributes to the national GDP and to livelihoods and income
generation at the local level.
Although water is the foundation of sustainable development, water management in the
HKH region remains fragmented and uncoordinated, and does not take relevant regional
issues into account.
Some of the important reasons for the aforesaid facts are cited as follows
Many big rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra originate from the snow
and glacier-covered high mountains, and have abundant seasonal and annual
water supply.

Despite this, mountain people living on the ridges and hill slopes have limited
access to water for drinking and agriculture.
Throughout the mountain region, springs are reported to be drying, and mountain
agriculture has suffered from drought.
The shortage of water has placed an increasing burden on mountain
communities, particularly on women.
Furthermore, the communities face loss of property and lives due to waterinduced natural hazards.
Climate change has exacerbated the situation by creating uncertainty about the
future water availability and water security.
Understanding the characteristics of water is crucial for sustainable water
Some of the complexities and challenges of water management in the HKH
region --1. Water and energy---Energy is one of the most important pillars of sustainable
development; while hydropower is one of the sources of sustainable development
in the HKH region having a potential estimated to be 500,000 MW. Thus the
region has abundant opportunities for hydropower development.
-----Energy security can open up opportunities for development and employment
and contribute to the national GDP.
----Moreover, innovative solutions such as electric transportation and a clean
source of domestic and industrial energy supply would significantly improve the
deteriorating environmental condition of the region.
-----However, many countries in the region have been able to tap only a small
fraction of their available potential.
----Out of the 42,000 MW potential reported in Nepal, only about 2 per cent is
harnessed so far, whereas Pakistan has harnessed 11 per cent of its total
Still, people in both these countries face many hours of scheduled power cuts.
2. Water and environmentVital role for ecosystem services esp in riparian
areas;Freshwater ecosystems in particular largely depend on the specific flow
regime of rivers passing through them.
----However, due to intervention of infrastructure development, the flow regime
changes in the downstream areas, where, in many cases, communities depend on
water resources for livelihoods such as fishing.
----A major concern is how to make sure that a certain minimum flow is
maintained so as to sustain freshwater supply and support dependent
ecosystems. There is very weak monitoring of the minimum flow requirement in
the region.
3. Water for Food-Both being essential ingredients for human survival and
development. Agriculture is a major contributor to the GDP of countries in HKH.
In Nepal, it contributes to 35 per cent of the national GDP.
The Indus river system is a source of irrigation for about 144,900 hectares of
land, whereas the Ganges basin provides irrigation for 156,300 hectares of
agricultural land. Access to water resources for food production and their
sustainable management is a concern from the local to national level. Amid rapid
environmental and socio-economic changes, the growing population will require
more water and food, and equitable access to vital resources has become a major
question. Sustainable solutions to these problems require efficient use of water
resources for agricultural use in which technological innovation plays a vital role
4. Water and disaster--Due to its physical setting, the HKH region is prone to
various water-induced hazards (landslides, floods, glacial lake outburst floods,

and droughts). Every year, during the monsoon season, floods wreak havoc on
the mountains and the plains downstream. These floods are often trans-boundary.
Globally, 10 per cent of all floods are trans-boundary, and they cause over
30 per cent of all flood casualties and account for close to 60 per cent of all those
displaced by floods.
The social and economic setting of the region makes its people more vulnerable
to natural hazards. Lack of supportive policy and governance mechanisms at the
local, national and regional levels, and the lack of carefully planned structural and
non-structural measures of mitigation lead to increased vulnerability.
5. Regional Corporation--The examples above show that water has both beneficial
and adverse traits, its management is complex, and often a regional approach is
necessary. The hydropower potentials are primarily concentrated in the mountain
regions but the major users of the energy are the urban areas and industries in
the plains. Strong technical and political barriers separate those regions, which is
one of the major reasons of slow progress in hydropower development. However,
recent trends have shown some positive change. In the recent 18th SAARC
summit in Kathmandu, the SAARC member countries signed a Framework
Agreement on Energy Cooperation. This agreement has opened up the energy
market in South Asia, and thereby possibilities for cooperation in the energy
sector. However, it remains to be seen to what extent the collaboration would
play a role in energy security.
Keeping in mind the aforesaid factors there is strong indication that the HKH region will
undergo a climate change in recent yearswith temperature rise along with rise of
precipitation. And the impacts on the sustainable development of the region cannot be
answered without the regional corporation.
Hence some regional corporation efforst has to be promoted in the region
widely like
Effective flood management requires sharing data and information between the
upstream and downstream areas, not only within the country, but also at the
trans-boundary level
Technological innovations based on satellite information, in combination with
ground-based data, can be transformed into information that can prove vital in
saving lives and properties
Hence the way ahead
A balanced regional corporation among the neighboring countries will create
trust, which can be a basis for future cooperation for maximising benefits such as
energy trade.
Countries of HKH region should recognise the potential of water resources for
sustainable development.
These resources can help reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, conserve
ecosystems and contribute to flood and drought management in the region.
This will not only help us face the present crisis, but also open up avenues to deal
with issues of future water availability amid climate and socioeconomic changes.
Regional cooperation should be based on the three pillars of sustainability:
economic vitality, environmental integrity and social equity, both at the national
and local level.
4. Narendra Modi needs to do for Ganga
Background- National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), which was set up in 2009which
Narendra Modi is all set to preside over. The NGBRA was set up as a apex body for
the revival of the River Ganga following public protests. Agitattors complained that
Ganga Action Plan (GAP) had failed to clean up the river.

GAPganga Action Plan was launched by the then PM Rajiv Gandhi in

order to cleaning the 2,500 km mighty river.
In August 2009, GAP was re-launched with a river basin authority in charge.
Objective of the NGBRA--is to ensure that there an effective pollution control and
there is conservation of the river; while its functions includes: planning and
execution of the programmes to keep the river clean and flowing. In the last 30
years, GAP had failed to improve the quality of river water to acceptable standards
(defined as bathing water quality standards).
Around Rs 950 crore were spent in the name of cleaning the river in two phases
and at one instance among the two India also got aid from the World Bank for the
But the situation remained grimwith a holistic action missing from the
Main issues
Growing Pollution Load of the River(July 2013): Around Rs 950 crore were spent
in the name of cleaning the river in two phases. And in the upper stretches like in
Rudraprayag and Devaprayag, they remain in appreciable amounts whatsoever.
Thus an inadequate flow for dilution persists even in these upper stretches, which
also are highly oxygenated. Thus in these higher stretches, water extraction for
hydroprojects is endangering the overall health of the river
Middle course problems--the amount of water extracted from the river increases
to meet irrigation and drinking water needs. In this stretch of the river, from
Rishikesh to Allahabad, there is almost no water during winter and summer
months. In other words, the river stops flowing. But the waste water flow does not
ebb. The river at these times receives only waste and turns into a sewer drain.
BOD levels are high downstream of Haridwar, Kannauj and Kanpur and peak at
Varanasi; and the pollution is getting worse day by day.
Overall, freshwater intake from the river is increasing. In this way, water is drawn
for agriculture, industry and cities but what is returned is only waste .
Way ahead/ Possibilities of change
When the new government was formed under Modi, cleaning Ganga was one of the topmost priorities
However, Modis dream of cleaning the holy river does not seem to be happening in the
near future.
-----This is in spite of the fact that an integrated Ganga Conservation Mission,
Namami Ganga, was established.
In the latest budget presented in February, not much attention was focused
on cleaning the river. The interim budget presented last year talked of over Rs
2,000 crore exclusively for cleaning Ganga. Till date, no implementation has been seen
on ground. The only actions observed were arrangement of meetings for discussions,
like the Ganga Manthan and Jal Manthan.
The Supreme Court, which is dealing with a two decades-old PIL filed by
environmentalist M C Mehta on the cleaning of the river and setting up sewage
treatment plants alongside it since 1985, slammed the government several times for
not putting words into action. The prime minister is said to have taken stock of the
actions taken so far.
Meanwhile, the ministry presented two reports to the Lok Sabhaone was on the
pollution hot spots and the other on Ganga River Basin Management Plan, prepared by a
consortium of seven Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).

One hopes the plan prepared by IITs does not focus only on things like setting up
sewage treatment plants but also takes into consideration that most of the cities along
the river have only 20-30 per cent sewered areas. The conveyance of waste must be reconceptualised and implemented at the time of planning treatment plants.
5. Electricity from paddy straw/Power generation/India- A 10-mw power plant based on rice straw, the first of its kind in the world, will'
become operational in Jal Kheri village in Patiala district of Punjab in
November this year.
The plant will work on a very effective method of converting waste into electricity
for which it will be possible to produce about 1,000 mw of electricity from the rice
straw and husk available in Punjab alone,
Thus project is jointly financed by the DNES and the Punjab State Electricity
Board (PSEB), the plant will require 70,000 tonnes of rice straw a year.
The project was originally conceived in 1986 ---five to six million tonnes of rice straw
were going waste every year in Punjab, posing serious disposal problems for farmers.
as rice straw is seldom sued for fodder in Punjab and Haryana( more popular
wheat straw and green fodder are available in plenty)
BHEL which is supposed to set up this plant has developed most of its
equipment indigenously, except for the fuel feeding and firing system, which is
being imported from Denmark.
The technology developed for harvesting, baling, storage and transport of rice straw
has undoubtedly benefited the paper industry as well as other industries in the
6. Fishing Ban to come into force in Andhra Pradesh soon---(from April
14th)---in the Bay of Bengal coast. The ban will be from April 15 in the State,
despite the fact that the government has not been able convince all stakeholders
of the need for implementation of the sixty-day ban.
While the government is for prolonging the ban period for conservation of
marine fish species, the fisher folk are accusing the authorities of robbing
them of their livelihood.
The government will release Rs. 2,000 package to each family,
which is engaged in fishing activity, compensating their income on
fishing and allied activities
Earlier, the package, including rice offered to each eligible family, was
barely worth around Rs. 600.
A maximum of eight persons are eligible for the package for each
mechanised boat, while it is six for each motorised boat, as they
will directly loose employment during the ban period
7. Grey Hypocolitus sighted in Gujarat--- Two Mumbai-based professionals and
keen amateur birders have recently sighted and photographed a rare bird, Grey
Hypocolius, at the Narara Marine National Park near Jamnagar in Gujarat.
Grey Hypocolitus is a rare migratory bird found in Northern Africa;
Afghanistan; Pakistan and Western India
A slender, long tailed bird the size of Bulbul (about 19-21 cms),
Grey Hypocolius is a migratory bird that comes from central Asian countries. It
is an interesting record since it has been photographed for the first time in
Mr. Munsiff said apart from a stray sighting near Tarkarkli in Konkan in 201112, the bird was spotted in Kihim in Alibag district near Mumbai in 1930 by
Salim Ali.

8. GOI freezes Greenpeace accountsGreenpeace Indias all SEVEN bank accounts

have been freezed by the GOI with immediate effect.
Citing various grounds for the suspension of the FCRA registration of
Greenpeace India and the freezing of its accounts, the Union Home Ministry
on Thursday alleged the organisation did not inform the authorities
concerned about transfer of foreign contributions received in the
designated account to the FCRA utilisation account and then to five other
The seven accounts in IDBI Bank, ICICI Bank and Yes Bank have been
frozen with immediate effect.
Listing the alleged violations, the order said the NGO under-reported and
repeatedly mentioned incorrect amount of foreign contributionswhich
Greenpeace India had later admitted to be typographical error.
The MHA also charged the NGO with incurring over 50 per cent of foreign
donations on administrative expenditure during 2011-12 and 2012-13
without prior approval; and willfully suppressing details on salary payment
by Greenpeace International to Greenpeace activist Greg Muttitt, who
worked on secondment with Greenpeace India for over five months in
Economist interests hurt-- Stating that acceptance of foreign contributions
by Greenpeace India has prejudicially affected the public and the economic
interest of the country in violation of the Section 12 (4)(f)(iii) and Section
12(4)(f)(ii) of the FCRA, the government said the act also amounted to
violation of the conditions of grant of registration certificate.
---- Accordingly, the Central government has suspended the registration of
the organisation, including its branches and units, under the FCRA, for six
The order comes against the backdrop of MHA reports raising concerns that
the United Kingdom has been showing interest in the organisation's India
9. Ban on elephants in templesOn the 17th of April the apex court likely to
decide on a PIL seeking he ban on elephants in religious functions, processions
and other such events.
---the PIL is public interest petition filed by Bangalore-based Wildlife Rescue and
Rehabilitation Centre and other animal welfare organisations
----as some temples like the The famous Guruvayoor temple has 90 elephants,
---- pachyderms are subject to untold cruelty despite laws over half a century old
like Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960, which makes it an offence to beat,
torture, over-load, chaining or tethering with a heavy or short chain.
---- little regard was paid to the Ministry of Environment and Forests guidelines of
2008, which bans captive elephants from being made to walk for more than 30
km a day and not more than three hours at a stretch.
---- The petition pointed out that in States like Tamil Nadu, temple festivals
happen in the hottest months of the year and it was common for elephant
keepers to make their elephants walk on the hot, tarred city roads during peak
summer days. This was in sheer violation of the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants
(Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2011.
---- even treats given to temple elephants by devotees add to their misery: This
leads to obesity, indigestion, and occurrence of colic and e.coli salmonella
infections (unwashed hands of devotees could be a major cause) in the elephants
---- Laying emphasis on States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra
Pradesh, where decked-up elephants perceive to add to the grandeur of temple

festivals, the petition brought to the courts attention that 88 persons including
71 mahouts were killed in accidents relating to captive elephants in three years
between 2007-10. The same period saw 215 elephants killed as a result of cruel
----- The petition, filed a year after the Supreme Court said animals have the
constitutional right to life and dignity under Article 21, wants the court to protect
captive elephants from cruel treatment, sale and transfer under the guise of gift
or donation and use for commercial and religious activities.
----- It said the last government census of captive elephants was way back in
2000. It showed that over 3,600 were in chains, in the possession of private
entities, including religious institutions and trusts.
10.Management practice for mango malformationWhich is now discovered to be a
fungal disease. It was reported for the first time from Darbhanga, Bihar.
The disease is more in northwest than in the northeast and South India.
Malformation is one of the most important problems of mango and a serious threat. This
disorder is widespread in flowers and vegetative shoots.
Broadly three distinct types of symptoms are there. These are vegetative malformation
and floral malformation. Later, these were grouped under two broad categories that is
vegetative and floral malformation.
Commonly found- (a) vegetative malformationwhich is found in the young seedlings; (b)
Floral Malformation which s found in panicles/inflorescences.
1. Diseased plants should be destroyed. Use disease free planting material
2. Scion sticks from infected trees should not be used.
3. As soon as the disease appears, the affected terminals along with the basal 15-20 cm healthy
portion should be removed or pruned and burnt. If more than 25 per cent affected plants, deblossoming at bud burst stage should be done to delay the flowering.
4. Spraying of Planofix (200 ppm) during the first week of October followed by deblossoming at bud
burst stage is recommended.
5. A single foliar application of 1,000 ppm cobalt sulphate prior to flower bud differentiation
successfully reduce the floral malformation.
11.Smart technologies for water management in CropsClimaAdapt---- Irrigation
projects have always been part of the top agenda in any government policy. Each
administration has always introduced something new for its part on the water
issue. Walamtari is a government organisation in Hyderabad serving farmers of
both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh States.
Presently they are working on low cost sensors for water use efficiency, soil
moisture and environmental parameters, through a project called ClimaAdapt,
supported by the Norwegian Government.
Today several smart technologies like sensors are available to monitor water
resources distribution and utilisation. The cost of monitoring water usage with
the aid of these technologies is more reliable and convenient as compared to
human resources engaged for monitoring
farmer needs to do is to buy and install one or two sensors in his field and
irrigation outlets in the fields for measuring water flow, soil moisture,
temperature and relative humidity in the atmosphere. Once every two to three
hours information on the above is sent to the farmers mobile as a message.
After setting up the sensors in their fields, which are prices between rs. 2,000
to Rs. 3,000.---farmers can get information every three hours on his mobile
about the water flow, air temperature, soil moisture etc on his mobile phone.
Being a Government organisation, it does not market sensors commercially.

Though this is a new concept in an area that already faces several problems,
the need of the hour is for farmers across the country to become aware about
this concept and try them personally.
12.India has 988 species on the IUCN Red List--- India has added 15 more species to
the Red List of threatened species published by the International Union for
Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in 2014, but the country has climbed down a spot
to the seventh position.
By the year-end, India had 988 threatened species on the list, which lists
critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable species. In 2013, the
number was 973.
With 659 species in 2008, the increase over seven years is 50 per cent, in part
due to better research identifying more threatened species and deforestation.
By adding 37 species, China seemed to have helped India improve its rank.
Apart from habitat loss, it is research and surveys that add species to the Red
List. Studies for some endemic species are yet to be conducted in India, to
give a better picture of their status
This is definitely a concern There is a tendency of decision-makers to focus
on charismatic mammals for conservation, while others are left out of
programmes A more holistic approach is needed to conservation in India.
A recent World Bank mapping of endangered mammals shows India as having
the fourth largest number of threatened species in the world, 31 of them
endemic to the region.

13.India and Bird Count---India has become the country with the second highest bird
count in the wolrdwith 735 species; after Equador awith 784 species.
Professional and amateur bird watchers use a variety of tools today, including
online portals to keep counts of species. They update this frequently. Thus, when
the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) was conducted in mid-February, India
became the country recording the second highest bird count at 735 species, after
Ecuador with 784 species.
birds are most active early in the morning. The best time to watch them is
between 6 and 9, with a peak in activity in between. Morning walkers spot
many species in their backyard.
During the recent backyard bird count, participants in Uttarakhand came in
first with 383 species, Tamil Nadu with 324, Karnataka with 322 and Kerala
with 299. All these States have good bird diversity, and so do some others.

After the common crow, the other most frequently encountered species in
India were common Myna, Rock Pigeon, Black Drongo, and Asian Koel, as per
the GBBC.
Unlike agriculture, which is a monoculture, cities can be made biodiverse with
several different types of trees. This actually makes them better placed to
host a variety of birds than plain farms.
On the other hand, birds in cities are affected by the presence of free-roaming
cats, large glass windows without glazing, a lot of lighting and steadily glowing
red lamps.
14.Emission from the Biomass burning across the Himalayas---the organic acids
present in the aerosols serve as a unique fingerprint in identifying the source of
Contrary to the general assumption that the southern slopes of the
Himalayas act as a barrier and effectively block the transportation of
pollutants from India and other parts of South Asia, a study published a
couple of days ago in the Nature Group journal Scientific Reports finds
sound evidence to prove otherwise.
---- Aerosols have been found to rise and cross the entire range of the
Himalayas. So much so that studies conducted in the northern slope of the
Himalayas at an elevation of 4,276 metres above MSL could find markers
distinctive of pollution arising from India and other regions of South Asia.
The organic acids present in the aerosols serve as a unique fingerprint in
identifying the source of pollution. In this case, the dicarboxylic acids
served as a fingerprint.
Though dicarboxylic acids can be produced by biomass burning, vehicular
exhausts and cooking (primary source), as well as atmospheric
photooxidation (secondary source), the researchers were able to pinpoint
the source as biomass burning.
Again, Levoglucosan is a specific marker of biomass burning it is
produced through the pyrolysis of cellulose during the combustion
Another unique marker of biomass burning is the water-soluble potassium.
Both the markers showed strong positive correlation with dicarboxylic acids
thereby confirming biomass burning as the source of pollution.
Though the pollutants were found to reach the northern slopes of the
Himalayas during all the seasons pre-monsoon, monsoon, post-monsoon
and winter seasons the amount of aerosol found peaked during premonsoon. This, according to them is one more indicator of biomass burning
as the source
Agricultural burning and forest fires along the southern Himalayan foothills
and the Indo-Gangetic Plain reach a high during the pre-monsoon period.
That probably is the reason why the amount of biomass burning marker
found peaked during the pre-monsoon time.
While the local topographic relief of the Himalayas play an important role
in allowing the pollutants to cross the mountains and reach the northern
The up-valley wind during daytime, being maximum in the afternoon, helps
in pushing the pollutants to higher altitude. On the northern slopes, a
down-valley wind is prevalent during the same time. The combination of
the up-valley wind in the southern slopes and down-valley wind in the
northern slopes allows the accumulation of aerosol on the glacier surfaces.

---- Acting as efficient channels of south-to-north air flow, the mountain

valleys could allow the air pollutants to easily penetrate throughout the
Regardless of where the pollutants come from, the study has provided
compelling evidence that they are due to biomass burning. We must step
up the global effort to drastically cut down biomass burning as much as we
15.Raining Troubles in the Recent past /Western India---The latest rainfall in the
western part of the nation, which caused massive loss to the agricultural
economy was basically attributed to the Western disturbances. However, the
scientists have now found out a many other causes as well
Western disturbances are low-pressure areas embedded in the Westerlies,
the planetary winds that flow from west to east between 30-60 latitude.
They usually bring mild rain during January-February, which is beneficial to
the rabi crop. But in the past few years western disturbances have been
linked to disasters
Scientists agree that western disturbances are formed naturally. They
originate in the Mediterranean region and travel over Iran, Iraq,
Afghanistan and Pakistan to enter India loaded with moisture, where the
Himalayas obstruct them, causing rain and snow in western Himalayas.
The snow adds to the glaciers which provide water to Indias major
perennial rivers
The cloud burst in Leh in 2010, the floods and landslide in Uttarakhand in
2013 and the excessive rain in Jammu and Kashmir in 2014 were all linked
to these disturbances.
This year, as per the India Meteorological Department (imd), the average
rain received between March 1 and March 18 was 49.2 mm197 per cent
above normal. This caused severe damage to crops in several states of the
crops in over 5 million hectares have been damaged. But despite the
destruction the disturbances have been causing, there have been very few
studies to understand them.
Easterly Wave--- the severe rain this year is the result of the confluence of
western disturbance and easterly wave from the Bay of Bengal. Easterly
wave, or Easterlies, blow throughout the year from east to west. The
confluence of the two winds happens throughout the year, but the results
vary. They generally bring rain only to the northern part of the country but
this year states in central and south India also received rain,
Pacific Decadal Oscilaltion--phenomenon called Pacific Decadal Oscillation
(PDO) contributed to the severity of this years rainfall. PDO is the name
given to long-term fluctuations in the surface temperature of the Pacific
Ocean. In areas above 20 north off the western coast of North America,
cooling is observed during the negative phase of PDO while warming is
observed during the positive phase. This shift from one phase to another
happens every 10 years or in multiples of 10 years and is yet to be
understood properly. PDO influences the placement and intensity of ridges
(high-pressure areas) and troughs (low-pressure areas) over the northern
hemisphere. the wet winter seen this year and in 2013-14 was caused due
to the impact of a very strong positive PDO.
---The warm waters in the west coast of North America led to a strong ridge
over the Gulf of Alaska and western Canada.

---Another ridge prevailed over the central Atlantic Ocean which allowed
storm systems to move through Europe into southeast Europe and the
Middle East
--- A weakness between a couple of such ridges allowed storm systems to
move into Afghanistan, Pakistan and northern India over the past couple of
winters/springs, he explains.
Jet Streams---Widely used weather models, such as the Global Forecast
System, are consistently showing the movement of new upper air troughs
into India. Such troughs in the jet streams (narrow bands of strong winds
flowing in the upper troposphere) could be affecting the western
disturbances which, imd says, are present in the lower and middle
------One such trough started forming in the upper troposphere over Iran,
Afghanistan and Pakistan on February 26 and intensified and moved
towards north-western parts of India on February 28.
----his led to the formation of a low-pressure region in the lower
troposphere over northwest India, causing an incursion of moisture from
Arabian Sea, and produced heavy rains.
----he rainfall on March 14-16 was also caused by a similar upper air
weather set-up. This shows how problematic the combination of western
disturbances and upper air troughs can be for India, says Deoras.
Other latest phenomena to cause such disaster mau be cited as follows
1. Heating of the Tibetan plateauWestern distrurbances have been directly linked
to global warming in many studies.
----global warming is impacting air currents and causing freak weather events.
Pronounced warming over the Tibetan plateau in recent decades has increased
the instability of the Westerlies and this has increased the variability of the
western disturbances.
----According to the study, the western Himalayan region has seen a significant
rise in surface temperatures since the 1950s. Observations from the area show a
significant increase in precipitation in recent decades. T
----The researchers looked at a variety of climate data to understand the
increasing frequency of heavy precipitation. They say temperatures have risen in
the middle- and upper-tropospheric levels over the sub-tropics (area between the
Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn) and the middle latitudes.
--Thus, human-induced climate change is the reason for the increased variability
of western disturbance
2. Arctic Warming--heating up of the Arctic has weakened the jet streams in the
northern hemisphere. The west to east flow of jet streams in the northern
hemisphere is maintained by the gradient of heat between the cool Arctic and
warmer areas near the equator. But the Arctic has been warming since the past
20 years due to which the jet streams have become weaker. Rather than circling
in a relatively straight path, jet streams now meander. This is making the South
colder and the North warmer. Francis says western disturbances could definitely
be affected by these jet streams.
3. Regional factors---These can be mostly explained by natural short-term weather
events. There is nothing too unusual or any sign of climate change, there is
nothing extraordinary about the event and India has witnessed similar weather
a) Rabi crop accounts for 51 per cent of the countrys grain output and
sustains Indias requirements till October till the kharif crop is harvested.
Therefore, the winter crop has a significant bearing on food inflation.

b) The fact that kharif yield in 2014 was below normal makes the situation
even more grim
c) And the impact of crop damage has already started percolating to
consumers. Vegetable prices increased by 30-40 per cent after rains in
Delhis wholesale markets.
d) As states calculate crop loss, there are reports of farmer suicides in
Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
e) Maharashtra, which has been struggling with drought and is now faced
with excessive rain and hailstorm, has announced a compensation
package of Rs.7,000 crore.
f) However, compensation are pais only when the losses are more than 50%
16.Sendai Resilience
Governments of 187 UN member states have adopted a 15-year plan with targets
to substantially reduce deaths and economic losses from disasters.
Called the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, it is the first major UN
agreement on the post-2015 development agenda consisting of four major aims
and seven targets to be met by 2030.
The Sendai plan, adopted last week at the UN Conference on Disaster Risk
Resduction, will replace the existing Hyogo Framework for Action (2005) that ends
this year.
This first major UN agreement on the post-2015 development agenda will drive
the future for a sustainable and disaster-resilient world along with the sustainable
development goals and the Paris climate agreement to be decided in September
and December respectively this year.
The main aim of this is to build up a NEW disaster Framework
Till now Disaster Framework was based on--T he Hyogo Framework for Action ,
which is even as the 10-year blueprint expires this year.
Over these 10 years, disasters continued to take a heavy toll on lives and
property. Over 700,000 people lost their lives, over 1.4 million were injured and
approximately 23 million were made homeless as a result of disasters. The total
economic loss was more than $1.3 trillion. Besides, around 144 million people
were displaced by disasters between 2008 and 2012.
And the world is still far from been prepared; Several gaps remain in addressing
the underlying disaster risk factors to formulate goals and priorities for action and
ensuring adequate resources for implementation.

The Sendai Framework also focusses on ---issues related to poverty reduction,

sustainable development, natural resource management, environment, urban development and
adaptation to climate change
Warning --- The effects of disasters, some of which have increased in intensity and have been
exacerbated by climate change, impede their [small island states] progress towards sustainable
development, the 10-year review conducted by UNISDR showed over 87 per cent of the disasters
were related to climate change.
Connecting dots between new Sendai agreement, Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals
and Paris climate agreement---as all these three agreemens share the same aim of making
development sustainable
But disaster risk reduction planning must be integrated with broader global and national efforts to
achieve sustainable development. And with targets without numbers and no substantial financial
commitments from the rich nations, questions as to whether the disaster-risk conference fulfilled
the expectations and the new Sendai agreement can ensure a disaster and climate-resilient
future, remain unanswered.
Total Economic losses in the world is more concentrated to the Asia Pacific..

Dated: 20/04.2015
1. Uttarkhand New Tiger reserve--- Uttarakhand now has a second tiger
reserve, besides the Corbett Tiger Reserve.

Uttarkhand is the state with the second highest Tiger population after
The Rajaji National park has now been notified as the Rajaji Tiger Reserve by the
Project Tiger_From the 9 tiger reserves since its formative years, the Project Tiger
coverage has increased to 48 at present, spread out in 17 of our tiger range states.
This amounts to around 2.08% of the geographical area of our country.
--The tiger reserves are constituted on a core/buffer strategy. The core areas
have the legal status of a national park or a sanctuary, whereas the buffer or
peripheral areas are a mix of forest and non-forest land, managed as a multiple use
--- The Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 was amended in 2006 keeping in view
the needs of the Project Tiger for providing enabling provisions for constitution of
the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the Tiger and Other Endangered
Species Crime Control Bureau.
The functions of NTCA are as follows:

Ensuring normative standards in tiger reserve management

Preparation of reserve specific tiger conservation plan

Laying down annual/ audit report before Parliament

Instituting State level Steering Committees under the Chairmanship of Chief

Minister and establishment of Tiger Conservation Foundation.

According approval for declaring new Tiger Reserves.

Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF):

Creation of Special Tiger Protection Force (STPF) was announced in 2008.

A onetime grant of Rs. 50 Crore was provided to the National Tiger Conservation
Authority (NTCA) for raising, arming and deploying a Special Tiger Protection Force
for 13 tiger reserves. The rest of the reserves were taken up later.
Added to the above
Lies in the Shivaliks;
Second tiger reserve after Corbett Tiger Reserve
The park is at the NW limit of distribution for both elephants and tiger in India,
and has a Largest population of the elephants in uttarkhand
Uttarkhand is the state with the highest number of Tiger population after

National Green tribunal

National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 (NGT) is an Act of the Parliament of India which
enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases
pertaining to environmental issues.[3] It was enacted under India's constitutional
provision of Article 21, which assures the citizens of India the right to a healthy
environment. This is also related to the enforcements of any legal right relating to
environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources
including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and
compensation for damages to persons and property and for matters connected
therewith or incidental thereto
On 18 October 2010, Justice Lokeshwar Singh Panta became its first Chairman
During the Rio de Janeiro summit of United Nations Conference on Environment
and Development in June 1992, India vowed the participating states to provide
judicial and administrative remedies for the victims of the pollutants and other
environmental damage
There lie many reasons behind the setting up of this tribunal. After India's move with
Carbon credits, such tribunal may play a vital role in ensuring the control of emissions
and maintaining the desired levels
This court can rightly be called special because India is the third country following
Australia and New Zealand to have such a system.
Notable orders of the tribunal1. Yamuna Conservation Zone--On 25 April 2014, The NGT said that the health
of Yamuna will be affected by the proposed recreational facilities on the river. The

NGT also recommended the Government to declare a 52 km stretch of the

Yamuna in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as a conservation zone
2. Coal Blocks in Chhattisgarh forest--3. Ban on decade old Deisel vehicles in Delhi NCR---An attempt to minimize air
pollution at capital of India and NCR. PM 2.5 particles have reached alarming
level. As per this order, 10 yrs old vehicles are not allowed to ply. However, as per
Media report, central Government exploring to appeal against the order at
Supreme Court, especially for personal vehicles.
4. Incinerator Technology for producing refuse Derived Fuels (RDF)--National Green tribunal has permitted the states including Karnataka to use
Incinerator Technology for producing RDF , commonly known as waste-to-energy
Incineration: this is a waste treatment process which involves the combustion of
organic substances contained in waste materials.
--- Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and heat
--- Heat generated by incineration can be used to generate electric power
--- The gases, flue gases are first treated for eradication of pollutants before going in
to atmosphere
---Incinerators reduce the solid mass of the original waste by 9596%.
Concerns against Incineration----- The highly toxic fly ash, dioxin and furan emissions may cause adverse health
effect for local residents.
--- Incinerators emit varying levels of heavy metals such asvanadium,
manganese, chromium, nickel, arsenic, mercury, lead, and cadmium, which can
be toxic at very minute levels
--- The reusable, recyclable waste destroyed in this process which has adverse
impact on communities which are involved in recycling industries.
NGT orders to minimize concerns
--- No waste could be directly put into the incinerators or for power generation,
except the specifically permitted.
--- Only those wastes that are found unrecyclable after segregation should be put
into the incinerators
--- The tribunal emphasized that it was not putting any absolute restriction on RDF
being used as power generation fuel, but first effort should be made for composting
of wet waste
--- The States are free to use RDF for generating fuel with due care and caution by
framing necessary guidelines
--- The Central Pollution Control Board and the Ministry of Environment and Forests
were directed to prescribe specific guidelines for emissions from incinerators.
Refuse Derived Fuel(RDF)----- Refuse-derived fuel (RDF) or solid recovered fuel/ specified recovered fuel (SRF) is
a fuel produced by shredding and dehydrating solid waste (MSW) with a Waste
converter technology.
--- RDF consists largely of combustible components of municipal waste such as
plastics and biodegradable waste
---RDF is extracted from municipal solid waste using a mix of mechanical and/or
biological treatment methods
--- The production of RDF may involve the following steps:
Bag splitting/Shredding Size screening Magnetic separation Coarse shredding
Refining separation

Applications of RDF
---- Electricity production
--- Used alongside traditional sources of fuel in coal power plants
--- Cement kiln industry
--- Can also be fed into plasma arc gasification modules, pyrolysis plants and
where the RDF is capable of being combusted cleanly or in compliance with the
Kyoto Protocol.

1. First Environmental Democracy Index (EDI)-- India has ranked 24th out of
70 countries in the first Environmental Democracy Index (EDI) that is topped by
Lithuania and evaluates nations progress in enacting laws to promote
transparency, accountability and citizen engagement in environmental decision
----Lithuania, Latvia, Russia, the US, South Africa, the UK, Hungary, Bulgaria, Panama
and Colombia are the top 10 nations in the list launched by Washington-based World
Resources Institute (WRI) and Access Initiative.
---A new Index that measures how well national laws protect environmental
democracy rights has just been released by the World Resources Institute and the
Access Initiative. It places India at the 24th position, in the category of good
performers, out of 70 countries. Lithunia scores the highest.
----EDI measures environmental democracy by looking at Three Citizens rights--access to information, degree of participation and access to justice.
** The Index does not cover countries in most of the: Western Europe; Middle East
and North Africa
***Assessment is also based on National level laws.
2. Asiatic lions in Gir goes up by 523, increases by 27 per cent since
2010---- The number of Asiatic lion in Gujarats Gir sanctuary has gone up to
523, an increase of 27 per cent since 2010, when the last census showed
the count at 411.Releasing the numbers at Sasan Gir, Chief Minister
Anandiben Patel attributed the increase to persistent conservation efforts of the
State Forest Department hand in hand with wildlife enthusiasts and local
population. Out of the 523, 109 are males, 201 females and 213 are cubs.
The number of lions has grown steadily over the years from 180 recorded in the
1974 census, 359 in 2005, 411 in 2010 and 523 this year.
----- Forest officials acknowledge that this conservation success story would not have
come about without support from the Maldharis, a nomadic tribe of cattle-rearers,
and also farmers living in the vicinity of the Gir National Park.
---- Lion territory in Gujarat spans some 22,000 sq km across four districts
Junagadh, Bhavnagar, Amreli and Gir-Somnath. This covers 2,600 villages with an
approximate population of 7,00,000. Lions now frequent more villages than in the
past, with about 167 of them found roaming outside the protected forest area,
creating hardly any conflict situations.
--- The lions have actually helped control the population not only of nilgai, its
principal source of food, but also of wild boars, which frequently destroy standing
--- Thus, they have benefited the local communities. These communities have
reciprocated by protecting the animals from poachers, resisting retaliation when

lions prey on cattle, and even building parapet walls around farm-wells to minimise
the accidental death of lions that may fall into them.
3. 52,000 to save the bustard--- Pramod Patil, a Pune-based ornithologist, has
earmarked the 35,000 prize money he got with the Whitley Award (Green Oscar)
for conserving the bird. While the 35,000 prize money he got with the Whitley
Award for his work to save the critically endangered bird has gone into the
corpus, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds of the U.K. has promised him
17,000 for his conservation efforts in the Thar Desert. The money will be
channelled through BirdLife International, an international non-governmental
organisation involved in conserving birds and their habitats.
4. Neem coated urea---100% Neem coating may help to save Rs. 4500 Cr per
---the government has finally found a way to curb the illegal diversion of highly
subsidized urea by deciding that 100% urea both imported and produced in the country
will have to be Neem coated.
---Sources said that 100% Neem coating will at least save Rs 45,000 crore annually on
two accounts(a) reduced demand of nitrogen based fertilizers by checking illegal
diversion (b)) decline in the use of Neem coated urea wrt the normal one.
---some mechanism will also be worked out since there is a chance of using imported
fertilizer getting diverted for industrial use.
Some guidelines can also be issued using Neem coating in the ports itself.
GOI have already made it mandatory for using Neem coating for 75% of urea.
----India normally used 31 million tonnes of urea among which about 8-9 tonnes are
imported. And on an average the subsidy for each tonne of urea is about Rs 15, 000
----Moreover, shifting the usage of normal urea to Neem coated urea will also lessen the
demand by 10%, which would elad to the savings of another Rs 1500 crore.
Utilities of Neem coated urea: while Neem coated urea is unfit for the industrial use,
while it is useful for the soil, crop and also beneficial to farmers.
The wastage is also less and it works as a bio-pesticide. Even the extent of ground water
pollution is less.
5. Biodiversity for Sustainable development---In the International Day for
Biological Diversity celebrated on the 22nd of May, minister has emphasized on
the need of working together to conserve Biodiversity and ensure the future for
the present generation as well as the coming generations.
---the International Day for Biodiversity is celebrated across the globe to recognize the
pivotal role of biodiversity to life on earth and human well-being, as well as to increase
awareness of the importance of biodiversity and the threats to it.
--- It was on this day in 1992 that the text of the Convention of Biodiversity was
adopted. This years theme is Biodiversity for Sustainable Development
--- During the preceding years, Biodiversity and Poverty Alleviation in 2003, Biodiversity:
Food, Water and Health for All in 2004, Biodiversity: Life Insurance for our Changing
World in 2005, Protect Biodiversity in Drylands in 2006 and Biodiversity and Agriculture
in 2008, have been some of the other themes.
----The International Day for Biological Diversity is being celebrated all over the country
today. The main event is being held in Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir.
6. Tighter norms proposed for polluting coal fired power plants---In a bit to
reduce pollution from coal fired power plants, Environment, Forest and Climate
Change (MoEF&C) published a draft notification on Monday. It proposed to tighten
air quality norms and lower the rate of water use by these plants. The proposed
norms are a critical step to reduce the environmental impact of the coal based
power sector which is one of the most polluting sectors of the Indian industry.

----of the total pollution from the industrial sector, the coal based power sector currently
accounts for approx. 60% of the Particulate matter (PM); 45-50% of SO2 emissions; 30%
of NOx emissions, and more than 80% of mercury emissions.
----however there are currently no standards to curb the emissions of SO2, NOx and
----the ONLY standard that exists is for the PM which is quite relaxed as according to
global norms.
--the proposed standards as released by MoEF&C bridges this gap.
Under the proposed norms, the existing plants would have to improve their pollution
control techniques and all the new plants installed after January 2017 will have to follow
the revised guidelines/according to Global Standards
The reduction in air pollution from the coal based power plants is critical for achieving
significant reduction in overall pollution load from the industrial sector, which will go a
long way in alleviating the health impacts from the coal based power sector which also
has a disproportionate impact on the poor people.
Finally the norms would require he existing coolants tower plants to restrict water
consumption to 3.5 m3/MWh. Plants set up after January 2017 will require to achieve the
number to 2.5 m3/MWh.
Stringent norms---the proposed standards tighten the norms for PM, and also have a lot
of norms set for NO2, SO2 and Hg standards. Compared to the existing standards, India
would have to cut the Particulate emissions from the new plants to be installed after
2017 by 25%, SO2 emissions by 90%; NOx emissions by 70% and Hg emissions by 75%.
Compared to the present industry average the present cut in emissions is more than
7. ACT NOW: Action on Climate Change No Delay---transition to a Low Carbon
Economy: There are serious challenges around commercial, technological,
political or behavioral issues. However, nothing suggests that it cant be done.
And it is easier and cheaper than adapting to a much hotter planet.

8. A new species of Fish has been discovered in the Western Ghats---Ecologists found a new species of fish called Pethia striata in Tunga River in the
Kudremukh National Park, Karnataka
The discovery of the new species was published in the journal of the American
Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists by researchers from Ashoka Trust for
Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)
The male of the species measures 3-4 cm in length and is red in colour, while the
female is grey with a striking pattern of scales.
The species was distinct in several ways, but the most striking characteristics were
the pattern of scales which form oblique bars and the black blotch just before the
The fish from Western Ghats, a biodiversity hotspot, is currently known to be found
only in the two streams of Mudba and Turad, a region populated by wet evergreen
and semi-evergreen forests.
Pethia striata is found in small groups of 3-4 individuals in shallow pools and would
be an addition to the largest family of fish, scientifically called Cyprinidae, which
includes common carp, goldfish, and zebrafish.

Some of the recently discovered new species in the Western Ghats include a little
jumping spider in the Southern Ghats, a new frog species in Central Ghats.
In 2014, 14 new dancing frog species were discovered in the forests of Western

9. Developed Nations should present their Pre 2020 targets before Parisand also in
this regard, the pre 2020 actions would be an important signal for the world
about the commitment of India. Hence India has launched an ambitious mission
targeting 175 GW of renewable energy and it has received a tremendous impact
from investors in the form of Lois worth more than 200GW of energy.
India has increased cess on coal to rs 200 per tonne and the fund generated is being
used for Clean technologies.
India has also recently launched a scheme of Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of
Hybrid and Electric Vehicles with the aim of reducing dependency on fossil fuels
India has also incentivized afforestation ( providing $9 billion or $125 per hectare);
through the 14th Finance Commission and have already presented a Bill on the same
of more than $6 billion for specific projects of afforestation to create more carbon
Enhanced enhanced public and private investment in Railways and have plans for
investing billions of dollars in Railways
India has created architecture for 100 smart cities which will be essentially clean
and green cities.
India has asked 3, 200 severely polluting industries to install 24X7 pollution
monitoring devices for eflluents as well as emissions.
India is preparing ambitious plan of roooftop solar energy program and solar
powered agriculture pumps. We are also planning to use irrigation canal tops and
banks for generating solar energy.
Through a series of reform measures, LPG will be provided to millions of poor families
thereby reducing carbon emissions.
---these actions of India are voluntary and hence should be seen ag against the
backdrop that these actions are from a country which is not mandated under the
UNFCCC, and therefore developed world must take ambitious pre-2020 action.
--- India also demands that the Warsaw international mechanism for loss and damage
should be operationalised by 2016. This mechanism should provide for specific
commitments from developed country parties and Annex II parties to provide support
for the financing and operationalization of this mechanism.
10.Monsoon setbacks in India
---- The recent forecast by India Meteorological Department (IMD) that monsoon will hit
early this year might have come as a relief for many farmers in India. But what could be
more important is if it will stay strong after hitting the Kerala coast around May 30.
---- The advance of southwest monsoon over the Andaman Sea normally takes place
around May 20 with a standard deviation of about one week.

----But what is worrisome is the earlier forecast that has predicted a below normal and
deficient rainfall.
---- If that stands true, this will be a second consecutive year of less rainfall in India. In
2014, India witnessed 12 per cent deficit in monsoon.
--- The monsoon season or the months between June and September are crucial for the
economy, especially the agriculture sector which has been grappling with droughts and
other extreme weather events like unseasonal rains. Between March 1 and March 18
was 49.2 mm197 per cent above normal and major cropped losses were reported from
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. The losses had even triggered farmer
----El Nino predictions: Adding fuel to the fire there had been El Nino predictions from
across the world. In its forecast released on May 14, US National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has declared a 90 per cent chance that the current
El Nio will continue through the end of this year. Besides, Japan's Meteorological
Agency and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology have stated that water in the Pacific
Ocean is now warm enough and El Nio is back. Also, international rating agency
Moodys recently stated monsoon as an additional risk to Indias GDP growth in 2015.
---- Meanwhile, the Government of India has announced that it has put in place a
contingency plan for 580 districts to tackle any situation arising out of below-normal
--- All the factors combined, could give way to inflation and add to distress of farmers
who are gearing up for Kharif season while counting their losses from unseasonal rains
of March.
11.Raining troubles-- Little-understood western disturbances have been blamed for
most of the freak weather events in India in the past decade. With 50 per cent of
its foodgrain production at risk, can India cannot afford to ignore the phenomena.
---Captured on Page 35.
12.IMD forecasts below Normal SW Monsoon for 2015-- In its latest forecast, the
India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted 93 per cent seasonal rainfall
for the southwest monsoon this year. According to Union minister Harsh Vardhan,
the weather agency is also carefully monitoring sea surface temperatures to
assess the impact of El Nino.
Although IMD has forecast a 35 per cent probability of rainfall being below
normal, the press release states an almost equal chance of rainfall being
Last year, the southwest monsoons were deficient by about 12 per cent.
If this years forecast stands, it would be the second year in a row with deficient
This is bad news for farmers who have already suffered huge crop losses due to
unseasonal rains in March this year.
As a part of the Second Stage forecast, the department will now issue in June
This is NOT a good news for the farmers, as they have already suffered till the
last time unseasonal monsoons hit th nation
About 70-80% of the crops had been worst affected in hails and rainfall earlier
this year.
There was no one from the government and the conditions have detoriate after
We should start preparing contingency plans to suit different rainfall probabilities
such as seed banks, rain water harvesting and efficient use procedures.

What is important for farmers is the inter-spell duration in rains and coversion of
generic information into location-specific advice
Agricultural universities, ICAR institutions and agriculture departments must
jointly prepare a deficient monsoon management strategy with farm families.
Special attention must be given to feeding and saving the farm animals as their
sale indicates the first sign of distress.
Also in case of a below Normal forecast, in a particular year, irrigation tanks and
canals must be repaired so that farmers do not suffer due to lack of water
Also power supply should be made extensivenormally farmers get around six to
seven hours of power daily. In case of poor rainfall, power should be made
available for at least 12 to 14 hours so that farmers can work in the fields
--apart from the natural variability--- 60 year cycle -- this year and next year will receive
rainfall more than 90% of long term average, Even from the IMD forecast it is normal -now they divided normal below normal between 90 to 100%. Even according to Skymet,
this year will be normal.
13.Effects of the Indian monsoon on the Indian EconomyThe monsoon is such a season which inspires everyone starting from the farmer to the
economist. The monsoon and the economy of such an agricultural driven Nation is
dovetailed in several ways..
Monsoons can make all the difference between meeting basic economic needs, and a
plunge into poverty and destitution. With the Meteorology dept forecasting a
deficient rainfall this July, the condition appears grim
Traditionally, the agricultural sector drove the Indian economy. The first blow of a
poor monsoon fell on agricultural output bringing down the overall economic growth.
More than two thirds of the nations agricultural land is rain fed. Even as India
receives rainfall from both the SW monsoon winds and NE (winter) monsoons, the
SW monsoon which starts early June and lasts till September accounts for nearly
80% of the total rainfall in the country.
----Key food crops like paddy, millets corn and commercial crops like cotton are
cultivated during this time. A below normal monsoon can hit the crop output and this in
turn can push up the price of food products. Also lower rainfall during the SW monsoon
means less water storage and hence less in reservoirs which can impact the sowing for
rabi crops too. Deficient rainfall also impacts the hydro-power generation in the country.
The second effect was to reduce the demand for non-agricultural products. A poor
harvest brought down the income of the farmers and hence the demand for many
products including white goods, two-wheelers and even gold went down.
The thirdand perhaps the most pervasiveeffect was on agricultural prices. This
led to inflationary tendencies not only through higher food prices, but also through
higher prices for industrial inputs like cotton.
The fourth effect was on employment and poverty. Since the majority of the
population was employed in agricultural or ancillary sectors, and a large number of
them had very limited incomes, the failure of monsoons had significant effect on
Apart from these direct effects on the economy, a shortfall in rains affects both fiscal
and monetary policy adversely.---- Since crop failures tend to push large sections of
the population into poverty and distress, governments have to step in with increased
expenditure on crisis management. To spend more on such policies, they usually cut
back on public investments or other critical expenditures like those on education,
bringing down long run growth rates.
Crop failures affect monetary policy as well. As we have seen in the past few years,
food inflation can very easily ignite the fires of aggregate inflation. This happens

partly due to the importance of food in our consumption baskets and partly due to
what economists call inflationary expectation.
This catch-all term encapsulates the various ways in which the inflationary process
feeds on itself, converting what is essentially a sectoral price rise into an aggregate
inflationary process.
As a result, prospects of crop failure and food inflation lead to very nervous reactions
from monetary authorities with the pushing up of interest rates and squeezing
liquidity out of the money markets.
------ Such tight monetary policies again hamper the long- run growth of the
However, the effects of monsoons on Indian economy can be contradicted as
per the following ways
1. Firstly, compared to the 1970s and 1980s, there has been some improvement in
irrigation facilities, at least in the northern and western parts of India.
2. Secondly, the rabi (winter) cropthat is far less susceptible to the vagaries of the
monsoon now provides more than half of the annual agricultural output.
3. Thirdly, the agricultural sector now plays a much smaller rolecompared to
industry and services in output and growth. All these changes have meant that
poor monsoons have lost the kind of destabilising effect that they had on growth
rates earlier.
Unfortunately, however, annual growth rates are not the only concern that a poor
monsoon raises. The poor monsoon will definitely have an adverse effect on rural
employment. Poverty and distress are likely to rise, not only due to the poor kharif crop,
but also due to the high inflation rates that will ensue. And, any attempt by the
monetary authorities to bring down the inflation by raising interest rates will also affect
the economys long-run growth.
One of the major weaknesses of the Indian growth story is that it is fairly lopsidedlow
and fragile growth in agriculture coexisting with robust growth in industry and services.
14.EL NINO almost certain this year-----according to few recent weather forecasts, the world is heading towards a El Nino
event. There is a correlation between an El Nino and Indian monsoons.
--- the tropical Pacific has continued to warm in the past week and the sea surface
temperatures now exceed El Nio thresholds and trade winds have remained weaker
than average for several weeks
If these patterns persist or strengthen, El Nio will become established
---- The forecast also says that sea-surface temperatures in the central and eastern
Pacific are recording anomalies of more than one degree, a combination that has not
previously been seen in weekly data going back to 1991.
---- There is an approximately 70 per cent chance that El Nio will continue through the
Northern Hemisphere summer 2015, and a greater than 60 per cent chance that it will
last through autumn (according to NOAAnational Oceanic and Atmospheric
--- The scientists are surprised that the build-up of unusual warmth in the eastern Pacific
compared with the west is happening so early in the year which is quite rare this is an
interesting one,
Deleterious effects of the EL Nino

In typical El Nio years, the usual easterly trade winds stall or even reverse in
winter or later, dragging rainfall eastwards away from Australia and also southeast Asia. Droughts tend to deepen and bushfires become common. It generally
has an adverse effect on the Indian monsoon.
El Nino/La Nina-Southern Oscillation or ENSO is an ocean-atmospheric
phenomenon that occurs in a cycle. La Nina, which is one part of the cycle, is
signified by a decrease of three to five degrees Celsius in sea surface
temperature across the Equatorial Pacific Ocean and it is favourable for monsoons
in India. El Nio, which is La Ninas counter-phenomenon, is often accompanied
by drought in India and heavy rainfall in the Pacific coast of Latin America.
Over the years, research has shown there is an association between El Nino and
deficient rainfall in India. With the India Meteorological Department predicting a
35 per cent chance of below normal rainfall, this is certainly a cause of worry.
However, a latest report by the International Monetary Fund has said that El Nino
might not have much effect in India. Such an extreme weather condition can
constrain the supply of rain-driven agricultural commodities; and reduce
agricultural output, construction, and services activities, says the report. It also
adds that the declining share of agricultural output in Indian GDP over time acts
as a mitigating factor.
However, Europe may get colder than ever--- The ill effects of an expected El Nino
are not limited to Asia. "If El Nino is strong in the middle of the Pacific it could mean
colder weather in Europe than during recent winters, because it tends to lead to
more frequent developments of high-pressure systems which allow Arctic air to
extend further south," says researcher Georg Muller in a report published by
Thomson Reuters. The melting of the Arctic ice cap is another reason that could add
to the chill that will be experienced by Europeans this winter .

15.Meaning of EL NINO and Climatic predictions

El Nino the warming of the Pacific Ocean leading to freakish weather all over the
world is once again in our midst after five years, according to Australias met
How the south-west monsoon responds to El Nino is a bit of a mystery. And the impact
of a deficient or erratic monsoon on crop output cannot be accurately predicted. As a
paper put out by the Reserve Bank of India observes, strong El Nino years such as 199798 passed us by, whereas weak El Nino years such as 2002 caused more damage
It appears that a lot depends on which part of the Pacific gets heated up if it is the
central region, we are affected, as in 2002, but less so if it is the eastern part of the
And if we are really lucky, a deficient monsoon year (El Nino or otherwise) may not
cause a serious fall in output: for instance, the south-west monsoon was deficient by 22

per cent in 2009-10, but crop output declined only marginally. However, crop output
declined significantly in 2000-01, despite a minor monsoon shortfall.
Diversification to allied activities such as livestock rearing and fishing will help deal with
the caprices of nature
Unseasonal rain in February-March this year along with a deficient monsoon in 2014 are
set to lower foodgrain output for 2014-15 by 14 million tonnes.
The Centre should be prepared for weather extremes by being ready with short duration
seeds, apart from contingency measures. However, with foodgrain stocks at above 50
million tonnes, inflationary expectations can be checked.
Add to this the possible impact of uneven rainfall this year on both protein and milk
output, and prices could come under pressure. An increase of just three million tonnes
in pulses output over the last decade points to endemic policy neglect. The farm
schemes unveiled by this government deal essentially with irrigation; there is virtually
no mention of pulses. A second pulses mission is called for.
Agriculture accounts for 14 per cent of the GDP but supports half the population. Its role
as a growth driver should not be overlooked. El Nino will then hold fewer fears.

16.Countries Carbon pledges not enough to keep temperature rise under 2*C--17.Emissions from Peat lands under DRY conditions may be less than
previously thought-- A new study shows that carbon emission from peatlands
can be slowed down, reducing the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the
Drying of peatlands, sometimes due to burning and droughts, speeds up global
warming. This happens when carbon stored in peatlands gets oxidised and turns into
CO2, a super greenhouse gas.
---Environmentalists fear that the intensification of droughts can cause the stored
carbon in peatlands to undergo oxidation and subsequently release CO2 and possibly
methane into the atmosphere.
Ways to reduce the Carbon Emissionsthis can be done in two ways (i) to plant
trees and shrubs that slow down the drying process. And (ii) to introduce naturallyoccurring plant-based decay-retarding compounds into peatlands.
Global Carbon reserves----- Globally, an estimated 400 million hectares of land are classified as peatlands which
amounts to just three per cent of the Earths total land surface.
--- Peatlands have been formed over thousands of years and hold about 30 per cent of
soil carbon.
--- They have been classified under four categoriestropical, sub-tropical, temperate
and boreal according to their geographical location.
Peatlands are mainly found in the northern hemisphere in North America (43.54
per cent), Europe (24.02 per cent) and Asia (28.08 per cent).
Asia has the largest peat reserve. The global peat reserve amounts to about 250
gigatonnes in dry weight.

Natural Adaptive technique

--Till now the scientists feared that the carbon emissions from peatlands can trigger
global warming. But the study shows that peatland soils have a natural adaptive
technique which can lessen the drying up process and curb oxidation.
--- Carbon has been locked up in peatland soil for over thousands of years. Too much
emission of carbon can have a tremendous impact on global temperature worldwide
with peatlands turning into carbon sources rather than carbon sinks.
Scientists allay emission fears
--this has been found during an experimentation of the bog peatlands in the North
Carolina to describe a mechanism that can slow down peatland decay
--- the soil contained complex plant-derived compounds that helped the land to
gradually adapt to droughts: these complex plant compounds in the soil regulate the
accumulation of phenolics (a type of aromatic carbon compound) and protect the stored
carbon by mitigating oxidation during short-term droughts.
---Scientists also found out that the vegetation cover on peatlands is responsible for the
rate of oxidation. Vegetation with low phenolic content such as sphagnum moss, ferns
and sedges are not that good in mitigating carbon emissions than certain types of
shrubs and trees, which are better in retarding soil decomposition.
--- The amount of phenolics is driven directly by the type of vegetation on peatlands.
Many species are low in phenolic compounds (sphagnum moss, grasses, ferns) while
many ericaceous shrubs and tree species in the Everglades have high phenolics which
slow down decomposition
---when the sites of vegetation have been denudated especially native shrubs and trees,
and left drained then the sites are invaded by ferns and grasses which have low
phenolic compounds and produce new peat which is not very resistant to decay.
-- Human activity is also to be blamed for drying out of peatlands. In Indonesia large
swathes of swamplands have been burnt to make way for palm plantationsthis poses
a threat as it can liberate stored carbon into the atmosphere by means of oxidation; It
is quite possible that tropical peatlands with high phenolics can resist further losses
after fire, but a deep peat fire results in massive losses of carbon.
18.A look at some of the worlds most THREATENED forests Unplanned and
unrestrained activities for agriculture, industry and urbanisation are ruining our
most important ally in naturethe forest
--- Forests are the Earths lungs. They help maintain the water cycle and prevent soil
erosion. Forests sustain biodiversity. Apart from the fact they directly employ around 13
million people according to Food and Agriculture Organizations (FAO) State of the
Worlds Forests report, 2014. Informally, they provide livelihood to 41 million people
---- But unplanned and excessive human activities are making forests disappear.
According to WWF, we have lost about half of the worlds original forest cover in the last
50 years
--- In addition to their role in the lives of communities, forests are needed to store global
emissions as carbon sinks, making their protection imperative. A recent study
says forests could also help eliminate global hunger.
A look at some of the worlds most important forests and the factors that threaten them:

AMAZON rainforests, South America: Amazon, the worlds largest forest, is

spread over Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Ecuador, among other countries. It is the site
of the biggest projected loss.
---- Reports say that more than one-quarter of the region will lose its forests in the
next two decades. Cattle ranching and agriculture are among the dominant causes
of deforestation of the Amazon.
--- The Amazon rainforest is also threatened by oil spills in countries like Peru. A
study shows that climate variability is causing the forest to lose its ability as a
carbon sink.
Atlantic forests, South America The Atlantic forestcovering parts of
Paraguay, Brazil and Argentinais one of the richest rain forests in the world,
boasting of even richer biodiversity per acre than the Amazon.
---- However, the region houses 75 per cent of the Brazilian population which places
a lot of pressure on the forests. Deforestation is mainly due to conversion of forest
lands into croplands for pasture
--- But the Atlantic forest continues to fight for survival against urbanisation, with
large cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil expanding inward.
HEART OF BORNEO, Borneo island-- Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia share the
Heart of Borneo. It is home to 6 per cent of global diversity
--- over half of these forests have been lost, especially in the last three decades.
Only 33 per cent of the lowland rainforest remain.
--- Deforestation and degradation are driven by weak governance and a lack of
--- Deforestation will also make the forest vulnerable to extreme weather events.
With fewer trees to control soil erosion, 14 of the islands 20 rivers that begin from
the Borneo forest have the potential to affect several villages downstream.
---- Mining now threatens to further destroy this forest which is rich in coal, copper,
gold, silver and diamonds.
CERRADO, South America Cerrado, the high-plateau region of Brazil, is the most
biologically rich grassland,
---- Forty-five per cent of all plant species found here are unique to the region. It is
also home to 935 species of birds and almost 300 mammals.
--- But only two per cent of the Cerrado is protected by national parks and
conservation areas.
--- The grassland is under threat from cattle ranching and the conversion of forests to
make way for soy plantations.Soy production has also degraded land and soil quality.
--- If the current rate of loss continues, Cerrados savannah, woodland and forests
will disappear by 2030.
CONGO Basin, Africa---- Congo Basin represents 20 per cent of the worlds tropical
forests and has the highest biological diversity in Africa.
----teemed with a variety of rivers, grasslands, swamps and flooded forests. This
trans-boundary forest stretches into Cameroon, Central African Republic and
Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries
---- Many areas of the Congo Basin are provided on concession to logging and mining
companies, leading to widespread deforestation,
---- Palm oil plantations and commercial agriculture operations are also putting
forests at risk.

---- Political instability and armed conflict in the region have led to refugees
depending on forests for fuelwood and charcoal, severely impacting this forest.
Illegal wildlife trade and poaching have also increased to a great extent.
COASTAL Forests, East Africa-- spread over southern Sudan, Kenya and Tanzania.
Apart from tropical dry forests, they also contain wetlands. The ecoregion is densely
populated has put additional pressure on resources. Much of eastern Africas forests
are overharvested for timber and fuelwood, illegally logged and converted for
livestock and cash crops.
----The coastal forests of Tanzania and Kenya have already been reduced to 10 per
cent of their original area.
SUMATRA, Indonesia-- Sumatra forest is special because some of the rarest
animals and plants are found here. It is also the only place in the wild where tigers,
rhinos, orangutans and elephants co-exist.
--- But Sumatra, especially Riau province, has become the centre of Indonesias palm
oil productionthe industry driving deforestation, even in protected forests and
national parks.
19.Vast expanses of forests could be lost in TWO decades according to
WWF--- A new report says that vast expanses of forests could be lost in the next 20 years in 11
global hotspots
---- Up to 170 million hectares of forest cover could be lost between 2010 and 2030 in
these areas if current trends continue. This is equivalent to the disappearance of an
entire forest stretching across Germany, France, Spain and Portugal.
The vulnerable areas--The vulnerable areas are the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco (largest dry
forest in South America), the Cerrado in South America, the Choco-Darien in Central
America, the Congo Basin, East Africa, eastern Australia, the Greater Mekong in South
East Asia, Borneo, New Guinea and Sumatra.
-----These regions are home to indigenous communities that depend on them for their
livelihoods and endangered species, such as orangutans and tigers, the WWF research
Agricultural Impact: taking a toll on the forests
---Globally, forest stretches are giving way to expanding agriculture practices, including
livestock farming, palm oil plantations and soy production
---- Unsustainable logging and wood fuel collection are also causing forest degradation,
besides mining, construction of hydroelectric dams and other development projects
---More than 230 million hectares of forests could vanish by 2050 if no action is taken.
EUS contribution to global deforestation
---- Humanity uses the Earths resources unsustainably, which affect the natural
ecosystems. Globally, we use the resources of 1.5 planets. However, the ecological
footprint of the EU is even higher as on an average, it needs 2.6 planets to maintain the
current lifestyle.
---- A European Commission-funded research shows that EUs consumption led to the
loss of 9 million hectares of forests globally during 1990-2008an area the size of

20.Indias forest cover has increased but outside demarcated forests

--- Indias green cover is increasing, but this increase is taking place mostly outside the
traditional boundaries of the forests, (As per the State of Forests Report (SFR) 2013,
released by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change )
--- the total forest cover in the country has increased by 5,871 square kilometre (sq km)
between 2011 and 2013.
--- The highest increase has been registered in West Bengal (3,810 sq km) and Odisha
(1,444 sq km), followed by Bihar, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu. Most of the north-eastern
states and the states like Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Karnataka
have shown considerable decrease in forest cover.
----The Forest Survey of India (FSI) conducts a biennial survey of the country's forests
and compiles SFR every two years. This is the 13th edition of SFR.
---- As per the report, India now has 697,898 sq km of forest cover, which is over 21 per
cent of the geographical area of the country.
---- However, of the total increased area, just over 2 per cent falls under the traditional
boundaries of forests, these are marked as Green Wash areas in the topo sheets of
Survey of India.
New Quality Parameters
FSI, for the first time, has also collected the information on various parameters of
quality of forests such as intensity of regeneration, damage to crops, presence of weeds
and grass, humus, incidents of fire and grazing. It has also come up with the data on
contiguity of the forest patches. This, in future, would help the government to monitor
the changes in the quality of forests along with their area and density.
21.Climate change impact on the ancient Tibetan Civilization-- The Tibetan
plateau, often called the roof of the world, is one of the most hostile climatic
regions in the world.
----- covering some 250,000 sq km and at a mean elevation of over 4,000 metre Human
settlement in this area far predates the Buddhist culture that it is now associated with.
Today, barley is the most prevalent crop in the plateau. However, the earliest crops of
the region were millets.
---A recent study shows that Global Cooling which began which began around the late
3rd millennium BC, created a situation in which cultivation of millet became impossible
for the people living in the eastern fringes of the Tibetan Plateau. This may have led to
the abrupt collapse of this ancient civilisation around 2000 BC.
apart from millet agriculture, the early inhabitants of this area reared pigs. They lived in
small but permanent villages and used a characteristic form of pottery which is known
in China as the Majiayao type.
--Archeobotanical evidence also suggest predominance of wheat and barley in and
around the regions from around 1700 BC. An abundance of ancient wheat and barley
seeds found at the sites suggested the crops rapidly replaced millet as the staple food
source of the region during the second millennium BC,
--- The study says the ability of these crops to tolerate frost and their lower heat
requirements helped them survive in the cooler temperatures that prevailed in this
period. These crops became an important part of subsistence living and may have later
spread to other parts of East Asia to become the staple crops of the region.

--- Wheat and barley not just helped people adapt to these cooler conditions but
probably also helped them spread to a wider area and to higher elevations.
Collapse or Adaptation
---- We are not sure what happened to the people that occupied this region between
2000-1700 BC and this is something further research in the area needs to resolve. All
we know now is that continuing with farm millet would have been challenging for them
--- collapse of the civilisation seems a distinct possibility because the material culture
and settlement patterns of those who practised wheat and barley cultivation was very
different from those who practised millet agriculture, which has led many archaeologists
to believe that the people who grew wheat and barley may have migrated from
---It may also follow that people migrated to areas of lower altitude, or that they simply
changed their strategies to include wheat, barley and pastoralism.
--- However, the fact that people adapted to this cold, low-oxygen climate, undertook
agriculture and made permanent settlements in the area is itself a testament to human
fortitude and skill in the face of adversities.
FULL Circle
--- But now the Tibetan plateau is once again experiencing change in climate. There are
some areas in the south-eastern plateau where temperatures are 6C higher than they
were 200 years ago.
--- This increase in temperature is now making it difficult for the inhabitants of Tibet to
grow cold weather crops and raise and breed yaks
---- So now we have a complete reversal, and climate warming is having a big impact on
the livelihood of smaller farmers on the Tibetan Plateau,
TIBETAN Landscape may soon disappear--According to research carried on the landscape, there is an abrupt detoriation of the
plateau, and many scientists hold China responsible for the same. The building of dams
in Tibet and is collaborating with multinationals to extract shale oil and minerals to
provide electricity and fuel to its urban centres and industries
--- when during the 1980s there had been no much activities, landscape being pristine
with no mines, no dams, this landscape at a high altitude, with snow-capped mountains,
grasslands and beautiful lakes, would be there for future generations to see.
---- But the scenario is rapidly changing, especially after the train to Lhasa was started
in 2006. I th
When Chinese removed mountain tops to extract/mine minerals, or whole lakes
changed, also changes the ecosystem within a matter of years.
Significance of Tibet for the whole of Asia
If you look at the map of the Tibetan plateau, the highest plateau on Earth, there are 10
major rivers emerging from it. That puts Tibet in an unusual position.
It is a provider of water to all of South Asia, East Asia, to about 10 different countries in
the downstream
Over 2 billion people depend on that water

If somebody wants to divert that water, which is what China wants to do, it becomes a
serious issue for the people living downstream.
Journalists do not have access to central parts of Tibet where most of the mining activity
is taking place. They may get access to eastern Tibet---however, going as a tourist may
provide access to those mining areas.
And also we dont have a clear picture of what is happening in the country as lack of
information in the public domain is also because there is no link between Tibetans living
in Tibet and those staying outsidetheir communication lines are blocked. Also no
social networking sites make Tibet does not get news from the outside world, and news
from Tibet does not go out either.
Chinese authorities do not reveal much of their plans. They will release information only
after the plan is executed. But it is clear that they plan to construct mega dams on
Tibets rivers and link the hydroelectricity generated to national grids.
The developers have saturated the rivers in southeastern China with dams and are now
looking towards western China. They are moving to higher grounds. They are adding
cascades to the dams to ensure turbines run smoothly. They have built cascades in the
lower Mekong and are now moving to its higher reaches in Chambo, which is in Tibet.

Chinese are basically exporting power from Tibet, as with only 6 million population,
Tibet does not have a vast demand for electricity. Also, a 500 MW dam is not needed at
The electricity generated from these dams will be transmitted to the well-populated
regions of China Beijing and Shanghai, where there is demand for power, and to
factories in Chengdu and Chongqing in southwest China where most of the industries
are planned
The other thing that is planned is water diversion from eastern Tibet to northeast and
northwest China, where there is a huge demand. Northwest China has the Taklamakan
desert where there are plans for mining, and you need large amounts of water for that.
There is already mining going on for shale gas, tar sands, shale oil and oil sands, to
name a few.
Also int eh NE China, they need hige amounts of water for the peopleand hence
planning for diversions in rivers, Nobody seems to know how exactly these plans would
be executed, but it will probably involve a huge amount of tunneling and a large number
of dams.
The region is a major source of lithium, copper, gold and silver, which are desperately
sought by China. Lithium is used in batteries for electric vehicles, among other things. In
future, there will be a huge demand for lithium in China. It could come from Chile and
Bolivia, too, but getting the mineral from Tibet will be a lot cheaper.

Impacts on Climate of Tibet

China claims that environmental degradation that is happening in Tibet and elsewhere
is because of climate change. But the fact is that China is driving the climate change
---- It has surpassed the United States. In 2013, 27 per cent of CO2 came from China.
(US was at 15 per cent and India, 6 per cent). This is contributing to the glacial melting
in the Himalayas. The rate of melting in Tibet is twice as fast as global melting of
--- The other factor that is contributing to the glacial melt is the emission of black soot
due to inefficient burning of fossil fuels. Black soot is essentially composed of tiny black
specks. They accumulate on glaciers, turning them grey. This attracts more heat from
the sun. The more the black soot accumulates on glaciers, the more rapid is the
melting. This has been underestimated by some scientists but it possibly contributes to
50 per cent of the melting. We still do not know as we do not have exact data
Tibetans Breathe easily in higher altitudes with genes from extinct human species
Unusual gene variant prevents blood from clogging
The high altitude and rarefied air in Tibet makes it an inhospitable terrain for
most people. People exposed to such low levels of oxygen would normally
develop hypoxia as the body attempts to adjust by pumping out more red blood
cells, which turns blood into thick sludge, which can be fatal.
But the Tibetan people have been living in the region for generations. It has been
observed that Tibetans experience limited increase in haemoglobin concentration
that prevents their blood viscosity from reaching dangerous levels. Their rate of
breathing is higher and their lung capacity is greater than that of normal people
from birth
Difference in their genetic make up was revealed in a study that an unusual
variant of the gene, EPAS1, involved in regulating the body's production of
haemoglobin, allows Tibetans to adapt to high altitude conditions.
Tibetans may have inherited the gene from the extinct human species, the
The Denisovans were cousins of humans from the paleolithic age, who inhabited
Siberia and Southeast Asia. The discovery of this species was made as recently
as 2008 when a fragment of bone belonging to a little Denisovan girl was
discovered in a cave in Siberia.
Normally, in humans, the common variant of the EPAS1 gene promotes red blood
cell production to dangerously high levels at high altitude.
The variant present in the Tibetan population, however, only promotes production
only marginally, thereby preventing the side-effects that are experienced by
The effects include nausea, insomnia, hypertension and an increased probability
of heart attack due to the thickening of the blood.
The prevalence of the gene variation--- It was attributed to natural selection and
adaptation to the unusually low oxygen levels.
Introgression probably occurred when modern humans inter-bred with the
Denisovan population on their way to China from Africa, and have still retained a
fraction of the Denisovan gene.
22.Joint Statement Climate Change India and ChinaNA

Science and Technology

~~Vision IAS APRIl
1. National Air Quality Index---the GOI has launched the National Air Quality index
that will put out the real time data about the Level of pollutants in the air and
inform people about the possible impacts on their health. Initially to be launched
for 10 cities. The aim was to eventually deploy the index in all the cities and with
a population of over one million.
----last year in the Environment preference Index, ranked India 174 out of 178 countries
for air quality.
----A WHO survey last year found that 13 out of the most polluted 20 cities in the world
were in India.

The AQI is a global standard.
The central agencies have also taken into account eight pollutants: PM 2.5; PM
10; Nitrogen dioxides; sulfur di oxide; ozone, carbon monoxide; ammonia and
It will also have One number one color and one description to inform the public
about the air quality index and in an easily understandable format
The index, using continuous 24-hour average data, will be made available from
vrious monitoring stations in those cities.
Government has taken a good initiative to monitor the air pollution in real time
It will help to take preventive measures citizens while going outhowever this
step is not enough, we still have to take measures to bring down the peak
pollution levels.
AQI also needs to be matched with actionable plans on how to bring the pollution
levels down.
Like in many developed countries AQI data leads to certain actions to bring down
the pollution
Like in Paris, when the AQI rose to more than permissible limits, the city made
public transport free and removed almost 50% of the vehicles off the road.
2. Chestnut Breasted partridge

---this is one of its kind endemic to the eastern Himalayas north of the Brahmaputra
river, and is known as :
----this is also known from Bhutan, West bengal(Darjeeling Himalayas, which is also an
extention of the Pamir Knot); Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh; NE India; Nepal Himalaya;
and SE Tibet
The Bird has been classified Vulnerable by IUCN
----IUCN estimates about 2500 of this kind of bird live in Arunachal Pradesh, Bhutan
and the Lower Himalayas.
Why in News: this is because ---The partridge was seen and viewed before
but never photographed. This was the first time that this had been
3. 25 years of Hubble Space telescope
---The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint venture of the NASA and the European Space
Agency(ESA) was launched into its orbit on the 24 th of April, 1990 in its orbit 552 kms
above the Earth by the space shuttle Discovery
---the Hubble Telescope has the capacity to see in multiple wavelengthsnear infrared;
visible light; and near ultraviolet
---Determination of the Hubble Constantthe Universes initial rate of expansion was
one of the most important discovery/key projects of the HT projects
--Key projects of the Hubble Space telescope
The initial rate of expansion of the Universe
This was also named after Edwin Hubble, the discoverer of the expansion of the
Hubble also proved the existence of the Super massive black holes and also
found they are located at the centres of most of the Universes
It also helped in pinpointing the age of the Universe at 13.8 billion years

4. Three New Tiger reserves

The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has given its nod regarding the
creation of reserves in the following places
Ratapani in Madhya Pradesh
Sunabeda in Orissa
Guru Ghasidas in Chattisgarh
The Odisha government claimed the number of tigers in the state is 60; while the
NTCA put the figures to not more than 28. The state has thre Tiger reserves--Simlipal; Satakosia and Sunabeda

5. INDIAs status in IUCN List-- India has added 15 more species to the list

Till 2014 end, India has 988 threatened species on the list, ---which lists critically
endangered; endangered and vulnerable species
India has climbed down to a spot of 7th position
With 659 species in 2008, the increase over seven years is more than 50%
Reasonbetter research identifying more threatened species and
India has the fourth largest number of mammals in the world with 31 of them
endemic to the region

6. Oldenlandia Dineshi
---- A team of scientists from four research institutions in Kerala have reported the
discovery of a rare species of plant from the Palakkad gap region of the Western Ghats.
---- It as a new species. Named Oldenlandia dineshi, the plant is a shrub with long
linear tapering leaves and dark blue flowers. The flowering period is from July to
September and fruiting from September to October.
---- The genus Oldenlandia comprises about 248 species of which 27 have been
reported from India, mainly distributed in the southern parts of the Western
Ghats and North and North-East India
---- Several species of the Oldenlandia family are widely used in Ayurveda for
preparation of formulations such as Chyawanaprasam.
---- Based on IUCN criteria, the researchers have classified Oldenlandia dineshii as an
endangered species
7. Telengana Crab Spider
---- Telangana now has a spider named after it Telangana crab spider (Thomisus
----The spiders, named Thomisus telanganensis, also resemble crabs and are called
"crab spiders".
---- The spiders of the Thomisidae family structurally resemble crabs and are hence
called crab spiders. The Telangana variety has a tendency to walk sideways like crabs.
They are also known as flower spiders as they lie in wait for prey on flowering plants.

---- Unlike traditional spiders, Telangana crab spiders do not weave webs. They
attack prey all of a sudden and immobilise them with venom
---- They are important to the ecosystem as they act as bio-controlling agents to
keep the insect population under control. They are usually found in plants, shrubs,
grasses, flowering plants, leaf litter and sometimes under stones.
8. Silent Valley
---- Lion-tailed macaques are reported to be found only in the Silent Valley area. But
forest officers have records of their presence in the Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary in
---- Silent Valley National Park is located in the Nilgiri Hills, Palakkad District in
Kerala, South India. The area in this national park was historically explored in 1847 by
the botanist Robert Wight, and is associated with Hindu legend. The Silent Valley is the
largest national park in Kerala.
9. Red Sanders
----Pterocarpussantalinus, with the common names Red Sanders, is a species of
Pterocarpus endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats mountain range of South
---- Red Sanders has a highly restrictive distribution in the South Eastern portion of
Indian peninsula to which it is endemic. The Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges
of Cuddapah-Chittoor districts of the State of Andhra Pradesh are its principal
geographical range.
---- Red sanders has been classified as endangered in the IUCN (International Union
for Conservation of Nature) Red List and included in Appendix-II of Convention on
International trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
---- Used mainly to make aphrodisiac drugs and musical instruments and furniture.
---- Red-sanders or red sandal wood has lot of demand in International market including
China, Japan and Gulf countries and there is large scale smuggling of this precious wood
from AP.
Indias Earth hour Capital
--- An 11-member international jury has declared Thane the National Earth Hour Capital
with the city emerging the winner from India in the Earth Hour City Challenge this year.
Seoul declared the Global Earth Hour Capital, 2015.
---- Last year, Coimbatore was selected as the National Earth Hour Capital.
---- The year-long competition among cities is aimed at promoting renewable energy
and preparing for climate change.
Notable changes taken by the Thane City administration about this matter
----The mandatory use of solar water-heating systems for municipal buildings.
Wind-solar hybrid systems and use of solar energy for lighting and air-conditioning.
The city plans solar rooftop net metering-based power generation and regular energy
An energy service company (ESCO) project for energy-efficient street lighting.
Commissioning of a bio-methanation plant to treat municipal solid waste and generate
Three cyclic switching units for optimal use of streetlights.

Genetic profiling of Indian Mackerel

--- The Indian Mackerel Rastrelliger kanagurta is an important food fish

commonly consumed in South and Southeast Asian countries.
----The fish is commonly found in warm shallow waters along the coasts of the Indian
and West Pacific oceans, and their surrounding seas.
---- The Indian Mackerel shares the same genetic profile except those caught from
Andaman waters.
---- The fishes collected from Andaman waters were found to be genetically distinctive
from those caught from the Indian mainland. However, there was little genetic
differentiation between the fish caught from across India. ----- The genetic profiling was
carried out by researchers of the Central Marine Fish Research Institute (CMFRI),
Kochi and the National Bureau of Fish Genetic Research (NBFGR), Kochi
regional centre.
---- The genetic profiling of the species is essential to assess the stock, evolve fisheries
management methods including the preservation of genetic diversity and sustainability
of the regional fisheries.
New Species of Gecko
----A new species of the day gecko, a type of lizard usually found in warm
climates, has been spotted at the ruins of the World Heritage Site of Hampi in
----The gecko has been named Cnemaspisadii after a young herpetology researcher
from Hyderabad --Aditya Srinivasulu.
---- The zoologists say Hampi and surrounding areas are potentially rich in biodiversity
and not much research has been done to identify new species of smaller vertebrate and
---- The discovery is significant because other species of day geckos have been, so far,
reported only from the Western Ghats and southern Eastern Ghats in peninsular
----This is the first time that day geckos have been found in the central regions of
peninsular India between Eastern and Western Ghats.
13.Sea Cucumbers
Sea cucumbers are marine animals of the class Holothuroidea. They are used in fresh
or dried form in various cuisines.
----In some cultural contexts the sea cucumber is thought to have medicinal value.
---- Sea cucumbers, endangered species protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife
Protection Act, 1972.
---- Sea cucumbers played a vital role in the marine ecological system, as they eat
nutrients from the sea bed and bring it to the surface, thus helpingin availability of the
nutrients to other organisms.
---- Nearly 200 species of sea cucumbers are found in the coral reef colonies in India, of
which 20 species were found in the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay regions in the State.
---- Out of the 20, two were over-exploited and were exported in large number to
Singapore from where they were distributed to Taiwan, China and Japan, where they
are considered delicacies. Normally, the sea cucumbers are found in inter-tidal regions
of the coast, along the sea grass and coral reef colonies.
Emissions from Biomass Burning Cross the Himalayas
----Contrary to the general assumption that the southern slopes of the Himalayas act as
a barrier and effectively block the transportation of pollutants from India and other parts
of South Asia, a study finds sound evidence to prove otherwise.
---- Aerosols have been found to rise and cross the entire range of the Himalayas.

---- Local meteorological conditions and regional atmospheric flow process

have been the two major factors enabling the pollutants to cross over
The main reason responsible------The organic acids present in the aerosols serve as a unique fingerprint in identifying
the source of pollution. In this case, the dicarboxylic acids served as a fingerprint.
---- Though dicarboxylic acids can be produced by biomass burning, vehicular
exhausts and cooking (primary source), as well as atmospheric photooxidation
(secondary source), the researchers were able to pinpoint the source as biomass
---- Levoglucosan is a specific marker of biomass burning it is produced through
the pyrolysis of cellulose during the combustion process,. Another unique marker of
biomass burning is the water-soluble potassium. Both the markers showed strong
positive correlation with dicarboxylic acids thereby confirming biomass burning as the
source of pollution.
---- Though the pollutants were found to reach the northern slopes of the Himalayas
during all the season pre-monsoon, monsoon, post-monsoon and winter
seasons the amount of aerosol found peaked during pre-monsoon. This, according to
them, is one more indicator of biomass burning as the source.
---- Agricultural burning and forest fires along the southern Himalayan foothills
and the Indo-Gangetic Plain reach a high during the pre-monsoon period. That probably
is the reason why the amount of biomass burning marker found peaked during the premonsoon time.
Regardless of where the pollutants come from, the study has provided compelling
evidence that they are due to biomass burning. We must step up the global effort to
drastically cut down biomass burning as much as we can.