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Wildfire killed wild animal in Himalayan terrain

Wildfire is threat to biodiversity

Amit pandey, Dehradun


Wildfires described as “the worst in a decade” have engulfed Himalayan mountain states in a thick haze and killed countless people and fauna  by the gas emitted from the fire.

Aside from hazards to human health, these fires pose major threats to forest and biodiversity conservation. Wildfires endanger people, homes, farms, animals and release carbon dioxide – the world’s most ubiquitous greenhouse gas and a primary driver of climate change. According to one estimate, the 2021 wildfires in Uttarakhand alone have led to the release of 0.2 megatons of CO2 – the highest since 2016.

November to May is wildfire season in the Himalayas, with a peak in March-April. However, administrators and experts described the current wildfires as the worst in a decade or more. Since December 2020, over 1,000 wildfires have been recorded in Uttarakhand – a state that has over 45% forest cover in contrast to India’s overall forest cover of 21.67%. In Nepal, nearly 200,000 hectares of forest area are lost to wildfires each year.

Tourism and wildlife at the Jim Corbett National park and Rajaji tiger reserve regions were affected by it . The various other locations in this Himalayan state of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh are tourist attractions affected by the forest fire .

Almost all forests in South Asia are surrounded by human settlements, with locals dependent on them for essentials such as fodder, fuelwood and housing material.India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said most of the fires are caused by humans, sometimes deliberately. But experts said that dry forest floors caused by scant rainfall or snowfall in the past two winters have helped the fires to spread in the central and eastern Himalayas.

A study team of scientists  from Govind Ballabh Pant Institute Of Himalyan Environment and Development conducted a survey the area and study the effects were of fires on the glaciers and found that clearing of the forest floors of the fallen pine leaves, which are readily combustible, should be undertaken by the forest department as well as locals on grassroots level to prevent such major fire outbreaks. Production of briquettes from these pine needless should be promoted, serving as a source of fuel as well as a solution to prevent wildlife.

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