Impacts on the marginal groups of Himalayas
JK EXPERIENCE BY TUFAIL JARUL
This article provides an overview of the major impact of climate change on the high mountainous rural poor, marginalized and socially excluded people. For developing countries like India and especially in the region like Himalayas, climate change is not just an environmental phenomenon but also an economic, social and political issue for the peoples. Himalaya is one of the most vulnerable areas on earth with regard to climate change. Here, poor, marginalized and socially excluded people use to live in very sloppy, marginal and around the edge of the stream or river. They completely depend on traditional farming on very marginal and infertile land, rearing unproductive livestock and forest resources collection and selling. In addition, Himalayan poor and marginalized people have no sources of income than the traditional cultivation and resource collection and use from the forest. In this scenario, they are compelled to survive with under nutrition and malnutrition. On the other hand, planet is warming at a faster rate. The temperature is increasing by 0.98 Celsius in average. As a sequel, there has been changed the local and regional temperature, the plant and earth surface accelerated the respiration and evaporation, increased droughts and flooding, changed rainfall pattern and increased uncertainty in rainfall and hailstorms. Furthermore, water source are in a great threat.
Here is one of the example which is experienced by the Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir which is effected from the climatic change with respect to its seasonal movement cycle which is disturbed from the last few years.
The Cycle of Seasonal Movement during the Normal Period is somewhat different from of these years. The pastoral economy of the Bakarwals mainly depends on the utilization of the extensive pastures. The availability of the pastures is markedly seasonal in character while snow covers the mountains in the north; pastures are available through out the winter in the south. But late April the winter pastures are exhausted, while the melting of the snow in the north give way to green and lush pastures. Thus both the winter and summer zones are characterized by the availability of pastures in a defined part of the year. This leads to oscillation between summer and winter zones while the coming of summer is signaled by the drying up of the pastures in the south, they take the animals during this time to higher or cooler altitudes in the north.
Bakarwals cross through nine major mountain passes of Pir Panjal to reach their summer areas. The main mountain passes are Nandan gali and Pir ki Gali in the Rajouri and Poonch districts which holds more than seventy percent of the seasonal movement of the Bakarwals. Mainly they cross these passes by the end of April. But the story is different during the last few years according to some respondents. For most of the Bakarwals climatic change is a reality. During these years the unusual warm march has forced the Bakarwals to cross these passes one month before the schedule time. Due to sudden change in temperature it leads to impact on the newborn livestock in their winter pastures which is a major source of the economy for the community because march is the time when sheep and goat, give birth. So a new and urgent problem of water and fodder shortage has forced the Bakarwals to move early towards summer pastures according to survey. To migrate too early Bakarwals are forced in the pastures which do not offer good grazing due to immediate melting of snow. Due to early arrival in their summer pastures, temperature is too much low it effected their livestock population. So a new problem arises for them due to comparatively higher temperature of march and no rainfall, forced them for the early movement which effected their production.
The major findings of the study show that the peoples in the Himalayan region are suffering in various ways. A number of water source nearby the village has been decreasing as a result they have to spend more time to take drinking water for daily life, the agriculture production decreased during the last few years due to lack of rainfall in season, large section of the people depend on forest resources specially non-timber forest products in high mountain area but its stock is decreasing day by day. The number of environmental refugee in the mountainous areas are increasing due to increasing the rate of flood, landslide as a result the trend of becoming environmental refugee is increasing from the last decades.
The study also provides a route to go forward with minimizing the effect of climate change on poor, marginalized and socially excluded people.
(Tufail Jarul is a Research Scholar, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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