Monday, June 2, 2014

Climate change prompts land-use shift in Kashmir

Arif Shafi Wani in Greatr Kashmir: Rapid melting of glaciers due to climate change is taking heavy toll on water resources, agriculture and other economic sectors in Kashmir. Experts said the climate change has prompted farmers to go for conversion from Agriculture to Horticulture as it requires minimal water use. However, they maintained in the long run, this will ultimately lead to considerable decrease in production of rice.

“Studies conducted in Himalayas indicate that glaciers are receding fast due to climate change. Many of the smaller glaciers around J&K have completely vanished during the past 50 years,” said Prof Shakil A Romshoo, Head, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Kashmir.

Romshoo who has been monitoring the Himalayan glaciers said the indicators of Climate Change are “loud and clear” in Kashmir. He said decrease in the glacier extent and mass due to climate change, presents a serious problem to a number of economic sectors in J&K that depend on the snow and glacier-melt runoff.

Long term viability of any existing and pipeline developmental schemes in the fields of irrigation, agriculture, horticulture, hydropower, tourism and drinking water supplies in the state is intimately dependent on snow and glaciers. “Due to adverse impact of climate change on these resources, Kashmir environment, economy and the society in general is going to be hit hard, if, appropriate adaptation strategies are not planned well in advance,” he said.

Romshoo said over the past few decades, Kashmir has witnessed massive land system changes particularly conversion of agriculture to horticulture....

Farming in Kashmir, shot by Motohiro Sunouchi, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons 2.0 license

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