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Kuttanad is a delta region of about 900 sq. km situated in the west coast of Kerala State, India. Unique feature: Below sea level rice cultivation site, only such system in India. Farmers of Kuttanad have developed and mastered the spectacular technique of below sea level cultivation over 150 year ago. They made this system unique as it contributes remarkably well to the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services including several livelihood services for local communities.

What will GIAHS do in Indian Sites?

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Contribute to awareness-raising promote use of modern technologies to conserve the heritage systems. Documenting the traditional knowledge. Provide capacity building training for farmers to increase productivity and marketing practices. Modernization, commercialization strategies establishing standards, eco labeling. Establishing sustainable practices amongst the tribals utilizing their knowledge, modern technologies.

Other Potential sites: Ladakh:

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Ladakh is located on the high Tibetan plateau between India and the Himalayan Mountains to the south, China and the Karakoram Mountains to the north, and Indian Kashmir to the west. Four types of land are cultivated: Zhing (cultivated land), Zhing Zhang (well fertilized land), Rizhing (stony land), Thang Zhing (pasture land). Apricots, apples and walnuts are cultivated in deep valleys. Organic composting is said to be an indigenous technique here Western cultural intrusion, urban consumerism are said to be threatening factors. Promoting its uniqueness especially amidst harsh terrains is essential.

Raikas: The Raikas are a pastoral caste Camel herding is their heritage. They live in groups of 4-20 families on the outskirts of villages and combine crop production during the summer rains with pastoralism during the autumn-spring dry season. The Raikas face several threats: Camel herding is no longer profitable, Droughts, Decrease in common pasture lands, disease and fodder scarcity, privatization of land Government support, help to withstand climate change, drought conditions need to be provided to preserve this heritage group.


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The Korangadu silvo-pastoral system exists in the semiarid tract of the Erode, Coimbatore, Karur, Dindigul districts of Tamil Nadu. Innovative fencing mechanism of land by live mullukiluvai (Commiphora berryi), a thorny drought resistant shrub. No fertilizer or nutrients, use of natural animal droppings, use of Phaseolus trilobus, a crop which provides a very nutritious feed. The leaves and pods of Albizia amara serve as a natural hair conditioner. Now monocropping, horticulture, tube wells haunt the natural heritage of this area. Deficient monsoon, water scarcity have also changed the cultivation patterns. The Korangadu pastureland shows people how to live with nature, while conserving it , utilizing it and this needs to be preserved, propagated.

Catamaran Fishing, Tamilnadu:

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Catamaran- Two words in Tamil: Kattu-to tie, Maram- Tree; The Bay of Bengal waters source of unique resources, marine biodiversity. People of coastal tamilnadu have shown a sustainable way of exploiting the marine resources which is very important as India is the worlds fourth largest fishing nation. Modern fishing problems: pollution, stress over exploitation. Also problems of mechanization in this area and 2004 Tsunami effects still threatening the livelihoods of these people. It thus represents a set of Agricultural Biodiversity of Global Significance (ABGS), associated knowledge systems and cultural practices which are endangered and needs international recognition.

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Soppina bettas systems, Western Ghats:

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Western Ghats of Karnataka- 16 varieties of rice grown Compost made from foliage and leaf litter (Soppina Bettas) used as fertilizer-local innovation. Soppina Bettas provide manure, botanical pesticides, fuel wood, fodder, medicine and timber to the communities. The existence of this unique self-sustaining system is threatened due to over exploitation, conversion of land and lack of awareness.

[Environment] Landslides in Himalayas: Reasons, Solutions

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Three main geological divisions of India. Classification of Himalayas Hazards in the Himalayan Eco-System Regions and disasters Landslides: Reasons

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Landslides: Damage Suggestions to fix problem

Three main geological divisions of India. Himalayas, also known as the Extra-Peninsula Indo-Gangetic Plains Peninsula

Classification of Himalayas Method #1

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Himalayas are classified, from west to east, into four regions: Punjab Himalaya area between Indus and Sutlej rivers. Kumaon Himalaya area between Sutlej and Kali rivers Nepal Himalaya- area between Kali and Tista rivers. Assam Himalaya- area between Tista and Brahamputra rivers.


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three regions: the Western, Central and Eastern Himalaya Nepal Himalaya constitutes the Central Himalaya and the mountainous area to its west and east are known as Western and Eastern Himalaya respectively

Hazards in the Himalayan Eco-System

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All major types of disasters, prominently earthquakes, landslides,

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avalanches, flash floods forest fires soil erosion

Regions and disasters Altitude Over 3500m 500 to 3500 m Landslides: Reasons Type of disaster snow avalanches and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) flash floods; landslides and mudflows

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indiscriminate chopping down of trees. slash and burn cultivation technique called JHUM, Road construction and mining. Every increasing population, grazing, urbanization etc. has destroyed the dense natural evergreen forest cover.

Such activities have disrupted the ecological balance, thereby resulting in loosening of the soil. During the heavy rain, this leads to soil erosion and frequent landslides Landslides: Damage

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Every year, landslides in the region kill dozens of people and cause widespread damage to several villages such that they have now become almost unfit for habitation. They create blockades in the road network and river system, which in turn, cause floods. The terraced farm fields have been destroyed that cannot be easily renovated or made productive again. The road network remains closed for long periods causing indescribable hardship to the villagers who get their basic supplies and provisions from the neighbouring areas. Water source is also disrupted due to landslides as they are breached from several places and are choked by the debris. The sediment load of rivers has also increased considerably, causing problems like irregular courses and frequent breaching of the banks, which create uncertainty regarding the river course and unexpected floods. The water channels are affected from the up hillside due to which the villagers are devoid of water for irrigation purposes. This adversely affects agriculture production in the region.

Suggestions to fix problem

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Excess water should be stored in the catchments areas, which will reduce the fury of flash floods, recharge the ground water and improve the environment. Runoff collection ponds in the catchments, though they might get silted up in a few years, will be more useful than the measures in the lower reaches.

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To prevent rapid siltation of tanks, the contributing catchments (even if they are not cultivated but used for grazing or forestry purposes) need to be well managed so that soil erosion is prevented. All common lands should be put under fuel/fodder trees. Planting of barren areas, especially on slopes, with grass cover is an important component of integrated watershed management programme. Grazing should be completely restricted. After the area is completely protected from grazing, better grasses can be planted. The grasses of industrial importance should also be planted so that there is some economic return to the farmers as well. The surface vegetative cover will not only protect the land from the beating action of rain drops and bind the soil particles but would also decrease the velocity of flowing water and cause less of soil erosion .

[Biodiversity] National Aqatic Animal This is shared by Varoon Bakshi.

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The River Dolphin is found in the River Ganges. In 2009, The Ganga River Dolphin was declared the National Aquatic Animal of India by the National Ganga River Basin Authority which is chaired by the Prime Minister. The Ganga River Dolphin is basically found in the Ganga and Brahmaputra river systems. Around 1500-2000 River Dolphins are found in the aforementioned two river systems. The scientific name of the Ganga River Dolphin is Platanista Gangetica.

Problems faced by River Dolphins The habitats of the Ganga River Dolphins are shrinking as smaller rivers are drying up and bigger rivers do not have uninterrupted flow of water in various parts. Thus the Ganga River Dolphins are perhaps one of the few creatures which face extinction due to the destruction of their habitat instead of being hunted or poached. Although, these river dolphins are hunted for their oil and sometimes they get stuck in the nets of the fishermen and die. By declaring the Ganga River Dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal of India there will be some focus on the plight of these animals.

[EnB] National Seabuckthorn Initiative

What is Seabuckthorn?

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What are the uses of Seabuckthron? What is National Seabuckthorn Initiative? What will they do? CSAT 2012 Actual Question Mock Questions for GS Mains (Paper I) Previous Articles under EnB

What is Seabuckthorn? Seabuckthorn (Leh berry) is a shrub It grows in the dry temperate and cold desert of the Himalayas. Found extensively in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttatrakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

What are the uses of Seabuckthron?

Has multi-purpose medicinal and nutritional properties, besides being useful for soil conservation and nitrogen fixation. Since this is the only plant that can grow in high altitude regions it can be easily used for water and soil conservation. Can aid in climate change mitigation and provide livelihoods support thereby reducing pressures on the ecosystem.

* Ideal plant for desertification control.

Every part of the plant viz. Fruit, leaf, twig, root and thorn has been traditionally used as medicine, nutritional supplement, fuel and fence, and therefore, seabuckthorn is popularly known as

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Wonder Plant, Ladakh Gold, Golden Bush or Gold Mine.

What is National Seabuckthorn Initiative?

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Indias National Action Plan on Climate Change It has a key Mission called Green India Mission Under this Green India Mission, there is a Sub-Mission on Cold Desert Ecosystems This Sub-Mission will include the National Seabuckthorn Initiative. In 2010, Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) and the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have jointly launched a major new national initiative for seabuckthorn cultivation in the high altitude, cold desert ecosystems of the country.

What will they do?

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Under this initiative, Eco Task Force Battalions and Womens Self-help groups will be mobilised for plantation of seabuckthorn in remote areas. Research and Development (R&D) for cultivation and commercial processing in collaboration with China, Russia, Pakistan, Germany etc nations where this plant is found.