Ezine

Advanced search on archives

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

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Did you know that the IWC ezines for the last 5 years + are searchable for content?  All vistors to IWC.com can freely avail of the 'Advanced Search" button at the bottom of our homepage http://www.IndianWildlifeClub.com

Try searching for general topics like 'Climate change, Pheasants, Amphibians .......or more specific topics like Golden Emperor Moth, Hoolock Gibbon, Leh trekking......

The results will throw up articles from our archived ezines, quiz programs and chat programs!!

Interlinking of Rivers

Flood Control through Dams?

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

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"Almost every year, floods ravage various states. According to news reports in most of the cases, the flood disaster has been caused by panic release of water from dams since inflow to the reservoir was very high. Maharashtra and Gujarat, both hit by floods this year, together have more than half of the country's 4,500 large dams, so it is a moot point whether dams provide protection from flood.

Flood, a natural phenomenon, becomes a disaster when large quantities of water arrive very quickly or do not recede quickly. Rainwater comes too quickly either because of unprecedented rainfall and/or due to deforestation that causes very fast arrival of water in the main rivers. A large dam can "control" flood only if the reservoir has sufficient empty capacity to absorb the sudden arrival of water. But in practice, reservoirs are never emptied in anticipation of flood because water from the reservoir is required for irrigation or power generation. (If it is a low rainfall year
and the reservoir is empty, the flow will merely fill the reservoir and the downstream river will get no water at all). When the flood does arrive, the sluices are opened to save the dam and people, assured of protection from flood, who have occupied the flood plain below the dam, suffer because of the sudden release of water from the reservoir.

Thus, while large dams may offer flood management advantages in a limited temporal or spatial context, they also create larger magnitude problems that are not generally recognized. Flood management and the performance of India's large dams for flood "control", irrigation and power generation over the past few decades needs urgent and transparent review."


-Maj Gen S.G.Vombatkere (Retd) is a military engineer holding a PhD in Structural Engineering from I.I.T., Madras.
E-mail: sgvombatkere@hotmail. com



Interlinking of Rivers

Flood control

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

Barney Flynn, a former prune and almond grower, used his experience as a farmer and businessman to come up with an inventive way to help California farmers transform unprofitable land, save endangered wildlife, boost the local economy, and provide flood control - all at the same time.

In 1998, after years of experiencing the annual flooding of farm land from breached levees, Flynn co-founded River Partners, a nonprofit organization that helps farmers navigate state regulations and craft deals to restore flood-prone riverfront acreage as habitat for wildlife, much of it endangered, while providing a sustainable flood-control alternative to levees and dams. River Partners also implements the restoration plans, pioneering the use of modern agricultural techniques to cut the costs of river restoration. To date, River Partners has restored about 4,000 acres and planted 510,000 native trees and shrubs.

Visit http://www.riverpartners.org/  for more on this.

Tiger Task Force Report

Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

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Wildlife biologist Ullas Karanth on Tiger

Q: What's wrong with the concept of sustainable use and the idea of financing projects for local people to make money from the forests, and in turn protect the animals?

A: It's naïve. People and tigers have never coexisted harmoniously.

They compete for land, protein, resources. In a country like India where there are so many people and so little land, sustainable development is actually a recipe for wiping out the protected areas.

If you want tigers, you can't have people sweeping through the reserves cutting down trees, gathering forest products, hunting for protein and creating gardens that fragment natural areas.

Moreover, you definitely should not be paying forestry officials - charged with protecting wildlife - to do rural economic development.

If you do it, their mission drifts toward development and the wildlife conservation part gets lost.

To protect wildlife, you have to do the harder thing, which is set aside some areas where human activities are reduced or eliminated. At present, about 5 percent of the country is designated as protected. But I estimate that 75 percent of that "protected" land has been compromised by human activity. This needs to be halted.

Q: Do you think the Indian tiger can be saved?

A: Certainly. If there's the will. One thing that gives us a head start: India actually has more wild tigers than our neighbors. We won't need to reintroduce them. Also, tigers reproduce easily; they are not like pandas.

Also, I believe that there are aspects of Indian culture that can be mobilized for conservation. If you look at the Hindu religion, there's real guilt associated with the killing of an animal.

Another thing, at the core of our religion is the belief that man is a part of nature. This supports the idea that wild animals have a right to survive. 

 Read the full interview at

http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/08/16/news/tigers.php

Engineers and Environment

Shift plea ignored

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 31, 2006

Blog

A 22-km bridge from Sewri in Central Mumbai to Nhava in Navi Mumbai, proposed to be built ( work expected to start in Dec 2006) will destroy the Sewri habitat of lesser flamingoes.

The sheltered bay attracts a lot of flamingoes, both the greater and the lesser varieties apart from several waders and birds of prey. The area is designated as an important bird area (IBA) and is a popular place for viewing the birds and studying them.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) had been demanding that the project site be shifted 500 metres away to protect this "Important Bird Area". The bridge goes over the Bay area and this small adjustment would have made a big difference, according to Mr Isaac Kehimkar of the BNHS.

However, the Government did not accept that suggestion.

 

Tiger Task Force Report

Tiger Conservation Authority

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 26, 2006

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A national Tiger Conservation Authority (TCA) has finally been set up with constitutional power, though heavily diluted with 13 radical clauses to placate the tribal lobby.

The most crucial of these additions says that no direction of the TCA "shall interfere or affect the rights of local people particularly the Scheduled Tribes".

As the pending tribal Bill seeks to redefine these rights,the TCA's authority is likely to depend on the final shape of the tribal Bill.

Consider these:

• The core areas are to be "kept as inviolate without affecting the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and such other forest dwellers".

• "Save for voluntary relocation","no Scheduled Tribes or other forest dwellers shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected for the purpose of creating inviolate areas for tiger conservation".

• There are certain provisions for relocation from areas where human habitation causes "irreversible damage" or where "options of co-existence are not available". But the power to determine such cases is with the Gram Sabhas and designated local expert panels and not with the TCA.

• The right to redraw the core-buffer boundary is also with

Tribal Bill-How it will affect our forests

Tiger Conservation Authority

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 26, 2006

Blog

A national Tiger Conservation Authority (TCA) has finally been set up with constitutional power, though heavily diluted with 13 radical clauses to placate the tribal lobby.

The most crucial of these additions says that no direction of the TCA "shall interfere or affect the rights of local people particularly the Scheduled Tribes".

As the pending tribal Bill seeks to redefine these rights,the TCA's authority is likely to depend on the final shape of the tribal Bill.

Consider these:

• The core areas are to be "kept as inviolate without affecting the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and such other forest dwellers".

• "Save for voluntary relocation","no Scheduled Tribes or other forest dwellers shall be resettled or have their rights adversely affected for the purpose of creating inviolate areas for tiger conservation".

• There are certain provisions for relocation from areas where human habitation causes "irreversible damage" or where "options of co-existence are not available". But the power to determine such cases is with the Gram Sabhas and designated local expert panels and not with the TCA.

• The right to redraw the core-buffer boundary is also with the Gram Sabhas and designated local expert panels.

( Indian Express 25th August 2006)

community reserves

Empowering communities-an opinion

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 23, 2006

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I found this post in an MSN group and thought that it is worth sharing.

"I, too, have set out in the world determined to help the plight of endangered species. But there is little sense in attempting to save a species if you can not first save the habitat which that species depends on for survival. And you will have no chance of saving the habitat unless you can do something to alleviate the financial pressures of the local peoples who must rely on depleting natural resources in order to survive.

It is quite easy as North American and European arm-chair activists to play the blame-game and point the finger at poachers and subsistance farmers clearing forests. We in the developed world have already wiped out half of our forests and the species that lived there. Now we think we know what's best for the resource management of the rest of these "third-world" nations. And, true, there are so many complex issues facing this problem.

Most of the decline in wildlife populations directly attributed to habitat fragmentation. Most of the rainforest degradation in the world results from the need of local peoples to push further into forests to clear land in order to grow crops. However, this is a direct result of those people being displaced from their lands by large multinational agriculture industries who are focused on growing export crops or grazing cattle. This leaves the people, who once utilized their land much more sustainably and were able to consume the crops they grew, in a state of poverty and malnutrition.

Set aside vast tracts of wilderness as National Parks, and as commendable as that is, it too denies local people the resources they need to survive, leading to illegal deforestation and poaching. Poachers, miners, and slash & burn farmers are not evil people with the intentions of wiping out biodiversity or environmental destruction. They are simply trying to provide the best life possible for their families. How can those of us in the industrialized world, with our air conditioned cars, satelite TV, iPods and white picket fences realistically blame them for striving for more? To those struggling for daily necessities like food, clean water and medicine, wildlife survival and habitat conservation generally takes a backseat.

I believe it is going to take a massive shift in the lifestyles of we in the developed world if there is to even be a hope for a biodiverse, healthy Earth in the future. This will include financially taking responsibility to save these places, as well as a change in our own energy and food consumption habits, and eliminating the market for exotic species. This all starts right at home, with each of us contributing our own small part to a greater whole. The problem is, most people, especially in the USA, have the attitude "If it's not affecting me directly, then I don't really care."

Unfortunately, by the time the problem is big enough to be directly affecting people in places like the USA (as it's already beginning with things like global warming), it may be too late to do anything about it."

Tom

 M/41 GAITHERSBURG, MARYLAND

 

Eco-tour

What attracts tourists to India?

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 22, 2006

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The "Outlook" Magazine conducted a survey of a carefully selected sample of 150 people each in the cities of New York, London and Bejing.  To the question

 'Do the wildlife and natural beauty of India interest you'

 affirmative answers were received from

 71% New Yorkers

83% Londoners and

68% Bejing residents.

This once again proves that our natural resources are like the goose which lays golden eggs. Exploiting natural resources for short term gains could kill the goose!!

Any other

Human elephant conflict

Posted by Susan Sharma on August 21, 2006

Blog

" I think that compensation can only be a temporary solution and that too in areas with low levels of conflict. In the long term, we can solve the conflict( or should I say minimise the conflict) only by maintaining the integrity of elephant landscapes. This means that we should begin in earnest the reversal of fragmentation through protection, strengthening or creating corridors. I think the resources are now available but I am not sure about the will"

                                            -Dr Raman Sukumar

 ( Read the full interview at http://www.hindu.com/nic/raman.htm )

 




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