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Gist of YOJANA : Mitigation of Carbon Footprint

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  • Published
    27th Feb, 2020
  • Global warming with the burgeoning anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (400 parts per million from 280 ppm CO2, emissions of the pre-industrial era) has been altering the climate, eroding the ecosystem productivity and sustenance of water, thus affecting the livelihood of people.
  • GHG footprint needs to be in balance with the sequestration of carbon to sustain ecosystem functions.
  • Forests are the major carbon sink (about 45%) that aid in mitigation global warming.
  • The land use land cover (LULC) dynamics leading to deforestation and land degradation is the prime driver of global warming due to the loss of carbon sequestration potential as well as emission.

Carbon Footprint

  • Carbon footprint is contributed by emissions from the energy sector (68%), agriculture (19.6%), industrial processes (6%), LU change (3.8%) and forestry (1.9%), respectively in India with CO2, emission of about 3.1 MGg (2017) and the per capita CO2 emission of 2.56 metric tonnes.
  • India has committed at the Paris Climate Change Agreement to reduce its emissions by 33-35% by 2030, which necessitates the immediate implementation of carbon capture (with afforestation of degraded landscapes with native species, regulations of LULC change) and de-carbonisation (through the large-scale implementation of renewable and sustainable energy alternatives).
  • For this, stringent norms must be developed towards
  1. Potential of ecologically fragile regions,
  2. Fines for continued higher emission based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle
  3. adoption of cluster-based decentralized development approaches, and
  4. Incentives for reduced emission.
  • The carbon trading has demonstrated the potential in monetary values across the globe of Indian forests in capturing carbon.
  • The carbon credit mechanism and streamlining stakeholder’s active participation would dramatically reduce the abuse of forests.

Water and food security towards sustainable and healthy living

  • Alternations of landscape structure in the catchment areas influence the hydrological regime leading to variations in the hydrological status.
  • The streams are perennial when its catchment is dominated by vegetation (>60%) of native species. This is mainly due to infiltration or percolation in the catchment as the soil is porous with the presence of native species.
  • Diverse microorganisms interact with plant roots and soil helps in the transfer of nutrients from the soil to plants and the soil is porous.
  • Fragmented governance and the deteriorating ecological ethics with the lack of vision among the decision-makers are the principal reasons for deforestation and land degradation.
  • Streams with its catchment dominated native species vegetation (>60%) have higher soil moisture and groundwater in comparison to the catchment (of seasonal streams) during a dry spell of the year.
  • It facilitates farming of commercial crops with higher economic returns to the farmers.
  • Sustenance of water in a river ensures the food security in the region which is dependent on the land-use dynamics (forest vegetation cover) in its catchment.

Importance of flora in water management and Sustainable Agriculture

  • Thus, catchment integrity plays a decisive role in sustaining water for societal and ecological need.
  • It is evident from the occurrence of potential streams in the catchment dominated by native flora, highlighting the riverscape dynamics with the hydrological, ecological, social, and environmental dimensions linkage and water sustainability.
  • Recent unfortunate instances of floods and subsequent drought (drying up of water bodies) in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Kerala is a pointer towards the mismanagement of forests in the Western Ghat region.
  • Hence, ecologically fragile regions such as the Western Ghats need to be conserved on priority to sustain the agriculture and horticulture in peninsular India. It will help effective water per location to the groundwater and promotion of sustainable agriculture.

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