IMD Bulletin about the Average Temperatures in 2018: Key Facts

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has released a bulletin highlighting the essential characteristics of the climatic ailments of 2018:

India’s common indicate regular monthly temperatures had been “warmer than the normal” for the duration of all the months of the 12 months except December.

This additional than ordinary necessarily mean monthly temperature is attributed to world-wide warming.

The yearly indicate area air temperature averaged over the country in 2018 was +.41 diploma Celsius earlier mentioned (1981-2010 interval) normal.

The yr 2018 was the sixth warmest calendar year on record gave that nationwide records commenced in 1901.

The other warmest many years on file are 016 (+.72 degree Celsius), 2009 (+.56 diploma Celsius), 2017 (+.55 degree Celsius), 2010 (+.54 diploma Celsius) and 2015 (+.42 degree Celsius), which are all the latest years.

The stressing element is 11 out of 15 warmest a long time ended up in the course of the current earlier 15 years (2004-2018) and total 2018 was the sixth warmest yr on history due to the fact nationwide information commenced in 1901.

India recorded 1,428 fatalities in 2018 because of too severe climate gatherings and heavy rains and subsequent flooding, dust storms, thunderstorms and lightning claimed fifty percent the lives.

Cyclones Titli and Gaja killed nearly 122 men and women.

India Meteorological Section (IMD)

  • India Meteorological Section (IMD) is the chief govt company for meteorological expert services in the place. Fashioned in 1875, IMD capabilities under Ministry of Earth Sciences and is headquartered in New Delhi. It deals with every little thing connected to meteorology, seismology and related subjects like
  • Endeavor meteorological observations and deliver existing details and forecasting data for the most favorable procedure of weather-dependent activities this kind of as irrigation, agriculture, aviation, transport, and many others.
  • Supplying warnings versus intense weather conditions phenomenon this sort of as tropical cyclones, norwesters, dust storms, heat waves, cold waves, significant rains, hefty snow, etc.
  • Delivering achieved-linked figures needed for agriculture, industries, h2o methods administration, oil exploration, and any other strategically important things to do for the country.
  • Engaging in the analysis in meteorology and allied subjects.
  • Detecting and finding earthquakes and assess seismicity in different sections of the region for developmental jobs.
  • From a modest starting in 1875, IMD has progressively expanded its infrastructure for meteorological observations, forecasting and temperature expert services. IMD was the very first organization in India to undertake a message switching laptop or computer to aid its world data trade.
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National Wildlife Board clears ONGC Trishna gas project

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Tripura Asset would soon start extracting natural gas from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Belonia subdivision of Gomati district following National Wildlife Board’s clearance of its proposal.

As the gas bearing zones are in the wildlife sanctuary, we needed permission from the National Wildlife Board. The National Wildlife Board, following recommendations from the state Wildlife Board, has cleared the project

The gas extracted from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary would be transported to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) owned 100 MW gas-based thermal power project at Monarchak in Sonamura subdivision of Sipahijala district.

The geographical,  area of the state still remains to be explored and it would be a great achievement if gas is discovered in even 10 per cent area.

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Parliamentary panel flags neglect of Western Ghats

Over 56,000 km of ecologically sensitive areas in the Western Ghats could not be earmarked as ‘no-go’ zones due to State governments’ ‘insensitivity’, a parliamentary panel has said.

It urged the Union Environment and Forests Ministry to constitute a committee to address the issues and grievances of the local people.

The recent catastrophic monsoon floods in Kerala and parts of Karnataka should serve as alarm bells for administrations in the six States of Goa, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka that have failed to mark ecologically sensitive areas in the Western Ghats, the Committee on Government Assurances in the Rajya Sabha has stressed.

The Committee, which keeps track of assurances given by Ministers on the floor of the Upper House while replying to queries from parliamentarians, flagged these issues in its latest report presented on Monday.

The panel had examined issues regarding the categorisation of Western Ghats parts as Ecologically Sensitive Areas (ESAs) as per the recommendations of two different committees led by Madhav Gadgil and K. Kasturirangan.

The committee examined 62 assurances during its deliberations with various State Governments and other organisations. It visited Pune, Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru, before finalising its report.

“The Committee is of the view that implementation of recommendations of Kasturirangan report is only possible with active support of local population and requires intrinsic consultation with the State Government at micro level to achieve the desired objectives of saving the Western Ghats,” stressed its report which recommended that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change constitute a Committee to address the issues and grievances of local people.

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Reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions

Techniques to reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions may also increase livestock productivity and resilience. These technologies are more likely to reduce the intensity of emissions, rather than total emissions, and so opportunities to benefit financially from creating offsets may be limited.

We provide this information to support managers making economic, environmental and social decisions in response to climate change.

Why we should reduce livestock emissions?

In Australia, direct livestock emissions account for about 70% of greenhouse gas emissions by the agricultural sector and 11% of total national greenhouse gas emissions. This makes Australia’s livestock the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the energy and transport sectors. Livestock is the dominant source of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), accounting for 56% and 73%, respectively, of Australia’s emissions.

Where livestock methane emissions come from?

The amount of methane emitted by livestock is primarily driven by the number of animals, the type of digestive system they have and the type and amount of feed consumed. Ruminants are the principal source of livestock methane emissions because they produce the most methane per unit of feed consumed. Ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep, buffalo, goats, deer, and camels) have a fore-stomach (or rumen) containing microbes called methanogens, which are capable of digesting coarse plant material and which produce methane as a by-product of digestion (enteric fermentation), which is later released by the animal through belching.

Methane represents lost energy in the digestion process. It is estimated that 7–10% of a ruminant’s energy intake is lost to enteric fermentation, although it can be closer to 4% for feedlot cattle. Although non-ruminant herbivorous livestock, such as horses, do not have a rumen, significant fermentation does take place in their large intestine, allowing the digestion of coarse plant material as well as producing a significant amount of methane. Pigs and poultry produce small amounts of methane as the result of the incidental fermentation that takes place during digestion.

How we can reduce livestock greenhouse gas emissions?

There are 4 main approaches to mitigating livestock greenhouse gas emissions:

  • Husbandry (animal breeding, feed supplements, improved pastures)
  • Management systems (stocking rates, biological control)
  • Numbers of livestock
  • Manure management.

Measures to change enteric fermentation to reduce emissions may also increase animal productivity by increasing digestive efficiency.

Reducing the number of livestock to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be counter to the objectives of the livestock industry. Livestock industries are vital to many regional communities and earn around $18 billion a year with about $15 billion of this from export earnings, so it is important that any methodology that results in lower emissions also maintains or increases productivity.

Note that some methods for reducing livestock emissions may lead to increased dry matter intake per animal or provide the farmer with an opportunity to increase stocking rates, resulting in either no net change or even a net increase in methane production.

Farm modelling has shown that improving pasture quality and livestock efficiency can also improve productivity and lower emission intensity per unit of product, but the farm’s total greenhouse gas emissions may increase due to increased stocking rates. Understanding this concept is important for farmers considering participation in emission offset trading schemes.

Animal breeding

There are variations among animals in methane emissions per unit of feed intake and these variations suggest that there may be heritable differences in methanogenesis (methane production). Trials suggest that animal breeding could achieve a 10–20% reduction in methane emissions.

While breeding for reduced methanogenesis may not be compatible with other breeding objectives, breeding for improved feed conversion efficiency (lower net feed intake) should be compatible and is likely to reduce methane emissions and the greenhouse gas intensity of animal products.

Diet supplements and feed alternatives

  • A range of dietary supplements and feed alternatives is being trialed to assess whether they can reduce methane emissions from livestock. Supplements being considered include oils, fats, tannins, probiotics, nitrates, enzymes, marine algae, and Australian native vegetation.
  • Methaneabatements of 10–25% are possible by feeding ruminants dietary oils, with 37–52% abatement achieved in individual studies. Plant secondary compounds, such as condensed tannins, have been shown to reduce methane production by 13–16%, mainly through a direct toxic effect on methanogens. However, high condensed tannin concentrations can reduce voluntary feed intake and digestibility.
  • Plant saponins (natural steroids occurring in several plant families) also potentially reduce methane, and some sources are more effective than others, with methane suppression attributed to combating protozoal infections.
  • There are approved methodologies for using dietary supplements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy cows and cattle.

Improved pastures

  • Improved forage quality with lower fibre and higher soluble carbohydrates can reduce methane production in livestock. Being structural fibres, cellulose and hemicelluloses ferment more slowly than non-structural carbohydrates and yield more methane per unit of feed digested.
  • Methane emissions are commonly lower with more forage legumes in the diet, partly because of the lower fibre content (faster rate of digestion) and in some cases, the presence of condensed tannins. As improved diet increases animal growth and reduces methane production, it has the effect of reducing the greenhouse gas intensity of the animal products.
  • Pasture quality can be improved in several ways including by plant breeding, changing from tropical (C4) to temperate (C3) grasses that use different pathways to capture carbon dioxide or grazing on less mature pastures. Several alternative plant forages, such as broccoli leaves and some native plants such as Eremophila glabra, Acacia saligna and a number of saltbush species, have been shown to reduce methane emissions in laboratory experiments. Research is ongoing to confirm these results under field conditions.
  • There is an approved methodology for improving cattle pasture and pasture management to generate carbon offsets.

Stocking rates

  • Australian livestock emissions have declined since the 1990s. Although partially offset by a rise in beef cattle numbers, this decline has been driven by a fall in sheep numbers. Reducing the number of unproductive animals on a farm can potentially improve profitability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If productivity increases through nutritional and breeding strategies, the number of livestock can be reduced without losing the quantity of meat that is currently produced.
  • Strategies such as extended lactation in dairying — where cows calve every 18 months rather than annually — reduce herd energy demand by 10%, and so potentially reduce methane emissions by a similar amount. With earlier finishing of beef cattle in feedlots, slaughter weights are reached at a younger age, with reduced lifetime emissions per animal and proportionately fewer animals producing methane.
  • Trials involving mating replacement merino ewes at 7 months of age were successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 9–12% by removing an age group of ewes that were previously not reproductive.
  • There is an approved methodology for improving cattle herd management to generate carbon offsets.

Biological control

Three biological control methods are being examined for their ability to reduce methane production from livestock, using:

  • Viruses to attack the microbes which produce methane
  • Specialized proteins to target methane-producing microbes
  • Other microbes (methanotrophs) to break down the methane produced in the rumen into other substances.

A fourth possible option — bovine somatotropin and hormonal growth implants — does not specifically suppress methane formation, but rather improves the animal’s performance and reduces the greenhouse gas intensity of the products.

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India submits Sixth National Report to the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD)

India today submitted its Sixth National Report (NR6) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The report was submitted online to the CBD Secretariat.  The Minister also released the document ‘Progress on India’s National Biodiversity Targets: A Preview’ on the occasion.

The submission of national reports is a mandatory obligation on parties to international treaties, including the CBD. As a responsible nation, India has never reneged on its international commitments and has earlier submitted on time five national reports to the CBD.

The report provides an update of progress in the achievement of 12 National Biodiversity Targets (NBT) developed under the convention process in line with the 20 global Aichi biodiversity targets.

The report highlights that while India has exceeded/ overachieved two NBTs, it is on track to achieve eight NBTs and with respect to two remaining NBTs, the country is striving to meet the targets by the stipulated time of 2020.

According to the report, India has exceeded the terrestrial component of 17% of Aichi target 11, and 20% of corresponding NBT relating to areas under biodiversity management.

Also, India has been investing a huge amount on biodiversity directly or indirectly through several development schemes of the central and state governments, to the tune of Rs 70,000 crores per annum as against the estimated annual requirement of nearly Rs 1,09,000 crore.

About CBD:

At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, world leaders agreed on a comprehensive strategy for “sustainable development” — meeting our needs while ensuring that we leave a healthy and viable world for future generations. One of the key agreements adopted at Rio was the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The Convention on Biological Diversity is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources” that has been ratified by 196 nations.

The 12 National Biodiversity targets of India are:

  1. By 2020, a significant proportion of the country’s population, especially the youth, is aware of the values of biodiversity and the steps they can take to conserve and use it sustainably.
  2. By 2020, values of biodiversity are integrated into national and state planning processes, development programmes and poverty alleviation strategies.
  3. Strategies for reducing the rate of degradation, fragmentation and loss of all natural habitats are finalized and actions put in place by 2020 for environmental amelioration and human well-being.
  4. By 2020, invasive alien species and pathways are identified and strategies to manage them developed so that populations of prioritized invasive alien species are managed.
  5. By 2020, measures are adopted for sustainable management of agriculture, forestry, and fisheries.
  6. Ecologically representative areas under terrestrial and inland water, and also coastal and marine zones, especially those of particular importance for species, biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved effectively and equitably, based on protected area designation and management and other area-based conservation measures and are integrated into the wider landscapes and seascapes, covering over 20% of the geographic area of the country, by 2020.
  7. By 2020, genetic diversity of cultivated plants, farm livestock, and their wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
  8. By 2020, ecosystem services, especially those relating to water, human health, livelihoods, and well-being, are enumerated and measures to safeguard them are identified, taking into account the needs of women and local communities, particularly the poor and vulnerable sections.
  9. By 2015, Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization as per the Nagoya Protocol are operational, consistent with national legislation.
  10. By 2020, an effective, participatory and updated national biodiversity action plan is made operational at different levels of governance.
  11. By 2020, national initiatives using communities’ traditional knowledge relating to biodiversity are strengthened, with the view to protecting this knowledge in accordance with national legislation and international obligations.
  12. By 2020, opportunities to increase the availability of financial, human and technical resources to facilitate effective implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the national targets are identified and the Strategy for Resource Mobilization is adopted.

The ‘Aichi Targets’ were adopted by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) at its Nagoya conference. It is a short-term plan provides a set of 20ambitious yet achievable targets, collectively known as the Aichi Targets. They can be divided into:

  • Strategic Goal A: Address the underlying causes of biodiversity loss by mainstreaming biodiversity across government and society.
  • Strategic Goal B: Reduce the direct pressures on biodiversity and promote sustainable use.
  • Strategic Goal C: To improve the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity.
  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance the benefits to all from biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Strategic Goal E: Enhance implementation through participatory planning, knowledge management, and capacity building.
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REDD+ has failed to achieve its objectives: CSE report

A new study by Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has revealed that Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), the programme initiated by the United Nations in 2005 to mitigate climate change through enhanced forest management in developing countries, has largely failed to achieve its objectives.

Highlights of the study:

Large-scale finance for REDD+ has been a major issue as carbon markets have not materialised and international funding commitments for REDD+ have been much lower than expected.

“REDD+ implementation costs have been high and benefits for local communities from REDD+ projects have been minimal.

There is a need to rethink the REDD+ mechanism based on these experiences and the findings emerging from new research on the potential of forests to mitigate climate change.

India’s REDD+ strategy:

Complying with the UNFCCC decisions on REDD+, India has prepared its National REDD+ Strategy. The Strategy builds upon existing national circumstances which have been updated in line with India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, Green India Mission and India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to UNFCCC.

The strategy report has been prepared by the Indian Council of Forestry Research & Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.

Since its formalisation in 2006, REDD+ had emerged as the most prominent global mechanism to integrate the role of forests in climate change.  It was touted as a win-win situation for biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, and local livelihoods.

More than 300 REDD+ initiatives have taken off since 2006. The mechanism has been enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015, and its implementation is transitioning from smaller, isolated projects to larger, jurisdictional programmes with support from bilateral and multilateral agencies.

About REDD+:

In simple terms, REDD+ means “Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation”, conservation of forest carbon stocks, sustainable management of forests, and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries.

REDD+ is a mechanism developed by Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

It creates financial value for the carbon stored in forests by offering incentives for developing countries to reduce emissions from forested lands and invest in low-carbon paths to sustainable development.

Developing countries would receive results-based payments for results-based actions. REDD+ goes beyond simply deforestation and forest degradation and includes the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks.

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Another olive ridley nesting site soon

The Odisha forest department is all set to add another olive ridley mass nesting site to its wildlife map.

It has started preparing the beach at the Bahuda river mouth in Ganjam district to lure the endangered turtles to come over for mass nesting next year.

Around 3-km stretch of the beach from Sunapur to Anantpur at Bahuda rookery is being developed as a possible olive ridley mass nesting site. The Bahuda rookery is located around 20 km to the south of Rushikulya rookery coast, a major mass nesting site of olive ridleys on the Indian coastline.

Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer Ashis Behera said the Bahuda rookery coast has been cleaned up once already and it will be thoroughly cleaned up again before the start of the mass nesting season in February. “The forest department has decided to fence off around 2-km stretch of the beach near Bahuda river mouth to protect the turtles during the nesting season,” the DFO said.

This year, a few hundred olive ridleys had nested at Bahuda river mouth in February. This encouraged the forest department to develop it as a second mass nesting site for the turtles on the Ganjam coast. At present, mating olive ridleys are being sighted near the Bahuda rookery. It is being hoped that the turtles will find the beach conducive and their mass nesting number at Bahuda will increase in 2019.

Marine fishermen in the area have been requested to refrain from using gill nets during fishing as that can kill the turtles. Fishermen near Rushikulya rookery do not use such nets. With the support of local residents, efforts are being made to reduce polythene pollution caused by tourists and picnickers at Bahuda river mouth to keep the sand clean for mass nesting.

Local fishermen say around two decades ago thousands of olive ridleys used to nest at Bahuda coast, which for some reason diminished with time.

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Mobile towers are harmless, says declassified CPCB report

A recently-declassified study of the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) states that mobile towers do not have any negative effect on human health.

The study, ‘Mobile tower installations in India & its impact on the environment’ is one among several done in the previous decade by the CPCB, which had not been declassified since 2010. They have been published recently after the Supreme Court instructed to make public, all reports related to the impact of environmental pollution on health and the economy.

Highlights of the report:

Based on safety limits prescribed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), the review report had said that there was no substantive or convincing evidence of cell phone radiation’s biological effects that could harm a person’s health. The ICNIRP standard uses the limit of 450 μW/cm2.

However, the report does admit that the current exposure safety standards are purely based on the thermal effect while ignoring the non-thermal effects of radiation.

While stating that there was no impact of radiation from towers, the CPCB has said that this concern on health hazards needed further research, both national as well as international.

However, since 2010, India has moved forward. In 2015, the Department of Telecommunications had come up with new norms of radiation from mobile phone towers which came into force in September 2015. And the limits on power density from mobile phone towers were restricted to one-tenth of the existing limit.

In international standards, “thermal effect” of radiation refers to the heat that is generated due to absorption of microwave radiation which causes cellular and physiological changes in living beings. This effect may be responsible for genetic defects, effects on reproduction and development, central nervous system behavior and many similar serious health consequences.

Non-thermal effects of radiation have been shown to be responsible for fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, disruption, and other psychological disorders, memory loss and difficulties in concentration.

The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) is an international commission specialized in non-ionizing radiation protection. The organization’s activities include determining exposure limits for electromagnetic fields used by devices such as cellular phones.

ICNIRP is an independent non-profit scientific organization chartered in Germany. It was founded in 1992 by the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) to which it maintains close relations.

The mission of ICNIRP is to screen and evaluate scientific knowledge and recent findings toward providing protection guidance on non-ionizing radiation, i.e. radio, microwave, UV and infrared.

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Government launches Asiatic Lion Conservation Project to conserve their population

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on December 20, 2018, launched the “Asiatic Lion Conservation Project” to protect and conserve the population of Asiatic Lion and its associated ecosystem.

The project activities are planned in such a manner that cause habitat improvement, scientific interventions, disease control and veterinary care, complemented with adequate eco-development works for the fringe population in order to ensure a stable and viable Lion population in the Country

The Asiatic Lion Conservation Project is aimed at the conservation and recovery of Asiatic Lion with the help of up to date techniques, instruments, regular scientific research studies, disease management, modern surveillance and patrolling techniques.

Funding of Asiatic Lion Conservation Project

The total budget of the project for 3 years amounts to around Rs 9784 lakh. The project will be funded under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Development of Wildlife Habitat (CSS-DWH) with the Central and State share of 60:40 ratio.

Increase in population of Asiatic Lions

Asiatic lions that once ranged from Persia (Iran) to Palamau in Eastern India were almost driven to extinction due to hunting and habitat loss.

A single population of fewer than 50 lions persisted in the Gir forests of Gujarat by late 1890s.

With timely and stringent protection offered by the Government, Asiatic lions have increased to the current population of over 500 numbers.

The last census of the year 2015 showed the population of 523 Asiatic Lions in Gir Protected Area Network of 1648.79 sq. km. that includes Gir National Park, Gir Sanctuary, Pania Sanctuary, Mitiyala Sanctuary adjoining reserved forests, Protected Forests, and Unclassed Forests.

This increase in the number of lions is attributed to wildlife conservation schemes, well-trained staff and vets as well as help from farmers.

Its population is currently growing at about two per cent a year.

Asiatic Lions

  • Asiatic lion is cousins of the African lion. It is believed that both got separated 100000 years ago.
  • Asiatic lions are slightly smaller and have a distinctive fold of skin along their bellies.
  • Asiatic lion once inhabited complete southwest Asia, but, in past few years, it got restricted to the 1400 square kilometre Gir Sanctuary in Gujarat state, leading to its listing as critically endangered in the year 2000.
  • The species’ population was under threat due to hunting and human encroachment.
  • They are a major tourist attraction in Gujarat. Earlier, they were only regarded as the target of poachers.
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India, Nepal, Bhutan plan joint task force to protect wildlife

The governments of India, Nepal and Bhutan are actively considering having a joint task force for allowing free movement of wildlife across political boundaries and checking to smuggle of wildlife across the Kanchenjunga Landscape, a trans-boundary region spread across Nepal, India and Bhutan.

The developments come up after forest officials and representatives of the non-government organisation of the three countries visited parts of the landscape and later held a meeting at Siliguri in north Bengal earlier this month.

The developments come up after forest officials and representatives of the non-government organisation of the three countries visited parts of the landscape and later held a meeting at Siliguri in north Bengal earlier this month.

Setting up of a joint task force is a key requirement in the roadmap on achieving the objectives of free movement of wildlife and checking to smuggle of wildlife.

According to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a regional knowledge development and learning centre, 1,118 sq km of riverine grassland and tree cover were lost in the landscape between 2000 and 2010. 74 % of the area was converted into rangeland and 26% to agricultural land.

Other than seven million people, the Kanchenjunga Landscape is also home to 169 species of mammals and 713 species of birds. Studies by the ICIMOD suggest that between 1986 and 2015, as many as 425 people were killed by elephants and 144 elephants were killed between 1958 and 2013.

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