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Save Trees: How strangling wires and hammering nails kill trees

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SHIMLA-For the last couple of years, HW tried to bring the attention of Govt. and the public towards continuous tree abuse in Shimla by HPSEB , the public, advertisers, cable operators etc.,but the major share of contribution comes from HPSEB. The trees are strangled with metal wires, and iron rods and nails are hammered into their trunk, which causes a great harm to the trees. A tree eventually dies or doesn’t grow properly. But, the DFO at Shimla MC, HPSEB, Forest Department, and the public couldn’t get any clue about what HW has been talking about, why we have been continuously protesting against the tree abuse all over the Shimla city, and why we regularly keep roaming like abandoned jerks, clicking nails and wires on trees. Here comes the importance of education. Therefore, we thought of revising the botany basics that each of us learned during the high school science classes. In nutshell, we will discuss how it harms a tree if we strangle it with wires, hammer nail or iron rods into it, and why these practices must be discouraged.

Wires obstruct the Plant Transportation System

Its an scientifically established fact that the all plants are categorized as living things. The plant transportation system is the internal mechanism of supplying water and nutrients from roots to all other parts of the tree. Not exactly, but this transportation system is somewhat similar to that of a human body: the blood carries oxygen and other food components to different parts of the body.

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The first layer of the tree body is called bark. Right under the bark, there is a layer of tissues which is called Cambium, the area just beneath the bark where cells divide and is responsible for the increase tree girth. Then comes two most important passages xylem and phloem. Xylem is responsible for carrying water and minerals to the leaves where it creates its food through photosynthesis. Phloem is a translocating vessels that facilitate the movement of the food components to the growing stems or the storage tissues. The life and growth of a tree completely depends upon the uninterrupted service of this transportation system.

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Now, all this operation takes place inside the tree trunk. When a metal wire is tightly wrapped around the trunk and it stays there for a prolonged period of time, the tree trunk grows around it and the wire penetrates the two important passages, xylem and phloem as the diameter of the tree trunk widens. As a result of that, either a portion of the tree above the point where the wire penetrated don’t receive the supply of water and minerals or same happens to some specific part of the gradually growing tree. The upper portion or the tree either dries or it doesn’t grow to its full capacity. So, in a way, it’s similar to cutting the veins in a human body or like choking by wrapping a tight wire around the neck. It does a great harm to a tree with irreversible damages.

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How nails damage a tree?

The thickness of the bark decides how much damage a nail of a particular size could do to a tree if it’s hammered into it. If a nail is long enough to penetrate through the bark, it reaches the two transportation vessels, xylem and phloem. When the nail corrodes, dissolved metals makes it toxic. The damage is maximum if the metal happens to be highly reactive like copper where the chemical reaction will oxidize the metal, leaving a very fetal toxic that flows to the whole tree through the two vessels and ensures that the tree or some particular part of it dries gradually. If not killed, it weakens the tree, and in a weakened stage, the tree may die from other stress such as heavy rains, snowfall, drought etc.

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If not this way, then hammering a nail can harm a tree in the same way as a open wound of a nail would do to a human body. The tree trunk is opened for infections and the entry of foreign pathogenic agents like fungi. If the tree fails to develop sufficient immunity against such infections, the whole tree could eventually dry.

For the sake of human life and chainsaw

The deep embedded nail, rod or metal wire, which eventually disappears into tree trunk and no more visible to human eye, could result in mishaps as well. If you search the web, you’ll come across incidents where people lost their limbs or reported serious injuries after the chainsaw bounced back on the victims after striking against the metal nails, rods and metal wires inside the tree-trunk. It also causes damage to the equipments. So, it’s better to check such practices when we know that sooner or later every tree is going to be axed,especially if the government and the public continued to maintained their passiveness towards this highly sensitive issue of tree abuse and intentional deforestation.

We hope, now it’s comprehensible enough for DFO Shimla MC, HPSEB, and the public, who believe that hammering nails or strangling tight wires doesn’t do any damage to a tree. HW is continuously making efforts to stop this practice and get the nails, iron rods, collars, and metal wires etc. removed as soon as possible.

How you can help

If you come across such trees in your area which either have metal wires wrapped around them or you see nails/rods/collars hammered into them, then please do report it to either DFO or click a few photographs with your mobile and forward them to HW with their locations. We will make sure that these trees are saved. So, next time, don’t ignore it, do report it. We all share the responsibility to keep the earth green and save precious trees.

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Advance Studies Images:Abhishek Negi

Madan has studied English Literature and Journalism from HP University and lives in Shimla. He is an amateur photographer and has been writing on topics ranging from environmental, socio-economic, development programs, education, eco-tourism, eco-friendly lifestyle and to green technologies for over 9 years now. He has an inclination for all things green, wonderful and loves to live in solitude. When not writing, he can be seen wandering, trying to capture the world around him in his DSLR lens.

Environment

Himachal Counts 108,578 Waterbirds of 96 Species This Year With Increase in Habitat

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Annual Bird Count in Himachal Pradesh 2021

Shimla-The habitat of migratory and resident water-birds in Himachal Pradesh has gradually improved, said Forest Minister Rakesh Pathania.

The annual water-bird count at Pong Dam Lake Wildlife Sanctuary was conducted in the first of February, 2021 and the exercise was conducted under restrained conditions due to the prevailing Avian Influenza outbreak in Pong Dam Lake as well as the COVID-19 Pandemic, he said.

The exercise was conducted by Wildlife wing of Himachal Pradesh by deploying 57 staff members in 26 sections of the sanctuary for counting the water-dependent birds.

Total 108,578 birds of 96 species were counted during this year. Out of the total number, 101,431 of 51 species are water-dependent migratory birds and 6,433 of 29 species are water-dependent resident birds. As many as 714 birds of 16 other species were also recorded. The total population of the flagship species, Bar-Headed Geese, is 40,570.

The other species which have higher population count during this year are Eurasian Coot (24,163), Northern Pintail (12,702), Common Teal (8,444), Little Cormorant (3,649), Great Cormorant (3,410), Grey Lag Goose (2,297), Northern Shoveler (2,275) and Common Pochard (2,138). The species which find noticeable mention are Red Necked Grebe, Great Bittern, Lesser White-Fronted Goose, Red Crested Pochard, Ferruginous Pochard, Pied Avocet, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon etc. During the counting exercise, one Bar-headed Goose and one Grey Lag Goose with collars were also spotted.

This year the Annual bird count exercise assumes significance, considering the Avian Influenza outbreak in the Wildlife Sanctuary. Further, the Minister expressed satisfaction over the timely and effective containment measures taken by Wildlife Wing to control and contain Avian Influenza outbreak in the Wildlife Sanctuary.

PCCF (Wildlife) Archana Sharma and CCF Wildlife (North) Dharamshala Upasana Patial also participated and supervised the Annual Water Bird Count.

The total population of birds, as well as number of species, counted this year are marginally less as compared to last year, probably due to the impact of Avian Influenza outbreak which was first reported on 28th December 2020.

Although the total population of water birds declined during the peak of the Avian Influenza outbreak, there is a gradual increase in the total population of birds, the Minister informed.

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Himachal First State to Complete Assessment of Snow Leopard and its Wild Prey

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Snow Leopard Population Assessment in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The assessment of snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh has been completed by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey.

The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards.

It is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the State. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh.
The exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 sq.km., with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both of the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment. MoEFCC had launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India, on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day. You can read the complete protocol here.

Snow leopard is the icon of high mountains of Asia. In India, they inhabit the higher Himalayan and TransHimalayan landscape in an altitudinal range between approximately 3,000 m to 5,400 m above MSL, spanning c. 100,000 km2 in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This area contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.

Snow leopards occur over a vast, relatively remote and difficult to access mountainous area. Together with their elusive nature, this makes a complete population census of snow leopards an unfeasible goal. Even their distribution remains unclear. For example, recent surveys show that they do not occur in 25 % of the area that was thought to be their range in the state of Himachal Pradesh Their density is expected to be variable in space, dependent on several factors such as habitat suitability, prey availability, disturbance and connectivity. Variation in density across space also poses the risk of biased sampling, and, indeed, most of the snow leopard population assessments conducted so far across the world are biased towards the best habitats.

Feature Photo: Pexels/Charles Miller

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Himachal Gets First Fully Automated ‘Doppler Weather Radar’, Would Provide More Accurate Short Range Forecast

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Dopper Weather Radar in Himachal Pradesh's Kufari

Shimla-India Meteorological Department (IMD) January 15, 2021, celebrated its 146th Foundation Day. IMD is one of the oldest, scientific service organizations in the country, in existence well before Independence.

On the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated Doppler Weather Radars at Mukteshwar, Uttarakhand and Kufri, Himachal Pradesh; Multi-Mission Meteorological Data Receiving and Processing System in IMD in collaboration with ISRO (MMDRPS).

According to the IMD, these modernized Radars would give a more specific short-range weather forecast.

It’s pertinent to mention that accurate and advance weather information is of utmost importance to Himachal Pradesh – a state largely dependent on agriculture and tourism.

The one installed in Kufari, Shimla, is Indigenous dual polarised X-Band Doppler Weather Radar. Two more Radars would be installed at Mandi and Dalhousie in Chamba district of the State. A site had already been finalized at Mandi and a site for Radar at Dalhousie would be finalized soon, the State Government informed.

This specific type of Radar uses the Doppler effect to gather velocity data. The Radar transmits a signal, which gets reflected when hits a raindrop. Based on the changes in the frequency of the reflected signal, data is obtained about the motion of droplets and intensity of the precipitation. Scientists can analyze this data to determine the structure and severity of storms.

Radar installed at Kufri is on test mode for a period of two weeks. Thereafter its data would be used for forecasting purposes. This Radar has a range upto 100 kilometres in radial distance. It would observe and provide the weather data of 100 kilometres in all directions, which would be used for forecasting purpose, especially for the short-range forecast. More précised area-specific weather forecast and warning can be issued for a particular place, for the weather phenomenon like thunderstorm, lighting, hailstorm, heavy rainfall/snowfall, gusty winds etc.    

This Centre would help the horticulturists and farmers of the State by providing them with accurate weather information.

The DWR Kufri would run round the clock and it is fully automatic. It would transmit the data in various digital format and picture form.

 Forecasting monsoons is the lifeline to India’s food security and affect the economy as the nation’s GDP is dependent on agriculture. Moreover, weather prediction is critical to reducing the loss of lives from various extreme events like a cyclone, heavy rain, thunderstorm, heatwave and cold wave, monsoonal floods and droughts.

India Meteorological Department says that it is modernizing its observational network in the Central and Western Himalayas by the installation of Doppler Weather Radars in a phased manner, at different locations.

IMD said that this radar will be providing severe weather information to the weather forecasters, thus, improving the safety of the public in the states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. It will also provide support to the disaster managers and the pilgrims undertaking the pilgrimage to Kailash Manasarovar and Char Dham yatra. 

 

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