Local Based Action and Local Climate Mitigation

Climate change and it's mitigation is the buzzword in conservation circles the world over. As global temperatures rise and vegetation patterns change globally influencing changes in climate patterns the fall-outs are manifold. Changes in crop productivity, effects on fish stock, floods and droughts, a wider distributional range of tropical diseases as weather patterns change and of course numerous species extinctions are a serious cause of concern.

The Kyoto Protocol and as we move forward the Paris round, REDD+ and various numerous conventions and treatise at International Levels hope to address the issues of climate change. While these are laudable and much needed actions on the parts of national governments there was no sincere help from the local administration in Pauri Garhwal to stop various illegal non-forest activities which saw legal action in the National Green Tribunal in New Delhi as a prime effort in saving these forests.

Being in denial for over 40 years the state government finally conceded that 450+ hectares of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates are forest. Land records which showed that many areas of these Estates were forests were hidden by the District Administration in a bid to encourage non-forest activity in these forests helping unscrupulous land sharks bypass forest and environment norms in a bid to fill their coffers.

It has been just a year since these wonderful forests have been given a new lease of life. With most of the non-forest activities being brought to a grinding halt by the Tribunal benefits have been flowing. Unbelievable is that while various agencies plundered these forests snowfall had not been recorded here for over ten years and has now started returning to the area. There have been four successive years of snowfall during the winter months here improving local climate conditions.

Snowfall returns to the Gadoli and Manda Khal Forests after over a decade as disturbances to these forests are brought to a stand still

With local climate conditions improving many villages on the periphery of the forests of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates reap the benefits too with improved water supply from the springs that originate on these Estates now being recharged as well as more predictable weather for local agriculture.

While the District Administration of Pauri Garhwal has flaunted the forest and environment norms of the country by allowing and turning a blind eye to the destruction of these forests successful litigation in the National Green Tribunal has shown that action directed to grass root based local action plays as much a role as policies, agreements and treatise  (most of which are not adhered to by the very government agencies which should be upholding them ) in order to maintain local climate and temperature patterns.