Climate change effects in the Western Himalayan ecosystems of India : evidence and strategies
CITATION: Tewari, V. P., Verma, R. K. & Von Gadow, K. 2017. Climate change effects in the Western Himalayan ecosystems of India : evidence and strategies. Forest Ecosystems, 4:13, doi:10.1186/s40663-017-0100-4.
The original publication is available at https://forestecosyst.springeropen.com
Background: The fragile landscapes of the Himalayan region are highly susceptible to natural hazards, and there is ongoing concern about current and potential climate change impacts. This study provides background information on India’s Western Himalayas and reviews evidence of warming as well as variability in precipitation and extreme events. Methods: Understanding and anticipating the impacts of climate change on Himalayan forest ecosystems and the services they provide to people are critical. Efforts to develop and implement effective policies and management strategies for climate change mitigation and adaptation requires particular new research initiatives. The various studies initiated and conducted in the region are compiled here. Results: Several new initiatives taken by the Himalayan Forest Research Institute in Shimla are described. This includes new permanent observational field studies, some with mapped trees, in high altitude transitional zones for continuous monitoring of vegetation response. We have also presented new strategies for mitigating potential climate change effects in Himalayan forest ecosystems. Conclusions: Assessment of the ecological and genetic diversity of the Himalayan conifers is required to evaluate potential responses to changing climatic conditions. Conservation strategies for the important temperate medicinal plants need to be developed. The impact of climate change on insects and pathogens in the Himalayas also need to be assessed. Coordinated efforts are necessary to develop effective strategies for adaptation and mitigation