Develop lake area as carbon sink: UNDP


Dushyant Singh Pundir

Chandigarh, November 17

For protection of environment, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called for developing Sukhna Lake and its catchment area as a “terrestrial carbon sink”.

To mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and abate pollution, the UNDP in its report ‘Future Ready Chandigarh 2030 amp; Beyond’ mentions: “Sukhna Lake and its catchment areas in Chandigarh offer a perfect opportunity to develop terrestrial carbon sink in the city through forest conservation, management of silt inflow and other such activities.”

Asserting that the lake area is a crucial hotspot for environmental conservation, the UNDP elaborates a few action points for its conservation.

The report suggests enrichment plantation, which is a practice of clearing out forests to grow a single commercially valuable species, in the catchment area. “Recent studies have shown enrichment plantation in secondary forests offers a promising clean development mechanism to increase terrestrial carbon sinks,” states the report.

Similarly, plantation of broad-leafed indigenous species for management of silt inflow in the lake and soil management will lead to forest conservation and increase in water levels.

Further, wildlife migration corridors connecting the Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary to other protected areas needs to be secured. This will require strong coordination and cooperation of the neighbouring states, suggests the report.

The UNDP suggests that planting indigenous fruit trees in landscaped areas and Sukhna Wildlife Protected Area will attract unban fauna.

“No diversion of notified forest land to non-forest use should be allowed. Also, policy formation, making it mandatory that all felling in this area should require plantation of twice the number of fruit trees and indigenous species of the regions, should be put in place,” says the report.

It further suggests prevention of grazing of cattle in forested and landscaped areas and impounding of all feral cattle is also important for ecosystem conservation and sustenance. Development of village common grazing grounds can address the issue.

Enhancement of linear tree plantation along city roads can also be an effective mechanism to promote urban forestry. The Warje Urban Forest in Pune can be used as a role model in implementation of the ‘Nagar Van’ scheme.

The forest area within the Pune municipal limit has been developed over 22 hectares and bears 6,500 trees as on date and about a thousand people visit it every day.

Containing emissions

Terrestrial carbon sink is anything, natural or otherwise, that accumulates and stores some carbon-containing chemical compound for an indefinite period, thereby removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Measures suggested

Adopt enrichment plantation — growing single valuable species — in Sukhna catchment areaPlant broad-leafed indigenous species to contain silt inflow in lake; will help increase water levelSecure wildlife migration corridors connecting Sukhna Wildlife Sanctuary to other protected areasPrevent grazing of cattle in forested and landscaped areas and impound all feral cattle