The National Green Tribunal has sought the reply of Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on a plea against grant of any clearance to any new project in ecologically sensitive Western Ghats.

The Tribunal also issued notices to the state governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu seeking their replies on the plea for implementation of the report by Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) on the protection and preservation of Western Ghats.

SHILLONG: The bio-diversity hotspots in the State are vanishing at a faster rate, cautioned State Principal Secretary of the Department of Forest and Environment MS Rao.

Giving an overview of the bio-diversity of the State during an official programme to mark the International Bio-diversity Day in Shillong, Rao said today, “Our State has bio-diversity hotspots to talk about but their richness is under threat.”

The Delhi High Court has upheld the Central Information Commission (CIC) order to make the report of the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) public by publishing it on Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) website. The court on May 17 dismissed an MoEF petition seeking not to disclose the report, saying it could affect economic and scientific interest of the states concerned — Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

The report, prepared by a panel chaired by ecology expert Madhav Gadgil, had been submitted to the MoEF in August 2011. Last year, RTI applicant G Krishnan had filed an application with the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the MoEF to obtain a summary of the report,

With rich forest and wildlife the Northeast is known as ‘Green Lungs of India’.

The region is one of the seven original biodiversity hotspots in the world, but most of its animals and birds are increasingly ending on food tables not only of the tribals who traditionally take such food but also of others including the large number of forces posted there.There are startling revelations that armed forces also indulge in hunting for food and sports in the border region.

Book Review - Biodiversity of Sikkim: Exploring and Conserving a Global Hotspot. M. L.Arrawatia and Sandeep Tambe (eds).

Human-driven land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) is one of the most important causes for depletion of biodiversity. Few studies have been undertaken to spatially identify the natural areas prone to LULCC and hence biodiversity loss. This article describes a geospatial modelling technique using a combination of drivers of LULCC, spatial distribution
of LULCC and topographic impedances for change in hotspot. A study has been carried out to establish the model. The model has shown that the natural areas having high population density in the vicinity are highly prone to LULCC.

CHENNAI: This weekend, the lake at Mudichur in Tambaram, which usually wears a deserted look, saw an unusual clean-up crew at work. Along with students in T-shirts and caps scouring the water like treasure hunters, were 42 Marines from the guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker that is currently docked at Chennai for a joint Indo-US military exercise.

Armed with cleaning implements, the marines and students — over 60 of them from various schools and colleges across the city – fished out polythene, rubber, thermocol and other environmentally harmful materials from the highly polluted lake.

The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will take a decision on including the Western Ghats as a World Heritage Site soon. The committee is expected to announce the decision at its session to be held at Saint Petersburg in Russia in June.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) will submit its recommendations on the mountain ranges, a biodiversity hotspot, to the committee by mid-April.

Agartala: While Forest Survey of India (FSI) Report 2009 showed a steady increase of forest cover in the North-East states, the latest report of FSI revealed that the region has lost about 549 sqkm green cover over the years.

FSI Report 2011 stated that Tripura alone had degraded about 96 sqkm of forest cover. The report, however, blamed shifting cultivation (Jhuming), slash and burn method of production in hilly parts of the region for degradation of natural forest and stated,

Guwahati: A project on forest and biodiversity conservation is on the anvil in Assam with assistance from the French Development Agency at an estimated cost of 60 million Euros.

With Assam being one of the bio-diversity hotspots in the country, a coordinated approach for conserving the biological heritage with involvement of research institutions, academicians and civil society was necessary and the new project will go a long way in fulfilling this aim.