State of Jammu and Kashmir: Issues for Biodiversity

State of Jammu and Kashmir: Issues for Biodiversity

Question: J&K is endowed with rich natural resources and it is a biodiversity hotspot. However, fauna and flora are in danger due to various factors. Examine the issues hampering biodiversity in Jammu & Kashmir.

• J&K is endowed with varied flora and fauna. The biodiversity of the state provides livelihood to local persons as well

• However, land and water resources have faced depletion in recent time due to the following:

- Deforestation
- Overgrazing
- Unsuitable agricultural practices
- Constitution of roads through forests

This has resulted in major soil erosion and loss of nutrients


• Kashmir Himalaya comprises 3054 species from which 880 species are reported from Ladakh and 506 species from Jammu

• There are high rates of deforestation and endemicity in Kashmir

• Eight critical hotspots are located in the whole Himalayan belt namely Ladakh and Kashmir Himalayas

• Many species have been threatened towards extinction as they have not been counted or studied for decades
• Several plant species have become extinct due to land upheavals, volcanic eruptions, excessive drought, spread of forest fires and so forth

• Bio-prospecting for medicinal herbs is a major factor in extinction of flora

• Close to 22 medicinal plants in the valley are endangered and a major percentage(80%) will become extinct in the near future


• Around 45% of the biodiversity of the state as far as mammals are concerned is globally threatened in the IUCN Red Data List and 34% is included in Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972

• Species of animals have been wiped out due to:

- Hunting
- Grazing competition with domestic livestock
- Poaching for fur trade
- Commercialisation of biomass based subsistence resources
- Threat to existing protected areas
- Grazing pressure
- Danger to wetlands
- Elimination of genetic resources
- Over use of chemicals/fertilisers/pesticides in horticulture/agriculture
- Impact of tourism
- Breakdown of conventional systems
- Lack of centres for ecology or biodiversity information management

Facts and Stats

• J&K is home to 75 species of mammals and subspecies belonging to 54 genera, 8 orders and 21 families

• Of total mammals in state, 20 are from high altitudes, 16 are in the temperate area and 3 are in sub tropical areas

• Diverse avifauna comprises 180 species

• Construction of one km road entails a loss of about 40,000 to 80,000 sq.m of debris from the mountain slopes; this spurs landslides and soil erosion

• Erosion of a single ha of land on the road leads to loss of following nutrients:

- 143 gm nitrogen,
- 628 gm potassium,
- 1377 calcium
- 1316 carbon
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