JK Bank
Natural Resource Management: Challenges and threats in climate change scenario
About Us | Contact Us | E-Paper
Title :    Text :    Source : 

Natural Resource Management: Challenges and threats in climate change scenario

India is bestowed with diversity of natural resources and is one of the mega biodiversity regions of the world. There are challenges as far as management part of natural resources is concerned

Post by on Monday, January 24, 2022

First slide



First of all we have to understand the meaning of natural resources and how climatic change can cause problems in their sustainability. All floral wealth, fauna, land, water, minerals, air and forests etc which are bestowed to mankind by creator are natural resources on which life exists directly as well as indirectly. Natural resources include Non-Renewable and Non-Recyclable resources viz. fossil fuels, environmental resources and flow resources such as solar and wind energy. These are important for ecosystem services without which human life, ecological processes and soil productivity is not possible. India is bestowed with diversity of natural resources and is one of the mega biodiversity regions of the world. There are challenges as far as management part of natural resources is concerned. The major challenges are erosions and degradation of land, water, and biodiversity as well as most important components like quality of air, sun light which figures important from quality food production and value added services.


Challenges for Natural Resource Management:


Population pressure Vs Increasing food demand

Global population is rising at an alarming rate and population of India has reached around 1.3 billions and is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2050. This gives us alarm about requirement of food and biodiversity for sustainability of life. Calories consumption will be around 2825 kcal/person/day  in 2050 which stands today at around 2300 kcal/person/day which Indicates further expansion of 142 million hectares of land in future but fact of the matter reflects per capita land holding may go as down as 0.087 hectares. If we have to analyze net sown area it is around 46.3%. There will be demand for nonfarm activities as well due to the fact mining, industrial or infrastructure development is going on at fast pace which will ultimately put pressure on the availability of arable land.


Industrialization and urbanization are proceeding in unbalanced manner which will ultimately cause exploitation of natural resources. Land degradation and soil erosion are other threats to natural resources which one can understand through urban expansion and conversion of cultivated land to non food production. Data depicts degraded land at 121 million hectares among which 68.4% is due to water erosion followed by 25 million hectares due to chemical degradation, 12 million hectares by wind erosion and 1.1 million hectares by physical degradation. The grave issue of Indian annual soil loss rate is 15.35 tons per hectare which indicates 5.37 to 8.4 million tons of nutrient loss. The pattern of monsoon rainfall is changing and Indian sub-continent is likely to face 10% increase in intensity of rainfall as well as 10% increase in amount of rainfall by 2050. Production losses due to soil erosion estimates at 5% to 50%. From soil pH point of view 6.73 million hectares in distinct agro ecological regions is likely to expand 20 million hectares by 2050.


Concerns & Strategies

Recycling of crop residues which are produced at 80 million tons annually can help in enriching soil organic carbon. Most of the soils in central, southern and western India are deficient in nutrients and this crop residual recycling in an alternative of enrichment.


Climate change VS Climate variability

 From scientific observations it is predicted that temperature is likely to increase 1.7 to 20 C by 2030 and 3.3 to 4.80 C by 2080 and warming is likely to be more hazardous to northern parts of India. Green house gases are likely to reach 685 ppm by 2050 while as rainfall is likely to decline by 5 to 10% in southern parts of India followed by 10 to 20% in other regions. As far as number of rainy days and precipitation days are concerned may likely rise. From this observation we can understand that flora as well as fauna will be badly affected through changes in temperature, precipitation, length of growing season, undue changes in rainfall pattern, rising carbon dioxide concentration, increased incidences of diseases pest, weeds and degradation of soil through erosions. Declining of water availability is one of the important concerns as out of 4000 billion cubic meters annual precipitation the utility is estimated at 1123 BCM including 690 BCM is from surface water and 433 BCM from ground water resources respectively.


From scientific point of view total water demand will be 1447 BCM in 2050. The challenges include more production vs efficient utility of water resources in rain fed and water lodged areas. The present water demand is around 656 km3 which will go up to around 1069 km3 by 2050 including 75% for agriculture sector. Ground water is considered as largest source of irrigation amounting to 64% of net area of India compared to 38% at global level. This indicates a challenge of ground water level management. Quality of water is another factor in river basins. In most of the canal irrigated systems high salinity is induced which has been estimated to badly influence around 19.3 million hectares.


Forest Cover and Degradation

It has been estimated in India that tree cover of 78.29 million hectares amounting to 23.81% of geographical area this indicates possessing 2.76% of tree cover. There is a decrease in tree cover estimated at 367 km2. From national data point of view 12 states/UTs have shown decrease in tree cover by 867 km2 with 549 km2 in north eastern states particular reasons being practice of shifting cultivations. This is an eye opener as reported by national forest commission that 41% of the forest cover has been degraded. About 55% forests are fire proven while as 70% lack natural regeneration capacity. The growing demand for wood and wood products is vulnerability with conservation system.





Challenges and Management

·         Improved water management.

·         Water shed management.

·         Rain water harvesting.

·         Green technology for rehabilitation.

·         Efficient utilization of indigenous minerals.

·         Waste recycling.

·         Developing climate resilient agriculture system.

·         Improving salt affected soils.

·         Adaptation and mitigation of climate change.

·         Multiple uses of floral wealth.


Responsibility of understanding at community level

·         State property regimes.

·         Private property regimes.

·         Common property regimes.

·         Non property regimes.

·         Hybrid regimes.

·         Regional or community based NRM.

·         Precautionary approaches.

·         Adaptive management.

·         Integrated natural resource management.



(Dr. Nasir Hamid Masoodi, Faculty Divison of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture, SKUAST Shalimar Srinagar)

Latest Post