Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Evergreen forests to move up North over the next 100 years, says IPCC report

The increase in Dengue outbreaks over the last few years in South Asia has been attributed to increase in temperature and rainfall, says an observation made by the Working Group 11 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in its most recent report concerning the South Asia region.

Increasing temperatures affect vector-borne pathogens during the extrinsic incubation period and shorten vector life-cycles facilitating large vector populations and enhanced disease transmission, states the report that was released on Monday. 

Some of the common vector-borne diseases that affect the South India include Malaria, Dengue fever and Chickengunya among others. Even outbreaks of vaccine-preventable Japanese encephalitis have been linked to rainfall in studies from the Himalayan region.

The study group has also observed that there has been an increase in the number of warm days and a decrease in the number of cold days with the warming trend continuing into the new millennium across Asia. As far as the monsoons are concerned, the report states that there would be an increase in precipitation extremes in the future. “All models and scenarios project an increase in both the mean and extreme precipitation in the Indian summer monsoon,” says the report.

The future of forests in the country also seems to be a huge shift as the report suggests that atleast a third of the forest area in the country would shift from deciduous to tropical evergreen forests by the year 2100. However, fragmentation and other human pressures could slow these changes, the report stated.

While the forests in South India are tropical evergreen, the impact would be felt in the hilly areas of the North where the vegetation is predominantly deciduous. Such a dramatic shift in forest vegetation will have a major impact on the biodiversity of the country as various plant and animal species native to the south would move up north in the coming years, according to biologists.

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