Bombay Natural History Society launches climate change programme in Central Himalayas

  • The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has launched climate changeprogramme under which the first study funded by Oracle and facilitated by CAF-India, will assess the status, distribution and conservation of pheasants and finches in the Central Himalayas.
  • The Himalayas hold a rich natural heritage with diverse flora and fauna enhancing the beauty of the region. The study will focus on their conservation in the context of climate change with the help of community participation.
  • The Indian subcontinent is home to nearly 50 species of pheasants and 62 species of finches, with several species listed in ‘Globally Threatened’ category by IUCN.
  • Both these groups are spread across the Himalayas. Shrinking habitats combined with several biotic factors, along with trapping and poaching pressures in many areas have pushed several of them to near extinction.
  • “Climate change can highly influence vertical and horizontal distribution of these groups making boundaries of protected areas fuzzy.
  • The species that can adapt will survive but habitat specialist and species sensitive to temperature will suffer.
  • The major aim of this project is to assess the status of phasinidaes and fringillidaes, particularly globally threatened species found in Himalayan region and evaluate their distribution.

About  Bombay Natural History Society:

  • The Bombay Natural History Society, founded on 15 September 1883, is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society.
  • Many prominent naturalists, including the ornithologists Sálim Ali and S. Dillon Ripley, have been associated with it.
  • The society is commonly known by its initials, BNHS. BNHS is the partner of BirdLife International in India.
  • It has been designated as a ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’ by the Department of Science and Technology.

The Central Himalayan Domain, (CHD) or High Himalaya, forms the backbone of the Himalayan orogen and encompasses the areas with the highest topographic relief. It is commonly separated into four zones.

  1. The High Himalayan Crystalline Sequence, HHCS (approximately 30 different names exist in the literature to describe this unit; the most frequently found equivalents are Greater Himalayan Sequence, Tibetan Slab and High Himalayan Crystalline) is a 30-km-thick, medium- to high-grade metamorphic sequence of metasedimentary rocks which are intruded in many places by granites of Ordovician (c. 500 Ma) and early Miocene (c. 22 Ma) age. Although most of the metasediments forming the HHCS are of late Proterozoic to early Cambrian age, much younger metasediments can also be found in several areas (Mesozoic in the Tandi syncline and Warwan region, Permian in the Tschuldo slice, Ordovician to Carboniferous in the Sarchu Area). It is now generally accepted that the metasediments of the HHCS represent the metamorphic equivalents of the sedimentary series forming the base of the overlying Tethys Himalaya. The HHCS forms a major nappe which is thrust over the Lesser Himalaya along the Main Central Thrust (MCT).
  2. The Tethys Himalaya (TH) is an approximately 100-km-wide synclinorium formed by strongly folded and imbricated, weakly metamorphosed sedimentary series. Several nappes, termed North Himalayan Nappes[16] have also been described within this unit. An almost complete stratigraphic record ranging from the Upper Proterozoic to the Eocene is preserved within the sediments of the TH. Stratigraphic analysis of these sediments yields important indications on the geological history of the northern continental margin of the Indian sub-continent from its Gondwanian evolution to its continental collision with Eurasia. The transition between the generally low-grade sediments of the Tethys Himalaya and the underlying low- to high-grade rocks of the High Himalayan Crystalline Sequence is usually progressive. But in many places along the Himalayan belt, this transition zone is marked by a major structure, the Central Himalayan Detachment System (also known as South Tibetan Detachment System or North Himalayan Normal Fault) which has indicators of both extension and compression.
  3. The Nyimaling-Tso Morari Metamorphic Dome, NTMD: In the Ladakh region, the Tethys Himalaya synclinorium passes gradually to the north in a large dome of greenschist to eclogitic metamorphic rocks. As with the HHCS, these metamorphic rocks represent the metamorphic equivalent of the sediments forming the base of the Tethys Himalaya. The Precambrian Phe Formation is also here intruded by several Ordovician (c. 480 Ma) granites.
  4. The Lamayuru and Markha Units (LMU) are formed by flyschs and olistholiths deposited in a turbiditic environment, on the northern part of the Indian continental slope and in the adjoining Neotethys basin. The age of these sediments ranges from Late Permian to Eocene.

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