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Preventing flood flow will destroy Kaziranga ecology

By SIVASISH THAKUR

GUWAHATI, May 20 - Erosion has been a long-drawn problem for Kaziranga National Park but conservationists are undecided over whether to adopt artificial anti-erosion methods to protect the famed park�s landmass.

Some conservationists believe that the problem of erosion in Kaziranga is not acute, more so in view of the fact that the loss of land from erosion is compensated by accretion due to sediment deposition on another side through a natural process.

According to a study, the period from 1912 to 2008 saw the loss of a total land area of 150.04 sq km due to erosion by the Brahmaputra. At the same time, total landmass of 61.86 sq km got added, resulting in overall loss of 88.188 sq km land.

�The present level of erosion cannot be termed as alarming. While some land has been lost to erosion, new areas have also come up. It is a natural process and we do not think intervention in the form of anti-erosion measure is needed as yet,� Rohini Ballav Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer, Kaziranga told The Assam Tribune.

Saikia said that any structure in the form of raised embankment would spell doom for Kaziranga�s ecosystem which is intrinsically linked to the annual floods that inundate the park and sustain its floodplain habitat.

�Kaziranga�s wetlands and its overall floodplains get replenished by the floodwaters. Preventing the flood flow will destroy its ecology,� he said, adding that the State Water Resource Department was also studying the problem of erosion.

A conservationist well-versed with Kaziranga�s landscape said that checking erosion through un-raised barriers like stone spurs could be tried if the erosion worsens further. �It�s wise not tinker with natural systems but if the erosion gets worse, some preventive steps would be necessary,� he said.

According to the conservationist, erosion along the northern boundary of the park from Agaratoli to Arimura should be a matter of concern. �In any case, a loss of 88 sq km land from the park�s prime area of 430 sq km cannot be dismissed as totally irrelevant,� he said.

The study was divided into periods � 1912-1916 to 1972, 1972 to 1998, and 1998 to 2008. The total area eroded during 1912-1916 to 1972 was 84.87 sq km as compared to accretion of 24.49 sq km due to sediment deposition. The total area eroded during 1972-1998 was 44.769 sq km as against the addition of 29.47 sq km, and the total area eroded during 1998-2008 was 20.41 sq km as compared to accretion of 7.89 sq km.

The rates of erosion during 1912-1916 to 1972, 1972 to 1998, and 1998 to 2008 were 1.46 sq km, 1.59 sq and 1.021 sq km per year, respectively.

The study also hinted that in the future, deposition was likely to be more in upstream or eastern part of Kaziranga and erosion in middle part of Kaziranga.

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Preventing flood flow will destroy Kaziranga ecology

GUWAHATI, May 20 - Erosion has been a long-drawn problem for Kaziranga National Park but conservationists are undecided over whether to adopt artificial anti-erosion methods to protect the famed park�s landmass.

Some conservationists believe that the problem of erosion in Kaziranga is not acute, more so in view of the fact that the loss of land from erosion is compensated by accretion due to sediment deposition on another side through a natural process.

According to a study, the period from 1912 to 2008 saw the loss of a total land area of 150.04 sq km due to erosion by the Brahmaputra. At the same time, total landmass of 61.86 sq km got added, resulting in overall loss of 88.188 sq km land.

�The present level of erosion cannot be termed as alarming. While some land has been lost to erosion, new areas have also come up. It is a natural process and we do not think intervention in the form of anti-erosion measure is needed as yet,� Rohini Ballav Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer, Kaziranga told The Assam Tribune.

Saikia said that any structure in the form of raised embankment would spell doom for Kaziranga�s ecosystem which is intrinsically linked to the annual floods that inundate the park and sustain its floodplain habitat.

�Kaziranga�s wetlands and its overall floodplains get replenished by the floodwaters. Preventing the flood flow will destroy its ecology,� he said, adding that the State Water Resource Department was also studying the problem of erosion.

A conservationist well-versed with Kaziranga�s landscape said that checking erosion through un-raised barriers like stone spurs could be tried if the erosion worsens further. �It�s wise not tinker with natural systems but if the erosion gets worse, some preventive steps would be necessary,� he said.

According to the conservationist, erosion along the northern boundary of the park from Agaratoli to Arimura should be a matter of concern. �In any case, a loss of 88 sq km land from the park�s prime area of 430 sq km cannot be dismissed as totally irrelevant,� he said.

The study was divided into periods � 1912-1916 to 1972, 1972 to 1998, and 1998 to 2008. The total area eroded during 1912-1916 to 1972 was 84.87 sq km as compared to accretion of 24.49 sq km due to sediment deposition. The total area eroded during 1972-1998 was 44.769 sq km as against the addition of 29.47 sq km, and the total area eroded during 1998-2008 was 20.41 sq km as compared to accretion of 7.89 sq km.

The rates of erosion during 1912-1916 to 1972, 1972 to 1998, and 1998 to 2008 were 1.46 sq km, 1.59 sq and 1.021 sq km per year, respectively.

The study also hinted that in the future, deposition was likely to be more in upstream or eastern part of Kaziranga and erosion in middle part of Kaziranga.

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