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Fish found in streams and rivers are a source of food to about 40% of the households in parts of the Himalayas. Including fisheries in local watershed management is crucial.

Watershed management, which is an integrated set of soil and water conservation techniques that retain runoff and so increase water availability, can provide an environment for fisheries development for food or trade. Fish found in streams and rivers serve as a source of food in varying degrees for about 40% of the households in the mid-Himalayas, which lie between the Siwaliks and the Great Himalayas at an altitude of 3,700 to 4,500 metres. However declining flows in streams and rivers, combined with unsustainable fishing practices, have led to a decline in fish availability.

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Local knowledge, low cost technology, community participation and maximum conservation of available water from natural sources have helped increase available water in Pauri Garhwal.

Despite being endowed with adequate rainfall, most parts of the Himalayas are considered water-stressed for both agricultural and domestic purposes. This is mainly due to the seasonality of precipitation, which is concentrated to the monsoon months. It remains dry for rest of the year. The water crisis in the hills can be attributed to human interventions in the natural springs’ recharge zones. 

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Two villages used the same spring as their source of water for generations but over time, it divided rather than unite them. What caused it and was it ever resolved?

Numerous small villages dot the Himalayas. These villages obtain water from springs that are in their turn supplied by small aquifers. Due to the complex folded nature of the rocks that make up the mountains, the area from which these aquifers receive their water may be at some distance away from the actual spring. This makes it hard on people working to recharge springs because often, the source and the spring aren't in close proximity. In most cases like these, such water conflicts remain unresolved.

But not at Bhadyun and Bheduli.

A tale of two villages

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Thirty hydroelectric projects have been planned in Kinnaur district, Himachal Pradesh. There is an immense cost to the environment and to the residents but the government isn't letting up.

Clear blue skies, natural springs and glacial peaks-tranquility. Falling stones, landslides and debris-chaos! Kinnaur, located on  the northeastern side of Himachal Pradesh, lets you experience both. It falls in seismic zones IV and V, which means it runs the the risk of damaging and destructive earthquakes. Also, its young mountains lack deep-rooted vegetation making it prone to frequent landslides. 

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Pakistan asks India to withdraw its troop from the virgin snow

Asserts that the presence of Indian troops in Siachen is leading to environmental degradation and pollution in one of the main sources of water in Pakistan.

Water sharing issues of new states to be dealt by Central govt

Deforestation and climate change are only two of the issues that confront Himalayan forests today. What are the others and are there solutions to protect these forests?

Himalayan forests span a two-and-a-half thousand kilometer stretch and have a wide range of climates; they are beset by problems that need innovative solutions. Rajesh Thadani discussed these problems and possible solutions at  the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit organised in Kohima, September 2013. 

Forest cover is declining

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Policy matters this week: Climate change talks at Warsaw end up in dispute, a new division for the Himalayas and NHRC issues notice to the government on pollution in the Ganga.

Money deals mar climate talks in Warsaw

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Mountain farmers are reaping greater economic benefits but that is coming at the cost of traditional crops and natural resources. How long can this type of growth be sustained?

Mountain farmers are facing a very volatile situation right now. Food crops are being replaced by cash crops, which return better dividends. Due to this, their overall economy has gotten much better. As a whole, more of them are migrating from rural to urban areas. Their nomadic way of life is dwindling away as grazing lands are shrinking, traditional routes are being blocked in the name of development and newer generations are acquiring more education.

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Exclusive policies, preservation of traditional practices and efficient trade linkages can help mountain farmers reap a good harvest.

Can we really address the special needs of mountain states by allocating them more money? Isn't it essential that we leave the 'one size fits all' approach and recognise the exclusive challenges and opportunities which mountain farmers face as compared to farmers in the plains? 

These were the main questions that were raised in the agriculture session of the Sustainable Mountain Development Summit- III held at Kohima, Nagaland, from September 25-27, 2013.

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