“Climate Change Threatens Himalayan Cedar

A recent study highlights the potential impact of climate change and increased greenhouse gas emissions on the Himalayan Cedar (Cedrus deodara), commonly known as deodar. The study, conducted by Indian researchers, reveals that deodar forests are likely to experience losses due to changing climatic conditions.

Deodar is valued for its timber quality, medicinal properties, and sacred significance. The research examines growth trends across different climates in the Himalayas, indicating that low and mid-latitude regions could experience a decline in deodar growth by up to 38%, while high-latitude sites might see a moderate increase. The study emphasizes the interaction between climate change, anthropogenic activities like deforestation, and competition from other species, causing a shrinkage in deodar’s distribution range.

How does climate change affect the growth of Himalayan Cedar (deodar)?

The study suggests that climate change, accompanied by increased temperatures and altered precipitation patterns, could lead to forest losses in deodar. Rising temperatures and decreased precipitation during pre-monsoon months (March to May) are identified as primary factors contributing to the decline in deodar growth. Dry conditions during the growing season due to elevated temperatures impact soil moisture and hinder photosynthetic activity, leading to reduced growth.

What are the potential consequences of decreased deodar growth?

Decreased deodar growth could have ecological and economic implications. Ecologically, deodar’s role in carbon sequestration and its contribution to the ecosystem might be compromised. Economically, the market for fine-grade timber, which deodar is known for, could be affected. Additionally, the medicinal and cultural values associated with deodar might also be impacted.

How does the study address the impact on deodar growth in different climates?

The research evaluates growth trends in deodar forests across low, middle, and high-latitude areas in the Himalayas. It suggests that while low and mid-latitude regions may experience significant declines in growth due to climate change, high-latitude sites could see a moderate increase.

What are Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5?

RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 are scenarios used to project future greenhouse gas emissions and their impact on climate change. RCP 4.5 represents a moderate scenario where emissions peak around 2040 and decline afterward, while RCP 8.5 is a more pessimistic “business-as-usual” scenario with continuous emissions rise throughout the 21st century.

How does the study suggest mitigating the impact on deodar?

The study recommends considering suitable measures to conserve deodar in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) region. It proposes taking migratory steps based on the findings to protect the species. Additionally, understanding the species’ sensitivity to climate stress, insect attacks, and other factors could aid conservation efforts.

What role does precipitation play in deodar growth?

Spring precipitation has a positive impact on deodar growth by enhancing photosynthesis and providing soil moisture. Snowmelt in spring contributes to soil moisture and supports growth by providing water for photosynthesis and cambial activity.



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