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5 Simple Steps to Take Advantage in a Downturn Economy

Many businesses struggle in this economy that stresses about ways to stretch the dollar and gain customers to maintain business goals.  In the month that started with April Fools, it seems fitting to talk about ways to avoid the pranks of an economic recession.  No matter what industry or business, the problems and issues facing business owners might seem insurmountable in any economy; however, there are ways to make the most of a downturned economy to help business flourish and grow.

If you are considering your business goals for the first time or seeking to gain a new outlook on your current business structure, think about these Five Simple Steps to Take Advantage in a Downturn Economy:

1. Build your Business Social Network—In the daily hustle and bustle of growing a business, contacts and networking often suffer from a lack of face time.  The most important measures for building strong customer relationships and business growth, this is the perfect time to re-establish a connection with past contacts or take the time to build new contacts into your network.  From online communities like LinkedIn to networking communities like Women Connections, adding social network to your business can bring heavy returns in connections and support.

2. Gain Guidance—Whether this is your time to discover your purpose or find a support network through Boost your Business Mastermind Coaching take advantage of your time to find the direction needed to amp your sales and gain perspective into your goals.   As time passes, it is easy to lose direction and get off track with business goals.  Finding a good support structure and examining your business strengths against your weaknesses will help you locate the next steps.

3. Evaluate Your Course of Action—Every business has important things that they do not have time to complete due to day to day activities that are time consuming.  From customer satisfaction surveys to email blasts about new products, these steps can function to both build your customer involvement in your company and find new ways to turn past customers into repeat customers.

4. Replan Your Approach—Once you have taken the time to build a network of connections, find the guidance you need to discover your purpose, and examine what steps you are missing from your current business efforts, the next step is to replan your route to business success.  With the constant change in communication, functionality, and availability of resources for businesses, it is possible to do more with less and to approach new markets with more niche products.  By taking a good long look at the strategies you have been using over the last 12 months (maybe even longer!), you will be able to update your approach to you business with fresh ideas about reaching your customers and understanding their needs.  Now, build a new plan using these ideas as a basis for approaching your customer base.

5. Execute Your Plan—After restructuring your thinking, approach, and taking a long hard look at your course of action, you have a new plan of action.  The last step is always the hardest:  execution and responsibility.  Here is where the groundwork of the first two steps really benefits business owners suffering in a downturned economy.  Through connecting with networking groups and forming a support structure with dynamic events like Boost your Business Master Mind Coaching Group, you will have a readymade team of synergy waiting to give you feedback on ideas and input on direction with a wide net of experiences and points of view.

When the economy shifts as it has in the past year, business owners tend to feel powerless to control the outcome and overwhelmed by day-to-day decisions.  By shifting perspectives and standing outside of the leadership role of running a business, it is both possible and probable to use the economic uncertainty to your business advantage with these 5 simple steps to taking advantage in a downturned economy.

Finally someone who helps women find their stride in business!

Jane Morrison teaches prosperity and business principals to professionals in business.. If you’re looking for more self assuredness, sales techniques that work, strategies to work smarter and not harder, and are ready to start living your dreams, she’s ready to turn your life around. Contact her at jane@smartsavvysuccess.com

For a free copy of Six Steps for Savvy Business Success, http://www.smartsavvysuccess.com/ecourse.htm

Private Sector Development: Creating Markets and Transforming Lives

There is no denying the fact that nowadays, Privatization, has created much fascination and imitated a wide-ranging curiosity in tumbling the task of the status in national economies, at the same time, it has adopted active steps in enhancing the scope of private ownership as well as private sector development. Such sort of tendency has been developed since twenty years back. The ever-increasing demands of privatization envisage both the conceptual longing for smaller arena and credence in the advanced economic performance of the private sector as a tentative flow.

1. Privatization: the Definitions and raison d’être

Lane, a world wide economist has defined Privatisation as follows:

“The growing appeals of privatisation as a set of strategies for restructuring the public sector shoot from a dissatisfaction with the time-honoured organizational structure of the public sector. It is claimed that the customary agency replica originating in the Weberian approach to bureaucracy faces rigorous problems of control and efficiency”

The meanings of privatisation emanate from alternative public ownership with private sector to the preamble of private management techniques into the public sector. Although much awareness has been focused on the magnificent illustration of the first type of private sector phenomena as well as creating market, likewise, in the sale of public enterprises, the most extensive type of privatisation is the rummage around for internal reform within the public sector under the authority of private management style.

In respect of the expansion of private sector, creating markets by introducing variety of products are vitally important. In 1991, Hartley and Parker, has carried out research work on private sector and jointly defined privatisation in a wider perception as follows:

“Privatisation envisages denationalisation or selling-off state-owned assets, de-regulation like liberalization, competitive tendering, collectively with the introduction of private ownership and market arrangements in socialist states. Eastern Europe like USSR may be exemplified in due sense.”

Suffice it to say that privatisation is the choice of different plans premeditated to adjust the existing equilibrium between the public and private sector.

The underlying principle for privatisation, though quite versatile, has been aptly summarised by Minogue, Polidano and Hume in1998 as follows.

“Increasingly it is the private sector which is seen as having the managerial capacity, flexibility and competitive drive essential for the efficient and effective provision of many activities previously assumed to be the prefecture of public sector”.

Thus the disenchantment with the public sector set the educate of privatisation in motion by asserting that “In many countries the public sector has failed to be the engine of national development; in some countries it is even the main barrier to development”.

2. Approaches to Privatisation

In 1988, Cook and Kirkpatrick have identified three main approaches to privatisation:

Change in the ownership of an enterprise from the public to private sector. Denationalisation or divestiture can be the means to accomplish this.

Privatisation through liberalisation, or deregulation, of entry into activities previously restricted to public sector enterprises. It is argued that the removal of restrictions is intended to increase the role of competition in the hitherto protected market, a variant of privatisation will have occurred, even though no transfer of ownership of assets has been involved.

Where the provision of a good and service is transferred from the public to private sector, while the government retains ultimate responsibility for supplying the service. Franchising or contracting-out, of public services and the leasing of public assets to the private sectors are examples.

Privatisation as a policy has been allied with various objectives. Introduction or extension of market forces reflected in the profit motive, competition, greater efficiency and innovation are expected to benefit the consumers. Privatisation policy has also been linked with a longing for wider share ownership and a creation of share-owning democratic system; while in some cases, the policy aims to trim down the size of the public sector through denationalisation.

“Perspective Proposals have also been made that in some countries (for example, UK, Malaysia, China and South Africa); the real purpose of the policy is to reduce the monopoly power of the public sector trade unions”. But some of the above objectives may be in conflict. Reducing the size of the public sector by selling public assets may not be compatible with the goal of efficiency if it involves merely transferring monopoly power from the public to the private sector without ensuring competition and rivalry. Maximising the number of shareholders may be achieved by under pricing of share, which is in conflict with the aim to maximise the treasury income following the rules and perspectives of private sector phenomena.

3. Privatisation and Economic Efficiency

Although privatisation may be pursued for one or all of the above reasons, the central issue revolves around privatisation focuses on enterprise performance and efficiency. But gains in efficiency performance more likely to result from an increase in market competition than from a change in ownership. “If the principal objective of privatisation is to increase economic efficiency, the policy priority should be to increase competition, not to transfer productive activities to the private sector (Cook and Kirkpatrick, 1988).

A case study in Bangladesh on inter-temporal analysis of the fertiliser trade before and after privatisation has demonstrated that deregulation has allowed to run free market forces and increased competition. It has also increased the availability of fertiliser to farmers and enhanced efficiency and productivity (World Bank, 1996b). But changing for the better in economic performance depend not only on ownership, but also on competition and managerial freedom.

Besides the goal of efficiency, LDCs engaged in privatisation for a variety of reasons: to generate instantaneous cash income; encourage specific types of industrial development; encourage foreign investment; improve or develop capital markets; or implement a free market philosophy of economic and development case for privatisation is based on:

Public ownership is more extensive than can be justified in a mixed economy perspective

The performance of the public enterprises is relative to that of private firms, and

The inherent characteristics of public ownership – such as excessive government intervention – often cause inefficiency.

5. The Limits of Privatisation

For the developing countries, Turner and Hume (1997) have identified some constraints which limit the success of privatisation. They are shortage of sophisticated and specialised skills to needed to manage a privatisation programme; absence of developed stock market; inadequate attention to place the in the context of a broader programme of economic reform and the existing political environment.

“Resistance to public enterprises reform also comes from trade unions. These can be well organised, numerically strong and have good political connections”.

Thus successful reform, inter alia, privatisation, according to World Bank (1995), must qualify three political conditions:

Reform must be politically desirable to the leadership and its constituencies; political benefits outweigh political costs.

Reform must be politically feasible: leaders must be able to able to overcome opposition, either by compensating losers or compelling their compliance.

Reforms must be politically credible to significant stakeholders (for example employees, investors).

E. FOOD SECURITY: THE CENTRAL ISSUSES in Private Sector Perspectives

Defining and interpreting food security, and measuring it in reliable, valid and cost-effective ways have proven to be stubborn problems facing researchers and programmes intended to monitor food security risks. ‘Malthusian spectre of famine’ has obsessed the policymakers, over past few decades, to adopt a comprehensive food security policy to avert any crisis. Given its tremendous importance in the political – economy of a democratic society as such, attempts have been made to define food security.

1. Food Security : the Definitions

The sharp rise in world food prices in the preceding two years of World Food Conference in 1974 and fear that the world food system is running out of control, the UN emphasises these concerns in its final report to speak clearly enough and defines food security as:

Availability at all times of adequate world supplies of basic food-staffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption .and to offset fluctuations and prices.

Major components of the most common definitions of food security are summed up by Maxwell and Franken Berger (1992) as “Secure access at all times to sufficient food for a healthy life’ Summarising the conceptual literature on food security Maxell and Franken Berger finally conclude:

“First, “enough” food is mostly defined. With emphasis on calories, and on requirements ….. For an active, healthy life rather than simple survival – although this assessment may in the end be subjective. Second, access to food is determined by food entitlements, which are derived from human and physical capital, assets and stores, access to common property resources and a variety of social contracts at household, community and state levels. Third, the risk of entitlement failure determines the level of vulnerability and hence the level of food insecurity, with risk being greater, the higher the share of resources ….. devoted to food acquisition. And finally, food insecurity can exist on a permanent basis (chronic) or on a temporary basis (transitory) or in cycles”.

A full definition of food security thus includes the related concepts of access, sufficiency, security (or vulnerability), and sustainability.

Maxwell (1996) has identified three important and overlapping paradigm shifts in the history of thinking about food security since the world Food Conference in 1974. These shifts are:

1. from the global and the national to the household and the individual,

2. from a food first perspective to livelihood perspective, and

3. From objective indicators to subjective perception (ibid.).

He also identifies the evolution of food policy in historical perspective and observes that ‘The term has been applied more recently mostly at a local level and has been broadened beyond notions of food supply to include elements of access, vulnerability and sustainability”

Food security, thus, in true sense, encompasses a broad landscape implying

‘Access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life’ (World Bank, 1986, p. 1).But availability does not necessarily mean access to food. Working on the historical data, Pinstripe-Anderson and Pandya-Lorch (1999) has demonstrated that “Gains in availability of food have not been matched by corresponding gains in access to it” Between access and availability, various driving forces influence their relative position. While on the other hand, income levels and economic growth, human resource development, and population growth and movements constitute the factors influencing access. Thus a comprehensive food security policy must include availability, access and utilisation aspects. Unfortunately in an underdeveloped economy, food security discussions and planning it is often forgotten and have a narrower focus, over-emphasising the estimated ‘food gap’, the difference between a target level of availability and domestic production. But the ‘food gap’ analysis concentrates only on the availability of food grains, thus neglecting other foods. Moreover, focus on the ‘food gap’ has often diverted attention from other major aspects of food security: access and utilisation.

Policy Options for Food Security

Thus access and availability having been established as the most important pillar of food security, its due importance can be rationalised in terms of production stability. But one of the major features of agricultural production is production instability. Some of the main causes of this are climatic variations, and dynamic lagged reactions to farmers to previous instability or other shocks such as changes to government policy. In market economies the aggregate effects of production instability and the resulting variations in supply lead to price and income changes in the commodity markets directly affected and in related markets for other goods, services and resources. It is these changes in prices and/or incomes stemming from production instability that create problems for most groups in society. Equally, price instability dampens potential investments by the private sector in off-farm marketing and processing facilities. “Consumers, in general, will also be directly affected by agricultural production instability through its effect on the availability and price of food. These impacts are likely to be most severe in low income economies, and in low income households, where food represents a large proportion of total expenditure. In these circumstances, variations in food prices and/or availability induce changes in real income or real purchasing power and food security, in the sense that access to food, or its availability, is compromised”. Falcon (1987) while commenting on the food security have, however, identified both supply and demand side policy options at the national level. According to them supply side policy options include national buffer stocks, imports, and even the use of future markets, as well as increased domestic production. Consumption-side policy options include a host of direct measures designed to reach low-income consumers and, more recently, growing attention to the importance of food price policy. This implies that supply-side policies are concerned with macroeconomic efficiency – determining the set of aggregate food security policies that is the most efficient and therefore the least costly to the economy. On the other hand, consumption-side policies are implicitly concerned with maximising benefits – obtaining consumer equity for the most disadvantaged.

“Food price policy is the link between the supply and consumption objectives”. This further implies that to achieve food security, a policy prescription containing both supply and demand side options is necessary, and following Falcon et al (1987) food price policy, inter alia, stable food price plays a very dominant role in achieving food security. But Greenfield et al. (1996) contend that the task of price stabilisation, after the implementation of Uruguay Round Agreement on Agriculture will be lesser significance, for an important anticipated benefit accruing from the Uruguay Round was reduced price instability.

4. Food Security and Price Stabilisation

Though initially it was explained that ‘food availability decline’ caused famine, Sen (1981) has established that absence of ‘entitlement’ caused it. While discussing the cause of starvation he observed, “This is seen as the result of his inability to establish entitlement to enough food; the question of the physical availability of the food is not directly involved”. Introducing ‘exchange entitlement’, he argues that relative prices are very important in the explanation of famine, particularly a sharp rise in food prices and with a given money wage, his entitlement to food is reduced to a great margin. This further suggests, particularly in respect of food security, there is some intrinsic value in price situation.

But Smith (1997) attempts to relate price with food security by increasing the supply. In doing so he introduces the concepts of ‘spatial’ and ‘inter-temporal’ arbitrage. According to him,

“Of course, stabilizing prices in the face of a food shortage will not ensure food security. However, within a particular area, price instability can be reduced and food security enhanced either by spatial arbitrage, which is, by moving supplies from surplus to deficit areas, or by inter-temporal arbitrage, that is, storing supplies in periods of abundance to release in times of shortage”. Arbitrage, however, is a costly exercise and these costs can be clearly identified, though frequently ignored by the governments. Many of the benefits of stabilisation relate to producer, consumer and investor confidence that may have dynamic, non-quantifiable but valuable, effects on the growth of the economy.

Islam and Thomas (1996), on the other hand, have identified that the objectives of price stabilisation is something bigger than reducing the variability of real prices.

“These include ensuring a floor or an incentive price to producers and a ceiling price to consumers in order to protect them, especially the consumers, from a high or sudden rise in food prices; attainment of increased self-sufficiency in food grains and the highest possible foreign exchange earnings through maintenance of high and stable prices. Price stabilization per se, in the sense of reducing the variability of real prices by a certain percentage, was not the sole objective”.

Even World Bank (1996a), while commenting on the food security scenario in Bangladesh, contends that a decline in the domestic price of rice thus making it more inexpensive

“Such flexible criterion is the most effective way of improving the welfare of poor households since, on balance, the majorities of such households are net consumers of rice rather than producers, and rice dominates their food consumption”. Economist Benham says,” This criterion of food security influences the living standard of human beings virtually and tentatively”

Reasons for creating private sector market in terms of public sector perspectives:

Timmer (1985), while justifying the role of government, have advocated for a dual market i.e. a second market through public distribution system and the other market through private sector distribution phenomena. Their point of argument is that if some poor are excluded from the system (i.e., they are denied food grains from the public distribution system), they are doubly disadvantaged. For not only are they denied cheap grain from the ration shops, but the free market price is now substantially higher than it would have been in the absence of the dual price system. But the rationale of government intervention, particularly the role of price policy pursued by the government, is a matter of great importance and ongoing debate. In this respect, Timmer (1989) has identified a three-way debate in this area. The first promoter of this debate is the free market school. According to this school, agricultural prices should reflect their opportunity costs at their border, independent of international market processes as well as price levels. This pricing strategy would ensure optimal efficiency of resource allocation and minimal rent-seeking activity. The border price paradigm is the intellectual foundation of this approach. The second supporter, the structuralism approach, argues that the border price paradigm is misdirected, at least, for the domestic price determination of basic foodstuffs, for they have important roles in the macro economy and welfare of consumers. Supply and demand elasticity of these commodities is very small, so the triangles of allocating losses, due to domestic prices not equalling the marginal prices, are trivial. They argue that the marginal prices are heavily influenced by gross distortions in agricultural policies in the developed world and a poor indicator on resources should be allocated in the long run.

“Accordingly, prices should be set to favour income distribution objectives in conjunction with macroeconomic stability”. The third approach, the emerging ‘stabilization’ school competes that “By following short-run price movements in international markets an economy incurs significant efficiency losses, but the economy incurs equally significant efficiency losses by not following longer-run trends in international opportunity costs (whatever the market processes that determine them). Optimal efficiency thus calls for some degree of market intervention to stabilize short-run prices, but there must be sufficient flexibility to allow domestic prices to reflect international price trends. Rent-seeking behaviour is constrained, if not eliminated, by using competitive market agents to carry out most marketing activities following the private sector phenomena, but within government-established price bands”.

6. Food Security: The Role of Private Sector

In the developing countries, one of the factors determining the legitimacy and survival of a government is its ability to provide food security to its citizen. Governments are affected, in a variety of ways, by production instability and the resulting food insecurity. Governments have to respond to electoral concerns and pressure group activities from a varied group of stake-holders like farmers, consumers, industrialists and above all, rent-seekers. Therefore in virtually every country the government assumes a major responsibility for coping with the problems of production instability and the provision of food security. But Smith (1997) contends that though several reasons exist for government intervention to relieve the effects of production instability, many forms chosen in the past have proved to be ineffective or costly ways of achieving this aim. He concludes that

“The private sector, allowed to trade, freely at world prices with a little tweaking of border levies, can provide all the food security and stability that is required”

5. Role of Private Sector in Bangladesh

Dorosh (1999a) has proved the above contention and demonstrated that private sector rice imports have helped to stabilise the market supplies, benefiting the consumers of rice and saving the Government of Bangladesh the purchase and distribution costs of importing the rice. Needless to say, this helps the government to avert a mini food crisis, and introduced a new dimension in the concept of food security in Bangladesh. Subsequently Dorosh (1999b) has identified that that trade liberalisation played a very important role behind the success of private sector involvement and concludes that “Trade liberalization can enhance national food security. By providing an automatic mechanism to increase domestic supply and stabilize prices, the trade liberalization in Bangladesh helped to ensure availability of food grain and stabilize prices.” Though increased food security may not be a primary objective of trade liberalization, the Bangladesh experience shows that the two can in fact be compatible.

8. Food Security: the Overall Strategies

The two extreme solutions to a food strategy can be as follows:

Food self – sufficiency

Application of pure theory of comparative advantage

But Janvry (1987) considers both of them as unacceptable. Because in the first one the cost is too high, while in the second, the risks are too great and it has negative effects on some groups that have very low income. Janvry finally concludes, “most countries have therefore tried to formulate food security strategies that judiciously balance these extremes. The main problem is, however, not to formulate an optimum national strategy but to formulate a strategy that ensures food security for all population groups”

Maxwell (1996b), basing on the works of World Bank (1988), Dreze and Sen (1989) and Maxwell (1992), compiles a list of consensus strategy for food security in Africa. Though Africa is notoriously prone to internecine civil war and resultant chronic famines widely, the strategies, with exception of relevant two or three, are universally pertinent.

A primary focus on supplying vulnerable people and households with secure access to food; individual and household needs take precedence over issues of national food self-sufficiency or self-reliance.

The importance of poverty-reducing economic growth; poor rural and urban people need secure and sustainable livelihoods, with adequate incomes and reasonable buffers against destitution.

A balance between food and cash crops is likely to be the best route to food security, following the principle of long-term comparative advantage rather than of self-sufficiency for its own sake.

Finally, food security planning should follow a ‘process’ rather than a ‘blue-print’ approach, with large-scale decentralisation, a bias to action over planning, the encouragement of risk-taking and innovation, and the fostering of task cultures not role cultures in multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral planning teams.

9. Food safekeeping and Policy Change

In identifying the ‘dynamics and politics of policy change’ in the food sector of Bangladesh, Chowdhury and Haggblade (1997) point out that policy reforms in the food sector is a long drawn out process and more political in nature. They further identify that ‘two fundamental changes paved the way for Bangladesh’s major downsizing of its government food programs’: first, is a productivity-led surge in food grain production and secondly, and equally important, is the defusing of major potential opposition groups. The first suggests integrating the food security with a viable agriculture development policy. The second, naturally, has a political overtone and needs a very careful and crafty manoeuvre vis a vis the ‘extraordinary alliance – of millers, rent seekers with DG food, and idealists who genuinely distrust private markets.

In view of the above, it is evident that by way of integrating the food security with a viable agriculture development policy, following Streeten (1987), is exposed to the ‘fundamental dilemma’ of food policy. Food prices high enough to encourage agricultural production as it is universally accepted that farmers are ‘price responsive’ is obviously, in contrast with the purpose of food price low enough to protect poor food buyers. Pinstrup-Anderson (1987) points out the obvious reality that policies that attempt to strengthen incentives to expand food production through higher food prices may result in reduced incomes and severe hardships for the poor. As stated above, Private Sector Development: Creating market and transforming life are the basic criteria for which a comprehensive change is possible to promote the standards of life of the people virtually.


FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT REFORM PROGRAMME, FINANCE DIVISION, MINISTRY OF FINANCE.

1ST 12 STORIED GOVERNMENT OFFICE BUILDING

7TH FLOOR, ATTACHED TO FIMA

SEGUNBAGICHA, DHAKA-1000

BANGLADESH, ASIA

The United States and the Arduous Task of Curtailing Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Arab Nations, Gulf Wars, Armament, Disarmament,

The world is increasingly facing the proliferation of nuclear facilities, which the Unites States and other major developed nations of the world believe is fast threatening the existence of man and indeed living creatures from the surface of the earth. The United States as the sole Super Power of the world following the collapse of the former USSR in 1991 has been in the forefront of the anti-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction war which she believes will be utilized in bringing about disastrous effects on mankind

 

For sure, the US has developed apprehension following the September 11 attacks in which many lives and properties were lost. The US has had to battle with nations suspected to be developing nuclear weapons and on one occasion labeled those states “Evil states” These “Evil States” include but not limited to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Afghanistan, Libya etc. This is no longer news anyway.

 

However, following the recent agreement entered into by Libya with the US to compensate the families of the victims of the Lockerbie disaster which the country is believed to have masterminded and similar agreement earlier signed between the two countries to forbid nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, the USA have reportedly removed the name of Libya from the list of terrorist countries.

 

The USA is yet to find diplomatic resolution over Iran’s interest in creating what the country has referred to as nuclear facilities, a situation that has continued to defy every available solution with Iran maintaining that the nuclear facilities are for purposes other than military. This claim of Iran is viewed as an insincere one by the US because the country has strongly made moves forbidding the USA and anti nuclear Agencies from inspecting her suspected sites.

 

Again, the US has reasons to express fears over Iran creating of what she has stated are nuclear facilities because for once, the attitude of the newly elected President of Iran expresses hostility towards the US and Israel in particular. It has been alleged that the President of Iran once commented that the object of Iran is to remove Israel, the US’s greatest Allies from the map of the world. It is believed that if allowed to develop the weapons it will therefore be used to cause the US and Israel untold harm and it might slip into the hands of terrorists within and outside the country. Discouraging Iran from the development of the weapons of mass destruction there is the major aim of the US. Russia and Germany are believed to be backing Iran in the face of further threats of sanctions by the US and Allies.

 

The US with assistance from Britain and Canada designed and built the first Atomic Bombs in what was known as Manhattan Project, a project that was directed by Robert Oppenheimer, an American, this became the very first time the world would see the Atomic Bombs. Following the testing of the Bombs at Trinity site on July 16, 1945, “Little Boy” was used on Hiroshima in August 6 1945, and the “fat Man” on Nagasaki in August 9, 1945. The US thus became the first and the only nation to use the atomic bomb on a nation during the WWII. Since then the development of nuclear weapons has acted more as deterrence which International Relations experts argue has helped to prevent another major wars.

 

The US has also expressed fears on the ability of the Nigerian government to effectively put the nuclear facilties to good use and security of same in view of militant activities in the Niger Delta at present ravaging the country with endless attacks and another frequent Islamic fundamentalism with which the northern region of Nigeria is known for. The US, following the official visit delegation of Iranians to the Nigerian government with a promise to help the country develop nuclear facilities for the peaceful purpose of generating power supply, clearly warned Nigeria to desist from nurturing such an ambition. She also admonished Nigeria that striking friendship with Iran would launch the country (Nigeria) as the enemy of the US. The way forward for Nigeria in this regard considering the strong threat from US is what the world awaits.  

 

As it were now, the US is faced with the task of ridding the world of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction which is capable of inflicting injuries on a number of people and destroying the entire world completely. What was witnessed in Hiroshima and Nagasaki are minor compared with the sophistication of nuclear might within the possession of these countries. The US appears to be the most concerned nation among the comity of nations wishing that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction becomes a thing of the past because the September 11 attacks on the USA showed that the US can be attacked after all.

 

How the US hopes to deal with this development is what the entire world awaits and it is very critical if it will bring about that much desired peace that the world deserves. The US may have to resort to the imposition of sanctions; if negotiation fails and what follows will definitely be the use of force. Certain difficulties may be encountered by the US in trying to achieve this successfully.

 

Some of which maybe the largeness of Iran being several times larger that the Iraq the US is currently battling. The US may not find this an easy task to accomplish. Iran expectedly has larger population which the US may be finding very difficult dealing with, prosecuting such a war will involve larger sum of finance considering that the US is just recovering from a war in which she has spent billions of dollars to prosecute.

 

The US may also find it difficult convincing the UN and its Allied Forces on the genuine cause for the war because the world appears tired of wars at this moment and the UN and almost every nation having troops helping the UN and other regional organizations to maintain peace worldwide may become reluctant listening to the USA because of monetary expenses. Britain for the first time has not sounded like she wants to enter into coalition with the USA in prosecuting the war against the so-called “Axis of Evil” but only time will tell as we await the USA to decide on the next course of action.

 

How the US will convince the Arab nations that this time she is fighting a genuine course to save the world from one of their own is also an arduous task. And if Nigeria as a sovereign nation finally decides to stability electricity supply in the country using nuclear facilities with assistances of the Iranians, will the USA find it quite easy to add another enemy to the long list of her enemies? If Iran carry on with her nuclear plans, will the US peacefully accept same or go to war? We all await the US responses and only time will tell.

Emeka Esogbue hails from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. He is a Historian and International Relations, and Public Affairs commentator with lots of published and unpublished works.


emekaesogbue@yahoo.com

Eco Conscious Coffee ? How Environmentally aware are you?

Nowadays so many people want to give back to the environment that it’s hard to know where to begin. But with more and more companies offering environmental solutions to their products we’re beginning to learn exactly what to do in order to save our world.

Let’s take coffee for example…every-time we order our ‘latte to go’ from a coffee shop how much thought do we put into the cups that we are using? Are we recycling them, are they environmentally friendly and how ‘eco’ conscious are the companies that we buy from?

Thankfully certain drinks machine manufacturers are helping us break through this problem. <a rel=”nofollow” onclick=”javascript:pageTracker._trackPageview(‘/outgoing/article_exit_link’);” href=”http://www.flaviastore.co.uk/”>Office Coffee machines</a> are now at the forefront of producing top quality products yet still promoting environmental change.

A drinks machine manufacturer by the name of ‘Flavia’ is doing everything it can to promote recycling, and re-use of its products. With over 25 years in the business you’d expect the very best and they guarantee it.

When purchasing a drinks machine you want to find fresh-tasting, quality beverages available inside, and with a source, seal and serve ‘moto’ being adopted by the manufacturers of the Flavia drinks machine range it’s no wonder people are opting for the ‘stay in’ coffee option.

When choosing a drinks machine you need to consider you options. Do you want it to produce solely coffee and hot water, do you want chocolates and teas or do you want all of the above. Well if you answered all of the above to these questions you’re not alone. More and more people want the ‘option’ of having ‘options’ and drinks machine manufacturers are happy to oblige.

With quality sealed packets of the finest ingredients you can simply select and insert your chosen drink, press the button and in a few seconds your quality coffee is ready to go.

Just be sure to reuse and recycle your cups or better yet, why not bring in your beloved mug from home and use that every time you feel like getting a caffeine kick  – who said ordering coffee was getting difficult…this couldn’t be simpler.

Anna Rabe, Freelance Web Content Article Writer for three years.

Analysis Of New Trends In Tantalum-Niobium Industrial Technology

1, the state of special metal materials tantalum and niobium Engineering Research Center to start construction of a comprehensive August 8, 2005, the state of special metal materials tantalum and niobium Engineering Research Center for the opening ceremony! In Ningxia Orient Nonferrous Metals Group, was held. Ningxia Autonomous Region to Vice Chairman Zhang Wu, Science and Technology Department Director Liu Huan, Shizuishan City Acting Mayor Tian, as well as Ningxia Orient Nonferrous Metals Group Chairman He Jilin, inaugurated the center, marking the special state of Tantalum and Niobium Metal Material Engineering Technology Research Center building has already started.

National TantalumNiobium Special Metal Materials Engineering Research Center by the National Science and Technology approved the formation of the Chinese materials, tantalum and niobium metals beryllium areas and industrial areas in Ningxia Autonomous Region No. 1 National Engineering Research Center. Engineering Center of Ningxia Oriental Nonferrous Metal Group Company will be relying on marketoriented, focusing on breakthroughs in metal smelting and processing of special key technologies, continuous research, development and engineering achievements, to build platform for industry innovation to drive industrywide scientific and technological progress and new product development, to raise China’s specialty metals industry technology.

Ningxia Orient Nonferrous Metal Group Company is a research, production and technology development as one of national largescale enterprise group metals, in tantalum, niobium, beryllium and its alloys and specialty metals is strong in areas such as research and development capacity in the domestic same industry in the leading position in technology. Ningxia Orient TantalumNiobium Nonferrous Metals Group, the country will be special metal Material Engineering Technology Research Center set up as a turning point. The formation of the Engineering Center and the Group’s restructuring, resource optimization, combining full use of group 40 years and accumulated rich experience and preliminary scientific research and development of science and technology innovation platform built as far as integration of advantageous resources center construction works carried out in all members of the unit technical, research and development institutions and other resources, equipment, facilities and conditions for integration, and improve various facilities, to establish a rational engineering research environment for research and development and scientific research to provide a good environment and a strong guarantee, and strive to improve the overall technological innovation capability, so that the project the center into a tantalum, niobium, beryllium specialty metal smelting and processing technologies, and supporting the development of innovative equipment, the main results promote the use of an incubator of new technologies into the market and promoting China’s special metal materials technological progress and industrial upgrading .

2, Ningxia Orient Tantalum colored targeting the international market to open up new areas of application of niobium beryllium Commissioned by the State Science and Technology, Ningxia Autonomous Region Science and Technology Department recently held an expert on the northwest Ningxia Oriental Nonferrous Metal Group Companyowned Rare Metal Materials Research Institute “with niobium superconducting cavity plate production technology development” project was carried out onsite inspection. The project is a total investment of 3.5 billion U.S. dollars level for the hundreds of millions of electron volts of the world’s largest superconducting linear accelerator project will require superconducting niobium plate manufacturing process technology research and development be implemented. Superconducting linear accelerator project is a multicountry crossborder cooperation projects, built in Hamburg, Germany, total length of 33 km, engineering, need to consume about 500 tons of niobium sheet. The project is completed, it will greatly facilitate the physics, chemistry, materials science, environmental and earth sciences, structural biology and many other fields of scientific and technological progress to solve the nuclear waste disposal problem.

Experts believe that with the niobium superconducting cavity plate production technology research and development success, has opened up new applications of our areas of niobium material to fill gaps in the study of China so that China’s new materials, manufacturing techniques quickly with international practice. Through participation in international cooperation projects, so that the formation of tantalum powder in Ningxia, tantalum wire, tantalum and tantalum strip products, and superconducting materials such as tantalum a wide range of hightech products system, and full access to international markets, stabilize the country tantalum and niobium in the world top three position.

Through “with niobium superconducting cavity plate production technology development,” implementation of the project, the Northwest Rare Metal Materials Research Institute formed a stable performance superconducting niobium plate manufacturing process technology, impurity control, control of residual resistivity, grain size control, control of yield strength and hardness of control to achieve innovative results. In the manufacturing technology, product performance reached the international advanced level, to become the material basis for linear accelerator.

As a set of scientific research, production and technology development as one of the nation’s largest tantalum, niobium production base and the only scientific research and production base of berylliumNingxia Orient Nonferrous Metal Group Co., Ltd., based on independent innovation, to achieve the innovation and development.

In recent years, after a continuous selfdevelopment and technology research to develop a number of tracking international development, technology leadership to meet the needs of domestic and international market of new products to achieve a tantalum powder and tantalum wire of high grade and technological upgrading. Tantalum powder of its flagship product, the market has reached 70,000 hematocrit application level, hematocrit level of research to reach 15,000 or more into the international leading ranks. They developed new products, the semiconductor target with tantalum and niobium, nickel hydroxide, magnesium alloy and processing of special materials and so on, has become the promotion of economic growth in Ningxia, a new bright spot. The company has 14 national patents, 3 international patents. Last year, the Ministry of Science and formally approved Ningxia Orient Nonferrous Metal Group Co., Ltd. as “special statelevel TantalumNiobium Metal Material Engineering Technology Research Center” group also established a “demonstration base of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of international scientific cooperation.”

In recent years, they study, and research, focusing on innovation and team building for enterprise development to provide a strong technical support. They coorganized with the Nankai University, “lithium niobate crystal and device research and development of the Commonwealth” and the Beijing University of Science and Technology jointly launched a “Nanopowders Prepared by Homogeneous Reduction Research”, and Tsinghua University jointly launched a “Welding of Beryllium Research Laboratory , “has made substantial progress. While taking advantage of postdoctoral stations, the National Engineering Center, enterprise technology center platform with strong technical innovation to attract talented people to carry out joint research in the “stress of Beryllium study” and “beryllium deuteride and beryllium hydride preparation of technical studies,” etc. breakthroughs.

In addition, they light alloy with the Russian Academy of partnerships, the introduction of magnesium alloy melting and casting technology and some key equipment, through digestion and absorption of annual production capacity of 10,000 tons of magnesium alloy and processing of material production line. The “superconducting niobium cavity with the sheet production technology development” project was carried out with the German Electron Synchrotron Institute of the good cooperation the success of acceptance of this technology to enhance the technological level of China’s metal niobium and production capacity for our metal niobium and their processed material to enter the international market and lay a solid foundation of technology and market.

3, tantalum niobium new trend in the development of new materials, Rare Metal Materials technology is the new century, the field of materials science and engineering disciplines, one of the most attention is the hightech development of key materials, tantalum, niobium and new materials which play an important role. Modern hightech such as information technology, new energy technology, space technology, biotechnology, the development of superconducting technology, especially with the rare metal material is closely related to new materials, tantalum and niobium. Tantalum and niobium in hightech field of new materials, more and broader space for development, above all, tantalum and niobium capacitors to the highvolume areas of expansion; Second, the carbide cutting tool towards superhard, microfine sharp direction, the application market is expected to will remain steady climbing; again is a tantalum and niobium used in the aerospace industry, tantalum, niobiumbased alloys and other specialty alloys will continue to develop steadily.

In recent years, specialNb steel demand continues to grow, in addition to the developed countries, the Third World countries also have needs. Special superconducting materials will be used extensively for magnetic materials, and hightech computing technologies, and are being further expanded, tantalum, niobium materials, new applications will continue to be developed. Based on the world’s hightech industrial development process, the next 510 years, TantalumNiobium Industry will continue to maintain over 12% increase in sustainable development. TantalumNiobium development of new materials has broad development space and market prospects. The current application of new materials, tantalum and niobiumrelated hightech industries including electronics, precision ceramic and precision glass industry; electroacousticoptic devices; carbide, aerospace and electronic energy industry; biomedical engineering; superconductor industry; special steel and other industries.

4, Jiangxi trends: Jiangxi Tungsten Industry Group rare rare earth metals, deputy chief engineer Meng Fancheng introduced new materials, tantalum and niobium in hightech field, more and broader space for development, above all, tantalum and niobium capacitors to the highvolume areas of expansion; Second, the carbide cutting tool towards the superhard, microfine sharp direction, applications market is expected to remain steady climbing; again is a tantalum and niobium, as well as in the aerospace industry can not be replaced tantalum and niobiumbased alloys and other specialty alloys will continue to develop steadily. In recent years, specialNb steel demand continues to grow, in addition to the developed countries, the Third World countries also have needs.

Based on the world’s hightech industrial development process, the next 5 to 10 years TantalumNiobium Industry will continue to maintain over 12% increase in sustainable development. TantalumNiobium development of new materials has broad development space and market prospects. The current application of new materials, tantalum and niobiumrelated hightech industries including electronics, precision ceramic and precision glass industry; electroacousticoptic devices; carbide, aerospace and electronic energy industry; biomedical engineering; superconductor industry; special steel and other industries.

Jiangxi, development direction of new materials, Tantalum and Niobium As China’s most important resources in the province of tantalum and niobium and development of provinces, Jiangxi Province, will use its accumulated technology, and resources to accelerate development of new materials, tantalum and niobium the pace of development, using the available resources to promote tantalum and niobium of the industrialization of new materials, pace.

Jiangxi is rich in rare metal mineral resources, such as tantalum and niobium is an important resource for the supply of highmelting metals, the Jiangxi Province, tantalum and niobium deposits highest in the country, including rare and rare earth metals, Jiangxi Tungsten Industry Group, the share accounted for some of tantalum and niobium metal reserves 34% of the country’s total reserves could be mining accounted for 69% of the country. After years of development, Jiangxi Province, a longterm in order to concentrate and primary products as the main characteristics of the industry to be improved, in the depth of tantalum and niobium and other rare metals processing and development of new materials to be developed rapidly, making Jiangxi field of new materials in the formation of tantalum and niobium a certain technological advantages and strong research and development capabilities.

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The Aga Khan’s world view

The Aga Khan’s world view
‘I’d like to see Canada more vigorous,’ he says in a Globe interview covering everything from Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan to the importance of pluralist societies

Read more on The Globe and Mail

Integration of Nanotechnology Will Enhance Fuel Cells Market Potential

The Global Fuel Cells Market: Key Trends and Growth Opportunities up to 2015

This report gives an in-depth analysis of Global fuel cells market and provides growth opportunities up to 2015. The research analyzes the growth and evolution of the Global fuel cells market up to 2008 and gives historical statistics for 2001-2008. This research analyzes the market scenarios for this technology and regulatory policies that govern them. This coupled with elaborate country profiles of key market give a comprehensive understanding of the market scenario. ( http://www.bharatbook.com/detail.asp?id=129701&rt=The-Global-Fuel-Cells-Market-Key-Trends-and-Growth-Opportunities-up-to-2015.html )

Fuel Cells Market is Expected to Commercialize by 2013-2015
Demand for non-toxic-substance-based energy storage is expected to accelerate the demand for stationary fuel cells in the coming decade. Technological advancements and an increase in sales are expected to bring the cost of fuel cells down. As a result, the technology is expected to become commercialized by 2013-2015. Commercialization of the market will lead to rise in number of fuel cell installations in 2015 which are expected to exceed hundreds of thousands units.

Fuel Cells Market is in its Nascent Stage of Development
Despite the various advantages of the technology, the fuel cell market is yet to be a part of the mainstream market mainly due to its high cost and lower durability in comparison to grid power. Since the market is in its development phase the fuel cell industry has large number of manufacturers. This is primarily because most of the technological developments are taking place in universities or government laboratories which further spin out as new business units and seek private equity and venture funding from established corporations.

Integration of Nanotechnology Will Enhance Fuel Cells Market Potential
Nanotechnology is providing increased durability to fuel cells and is making its costs competitive with traditional sources of power generation. In 2008, more than 2,100 organizations engaged in the development of nanotechnology for fuel cells and hydrogen energy, spent more than $4.7 billion on this research. Fuel cell technology development coupled with integration of nanotechnology will provide the fuel cell market with greater reliability, durability, and power, at a lower cost along with the advantages of lower emissions and fuel saving.

Price of Fuel Cell Installations is Expected to Go Down in the Future
The price of fuel cells is expected to decrease in the near future as production increases in response to the government support in terms of subsidies and coordinated R&D, coupled with technological development in making fuel cell manufacturing more profitable. The mass production of fuel cell vehicles is not expected to gather momentum before 2015 although many producers will manufacture about 100 vehicles per year for fleet demonstration. This delay in mass production of fuel cells is mainly due to the lack of appropriate infrastructure to support the development. Though various countries are taking steps towards the development of hydrogen fueling stations inadequate infrastructure will push further commercialization of fuel cell market till 2015. Even with this hurdle the fuel cell installations costs will come down because of the technological developments and government support mechanisms.

Environmental Concerns Are Driving the Fuel Cells Market
Fuel cells are an emission free power sources used for vehicles, potable devices, and residential, commercial, and industrial purposes. Lead-acid batteries, traditionally used for energy storage contain toxic waste such as lead, which need to be effectively disposed of at the end of the life of a system. The growing need to curb toxic wastes therefore drives interest into alternate energy solutions such as fuel cells due to their emission-free nature. The rising energy demand boosts the need for clean sources of power generation which in turn gives way to fast paced development of the fuel cells market.

Lack of Infrastructure is Hampering Market Development
The global market for power supply systems does not have the adequate infrastructure required to transport, distribute, and store fuel cell systems and the fuels used in them. As a result, the fuel cells market is unable to cater effectively to the growth in demand for systems. Fuel cell vehicle manufacturers also anticipate infrastructure as the primary bottleneck in the development of technology. Hydrogen fuelling stations are slow to develop and are also expensive which adds to the challenges for the technology.

Investments Are Pooling in for Fuel Cell Development
Global fuel cell industry is attracting a large pool of investments primarily due to the huge demand potential the industry possesses. Since the fuel cell technology is being promoted by the governments across the globe in form of subsidies, financial incentives, and tax benefits, more and more investors are putting in money in the sector. During 2002 to 2009 the fuel cells market has attracted the investment of more than $663m in the form of equity financing, private placement, private equity, venture financing, and so on. Investments peaked in 2004 when the industry received investments of about $170.3m which resulted in an increased number of installations coming online in 2005. The investments decline during 2008 and 2009 as a result of economic crisis but it is expected that the fuel cells market will attract more investors once the economy recovers.

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New Human Ecology Building: Exterior Fly-Thru


Animated 3D architectural rendering of the exterior of the Human Ecology Building now under construction.

What measures can be taken to assure a user feels secure doing business on your website?

I run an online internet business, and have put a lot of time and effort into the development of my site. One thing I did not give too much thought to was if the user felt secure. I notice I have a lot of people going to the last step where you enter your credit card number, but they never purchase. I have a SSL, though not the expensive one that turns your bar green. I have a SSL logo up also, and a privacy policy. What more can I do?

Wetland Ecosystem Conservation: A Review

1. Introduction

A system is a group of parts that interact through one or more processes (Odum 1983). The term ecosystem was introduced and defined by Tansley (1935), who as “a fundamental organizational unit of the natural world that includes both organisms and their spatial environment.” Ecosystems have since been defined in various ways, and at different spatial and temporal scales (Golley 1993; O’Neill et al. 1986; Evans 1956). Some ecologists define ecosystems on the basis of biotic organisms, populations, or communities. For example, Hutchinson (1978) considered the ecosystem to be the environmental context in which population or community dynamics occur. Others define ecosystems in terms of their abiotic characteristics and processes (Rowe and Barnes 1994). For example, Lindeman (1942) defined ecosystems as “…the system composed of physical, chemical, and biological processes active within a space/time unit.” Regardless of whether the emphasis is on biotic components or abiotic characteristics and processes of ecosystems, both remain integral to the concept of ecosystem. Rowe (1961) emphasized this when he defined ecosystems as “…a three dimensional segment of the earth where life forms and the environment interact.”

Wetland ecosystems have been defined in a variety of ways by researchers, resource managers, and regulatory authorities, depending on their specific needs and objectives (Mitsch and Gosselink 1993). In the applied world of regulation, planning, and management, wetlands are usually defined in terms of their physical, chemical, and biological characteristics such as hydrologic regime, soil type, and plant species composition. For example, in classifying wetlands for mapping, inventory, and other purposes, Cowardin et al. (1979) defined wetlands as “…lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is covered by shallow water…” that are characterized by the presence of hydrophytic vegetation, hydric soils, and surface water during the growing season.

Wetlands are often biodiversity ‘hotspots’ (Reid et al., 2005), as well as functioning as filters for pollutants from both point and non-point sources, and being important for carbon sequestration and emissions (Finlayson et al., 2005). The value of the world’s wetlands are increasingly receiving due attention as they contribute to a healthy environment in many ways. Wetland functions are defined as the normal or characteristic activities that take place in wetland ecosystems or simply the things that wetlands do. Wetlands perform a wide variety of functions in a hierarchy from simple to complex as a result of their physical, chemical, and biological attributes. For example, the reduction of nitrate to gaseous nitrogen is a relatively simple function performed by wetlands when aerobic and anaerobic conditions exist in the presence of denitrifying bacteria. Nitrogen cycling and nutrient cycling represent increasingly more complex wetland functions that involve a greater number of structural components and processes. At the highest level of this hierarchy is the maintenance of ecological integrity, the function that encompasses all of the structural components and processes in a wetland ecosystem. Wetlands are one of the most productive of all ecosystems, and carry out critical regulatory functions of hydrological processes within watersheds (Banner et al. 1988). Regulating water quality, water levels, flooding regimes, and nutrient and sedimentation levels are a few of these processes (Gregory et al. 1991). As with any natural habitat, wetlands are important in supporting species diversity and have a complex of wetland values. Moreover, the pattern of seasonal variation of the wetland affects the bird population fluctuation (Imran. A. D and Mithas. A. D 2009). Even small wetlands are extremely important to the conservation of biodiversity because they provide critical breeding habitat where dispersed populations can exchange genetic material, reducing the risks of extinction (Semlitsch and Brodie 1998).

The present review is aimed at providing in a nutshell, the distribution of wetlands, the value of Wetlands, the causes and consequences of the loss of wetlands and their conservation status with special reference to India.

 

2. Distribution of wetlands in India

 

In India a total area of 40494 km2  is classified as wetlands. This consists only 1.21 per cent of the total land surface. Most of the wetlands in India are directly or indirectly linked with major river systems such as the Ganga, the Cauvery, the Krishan, the Godavari and the Tapti. A Directory of Wetlands in India (1988) gives information on the location, area and ecological categorization of wetlands of our country. Wetlands in India are distributed in different geographical regions ranging from Himalayas to Deccan plateau. The variability in climatic conditions and changing topography is responsible for significant diversity. They are classified into different types based on their origin, vegetation, nutrient status, thermal characteristics, like 1. Glaciatic Wetlands (e.g., Tsomoriri in Jammu and Kashmir, Chandertal in Himachal Pradesh).

2. Tectonic Wetlands (e.g., Nilnag in Jammu and Kashmir, Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, and Nainital and Bhimtal in Uttaranchal).

3. Oxbow Wetlands (e.g., Dal Lake, Wular Lake in Jammu and Kashmir and Loktak Lake in Manipur and some of the wetlands in the river plains of Brahmaputra and Indo-Gangetic region. Deepor Beel in Assam, Kabar in Bihar, Surahtal in Uttar Pradesh).

4. Lagoons (e.g., Chilika in Orissa).

5. Crater Wetlands (Lonar lake in Maharashtra).

6. Salt water Wetlands (e.g., Pangong Tso in Jammu and Kashmir and Sambhar in Rajasthan)

7. Urban Wetlands (e.g., Dal Lake in Jammu and Kashmir, Nainital in Uttaranchal and Bhoj in Madhya Pradesh).

8. Ponds/Tanks, man-made Wetlands (e.g., Harike in Punjab and Pong Dam in Himachal Pradesh).

9. Reservoirs (e.g., Idukki, Hirakud dam, Bhakra-Nangal dam).

10. Mangroves (e.g., Bhitarkanika in Orissa).

11. Coral reefs (e.g., Lakshadweep).

12. Creeks (Thane Creek in Maharashtra), seagrasses, estuaries, thermal springs are some kinds of wetlands in the country.

The Indo-Gangetic flood plain is the largest wetland system in India, extending from the river Indus in the west to Brahmaputra in the east. This includes the wetlands of the Himalayan terai and the Indo-Gangetic plains. The vast intertidal areas, mangroves and lagoons along the 7500 kilometer long coastline in West Bengal, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Mangrove forests of the Sunderbans of West Bengal and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Offshore coral reefs of the Gulf of Kutch, Gulf of Mannar, Lakshadweep and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Ninety-four wetlands have been identified for conservation and management under the National Programme for Conservation and Management of Wetlands.

These wetlands are eligible for financial assistance on 100% grant basis to the concerned State Governments for undertaking activities like survey and demarcation, weed control, catchment area treatment, desiltation, conservation of biodiversity, pollution abatement, livelihood support creation of minor infrastructure, educational awareness, capacity building of various stakeholders, and community development. So far 24 States have been covered; the remaining States are expected to the covered in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan.

Wetlands play a vital role in maintaining the overall cultural, economic and ecological health of the ecosystem, their fast pace of disappearance from the landscape is of great concern. The Wildlife Protection Act protects few of the ecologically sensitive regions whereas several wetlands are becoming an easy target for anthropogenic exploitation. Survey of 147 major sites across various agro climatic zones identified the anthropogenic interference as the main cause of wetland degradation (The Directory of Indian Wetlands 1993). Current spatial spread of wetlands under various categories is shown.

 

3. Wetland losses – a threat to ecological balance

 

Threats to wetland ecosystems comprise the increasing biotic and abiotic pressures and perils.

Biotic

(1) Uncontrolled siltation and weed infestation.

(2) Uncontrolled discharge of waste water, industrial effluents, surface run-off, etc. resulting

in proliferation of aquatic weeds, which adversely affect the flora and fauna.

(3) Tree felling for fuel wood and wood products causes soil loss affecting rainfall pattern,

loss of various aquatic species due to water-level fluctuation.

(4) Habitat destruction leading to loss of fish and decrease in number of migratory birds.

Abiotic

(1) Encroachment resulting in shrinkage of area.

(2) Anthropogenic pressures resulting in habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity.

(3) Uncontrolled dredging resulting in successional changes.

(4) Hydrological intervention resulting in loss of aquifers.

(5) Pollution from point and non-point sources resulting in deterioration of water quality.

(6) Ill-effects of fertilizers and insecticides used in adjoining agricultural fields.

Coastal ecosystems are among the most productive yet highly threatened systems in the world. These ecosystems produce disproportionately more services relating to human well-being than most other systems, even those covering larger total areas, but are experiencing some of the most rapid degradation and loss:

(1). About 35% of mangroves have been lost over the last two decades, driven primarily by aquaculture development, deforestation, and freshwater diversion.

(2). Some 20% of coral reefs were lost and more than a further 20% degraded in the last several decades of the twentieth century through overexploitation, destructive fishing practices, pollution and siltation and changes in storm frequency and intensity.

(3). There is established but incomplete evidence that the changes being made are increasing the likelihood of nonlinear and potentially abrupt changes in ecosystems, with important consequences for human well-being. These nonlinear changes can be large in magnitude and difficult, expensive, or impossible to reverse. For example, once a threshold of nutrient loading is crossed, changes in freshwater and coastal ecosystems can be abrupt and extensive, creating harmful algal blooms (including blooms of toxic species) and sometimes leading to the formation of oxygen-depleted zones, killing all animal life. Capabilities for predicting some nonlinear changes are improving, but on the whole scientists cannot predict the thresholds at which change will be encountered. The increased likelihood of these nonlinear changes stems from the loss of biodiversity and growing pressures from multiple direct drivers of ecosystem change. The loss of species and genetic diversity decreases the resilience of ecosystems —their ability to maintain particular ecosystem services as conditions change. In addition, growing pressures from drivers such as overharvesting, climate change, invasive species, and nutrient loading push ecosystems toward thresholds that they might otherwise not encounter.

(4). Many wetland-dependent species in many parts of the world are in decline; the status of species dependent on inland waters and of waterbirds dependent on coastal wetlands is of particular concern. Although the evidence has geographical limitations and is chiefly from species already globally threatened with extinction.

The primary indirect drivers of degradation and loss of rivers, lakes, freshwater marshes, and other inland wetlands (including loss of species or reductions of populations in these systems) have been population growth and increasing economic development. The primary direct drivers of degradation and loss include infrastructure development, land conversion, water withdrawal, pollution, overharvesting and overexploitation, and the introduction of invasive alien species.

The current loss rates in India can lead to serious consequences, where 74% of the human population is rural (Anon. 1994) and many of these people are resource dependent. Healthy wetlands are essential in India for sustainable food production and potable water availability for humans and livestock. They are also necessary for the continued existence of India’s diverse populations of wildlife and plant species; a large number of endemic species are wetland dependent. Most problems pertaining to India’s wetlands are related to human population. India contains 16% of the world’s population, and yet constitutes only 2.42% of the earth’s surface. Indian landscape has contained fewer and fewer natural wetlands over time. Restoration of these converted wetlands is quite difficult once these sites are occupied for non-wetland uses. Hence, the demand for wetland products (e.g., water, fish, wood, fiber, medicinal plants etc.) will increase with increase in population. Wetland loss refers to physical loss in the spatial extent or loss in the wetland function. The loss of one km2 of wetlands in India will have much greater impacts than the loss of one km2 of wetlands in low population areas of abundant wetlands (Foote Lee et al. 1996). The wetland loss in India can be divided into two broad groups namely acute and chronic losses. The filling up of wet areas with soil constitutes acute loss whereas the gradual elimination of forest cover with subsequent erosion and sedimentation of the wetlands over many decades is termed as chronic loss.

 

Acute wetland losses

 

(1). Direct deforestation in wetlands: Mangrove vegetation are flood and salt tolerant and grow along the coasts and are valued for fish and shellfish, livestock fodder, fuel wood, building materials, local medicine, honey, bees wax and for extracting chemicals for tanning leather (Ahmad 1980). Alternative farming methods and fisheries production has replaced many mangrove areas and continues to pose threats. Eighty percent of India’s 4240 km2 of mangrove forests occur in the Sunderbans and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Anon. 1991). But most of the coastal mangroves are under severe pressure due to the economic demand on shrimps. Important ecosystem functions such as buffer zones against storm surges, nursery grounds and escape cover for commercially important fishery are lost. The shrimp farms also caused excessive withdrawal of freshwater and increased pollution load on water like increased lime, organic wastes, pesticides, chemicals and disease causing organisms. The greatest impacts were on the people directly dependent on the mangroves for natural materials, fish proteins and revenue. The ability of wetlands to trap sediments and slow water is reduced.

(2). Hydrologic alteration: Alteration in the hydrology can change the character, functions, values and the appearance of wetlands. The changes in hydrology include either the removal of water from wetlands or raising the land-surface elevation, such that it no longer floods. Canal dredging operations have been conducted in India from 1800s due to which 3044 km2 of irrigated land has increased to 4550 km2 in 1990 (Anon. 1994). Initial increase in the crop productivity has given way for reduced fertility and salt accumulations in soil due to irrigated farming of arid soils. India has 32,000 ha of peat-land remaining and drainage of these lands will lead to rapid subsidence of soil surface.

(3). Agricultural conversion: The primary direct driver of the loss and degradation of coastal wetlands, including saltwater marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs, has been conversion to other land uses.  In the Indian subcontinent due to rice culture, there has been a loss in the spatial extent of wetlands. Rice farming is a wetland dependent activity and is developed in riparian zones, river deltas and savannah areas. Due to captured precipitation for fishpond aquaculture in the catchment areas and rice-farms occupying areas that are not wetlands, water is deprived to the downstream natural wetlands. Around 1.6 million hectares of freshwater are covered by freshwater fishponds in India. Rice-fields and fishponds come under wetlands, but they rarely function like natural wetlands. Of the estimated 58.2 million hectares of wetlands in India, 40.9 million hectares are under rice cultivation (Anon. 1993).

 

Chronic wetland losses

 

(1). Degradation of water quality:  Water quality is directly proportional to human population and its various activities. More than 50,000 small and large lakes are polluted to the point of being considered ‘dead’ (Chopra 1985). The major polluting factors are sewage, industrial pollution and agricultural runoff, which may contain pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides.

(2). Introduced species and extinction of native biota:  Wetlands in India support around 2400 species and subspecies of birds. But losses in habitat have threatened the diversity of these ecosystems (Mitchell & Gopal 1990). Introduction of exotic species like water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) and salvinia (Salvinia molesta) have threatened the wetlands and clogged the waterways competing with the native vegetation.  In a recent attempt at prioritization of wetlands for conservation, Samant (1999) noted that as many as 700 potential wetlands do not have any data to prioritize. Many of these wetlands are threatened.

(3). Ground water depletion:  Draining of wetlands has depleted the ground water recharge. Recent estimate indicates that in rural India, about 6000 villages are without a source for drinking water due to the rapid depletion of ground water.

 

4. Condition and Trends in Wetland-dependent Species

 

There is increasing evidence of a rapid and continuing widespread decline in many populations of wetland-dependent species. Data on the status and population trends of species in some inland wetland-dependent groups, including mollusks, amphibians, fish, waterbirds, and some water-dependent mammals, have been compiled and show clear declines. An overall index of the trend in vertebrate species populations has also been developed and shows a continuous and rapid decline in freshwater vertebrate populations since 1970—a markedly more drastic decline than for terrestrial or marine species.

Even in the case of more poorly known wetland fauna, such as invertebrates, existing assessments show that species in these groups are significantly threatened with extinction. For example, the IUCN Red List reports that some 275 species of freshwater crustacea and 420 freshwater mollusks are globally threatened, although no comprehensive global assessment has been made of all the species in these groups. In the United States, one of the few countries to comprehensively assess freshwater mollusks and crustaceans, 50% of known crayfish species and two thirds of freshwater mollusks are at risk of extinction, and at least one in 10 freshwater mollusks are likely to have already gone extinct. Nearly one third (1,856 species) of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction, a large portion of which (964 species) are freshwater-dependent. (By comparison, just 12% of all bird species and 23% of all mammal species are threatened.) In addition, at least 43% of all amphibian species are declining in population, indicating that the number of threatened species can be expected to rise in the future. In contrast, less than 1% of species show population increases. Species dependent on flowing water have a much higher likelihood of being threatened than those in still water. (Figure 5) Basins with the highest number of threatened freshwater species— between 13 and 98 species—include the Amazon, Yangtze, Niger, Paraná, Mekong, Red and Pearl (China), Krishna (India), and Balsas and Usumacinta (Central America). The rate of decline in the conservation status of freshwater amphibians is far greater than that of terrestrial species. As amphibians are excellent indicators of the quality of the overall environment, this underpins the notion of the current declining condition of freshwater habitats around the world.

 

Key vulnerabilities

 

Gitay et al. (2001) have described some inland aquatic ecosystems (Arctic, sub-Arctic ombrotrophic bog communities on permafrost, depressional wetlands with small catchments, drained or otherwise converted peatlands) as most vulnerable to climate change, and have indicated the limits to adaptations due to the dependence on water availability controlled by outside factors. More recent results show vulnerability varying by geographical region (Stern, 2007). This includes significant negative impacts across 25% of Africa by 2100 (SRES B1 emissions scenario, de Wit and Stankiewicz, 2006) with both water quality and ecosystem goods and services deteriorating. Since it is generally difficult and costly to control hydrological regimes, the interdependence between catchments across national borders often leaves little scope for adaptation.

 

Impacts

 

Climate change impacts on inland aquatic ecosystems will range from the direct effects of the rise in temperature and CO2 concentration to indirect effects through alterations in the hydrology resulting from the changes in the regional or global precipitation regimes and the melting of glaciers and ice cover (e.g., Chapters 1 and 3; Cubasch et al., 2001; Lemke et al., 2007; Meehl et al., 2007). Studies since the TAR (Third assessment report of IPCC) have confirmed and strengthened the earlier conclusions that rising temperature will lower water quality in lakes through a fall in hypolimnetic oxygen concentrations, release of phosphorus (P) from sediments, increased thermal stability, and altered mixing patterns (Jankowski et al., 2006). In northern latitudes, ice cover on lakes and rivers will continue to break up earlier and the ice-free periods to increase (Duguay et al., 2006). Higher temperatures will negatively affect micro-organisms and benthic invertebrates (Kling et al., 2003) and the distribution of many species of fish (Kling et al., 2003); invertebrates, waterfowl and tropical invasive biota are likely to shift polewards (Zalakevicius and Svazas, 2005) with some potential extinctions. Major changes will be likely to occur in the species composition, seasonality and production of planktonic communities (e.g., increases in toxic blue-green algal blooms) and their food web interactions (Winder and Schindler, 2004) with consequent changes in water quality. Enhanced UV-B radiation and increased summer precipitation will significantly increase dissolved organic carbon concentrations, altering major biogeochemical cycles (Frey and Smith, 2005). Studies along an altitudinal gradient in Sweden show that NPP can increase by an order of magnitude for a 6°C air temperature increase (Karlsson et al., 2005). However, tropical lakes may respond with a decrease in NPP and a decline in fish yields (e.g., 20% NPP and 30% fish yield reduction in Lake Tanganyika due to warming over the last century ­ O’Reilly et al., 2003). Higher CO2 levels will generally increase NPP in many wetlands, although in bogs and paddy fields it may also stimulate methane flux, thereby negating positive effects (Zheng et al., 2006). Boreal peatlands will be affected most by warming and increased winter precipitation as the species composition of both plant and animal communities will change significantly (Weltzin et al., 2000, 2001, 2003; Berendse et al., 2001; Keller et al., 2004;). Numerous arctic lakes will dry out with a 2-3°C temperature rise (Smith et al., 2005 ;). The seasonal migration patterns and routes of many wetland species will need to change and some may be threatened with extinction. Small increases in the variability of precipitation regimes will significantly impact wetland plants and animals at different stages of their life cycle. In monsoonal regions, increased variability risks diminishing wetland biodiversity and prolonged dry periods promote terrestrialisation of wetlands as witnessed in Keoladeo National Park, India (Chauhan and Gopal, 2001).

 

5. Wetland management – current status

Wetlands are not delineated under any specific administrative jurisdiction. The primary responsibility for the management of these ecosystems is in the hands of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Although some wetlands are protected after the formulation of the Wildlife Protection Act, the others are in grave danger of extinction. Effective coordination between the different ministries, energy, industry, fisheries revenue, agriculture, transport and water resources, is essential for the protection of these ecosystems.

 

Cardinal Constituents of Comprehensive Strategy for Wetland Conservation:

 

The conservation and management of wetlands calls for a comprehensive strategy, ranging from legal framework and policy support to inventorization, institutional mechanism, capacity building, and community participation. The position with regard to these aspects is as follows:

 

Legal framework

 

Though there is no separate provision for specific legal instrument for wetland conservation, the legal framework for conservation and management is provided by the following legal instruments:

1. Several legislations have been enacted which have relevance to wetland conservation. These include Forest Act, 1927, Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, the Water Cess Act, 1977 and the umbrella provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

2.  India has set up 505 Wildlife Sanctuaries and 100 National Parks, 14 Biosphere Reserves, 6 Heritage Sites, Projects on Tiger conservation and Elephant conservation and Marine Turtles conservation with the objective of effective conservation of wetlands, and floral and faunal wealth in forest areas.

3. Notification declaring the coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers and backwaters, which are influenced by tidal action (in the landward side) up to 500 metres from the high tide line, and the land between the low tide line and the high tide line as the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 1991 under the provision of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. This proposes graded restriction on setting up and expansion of industries, including pressures from human activities.

4. Portions of the listed sites have been declared as Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Parks.

5. Guidelines for sustainable development and management of brackish water aquaculture have  been drawn up. State Governments like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have aquaculture guidelines also at the local level.

6. The Biodiversity Act, 2002, and the Biodiversity Rules, 2004, are aimed at safeguarding the floral and faunal biodiversity, and regulating their flow from the country to other countries for research and commercial use. Thus, their provisions also contribute towards conserving, maintaining, and augmenting the floral, faunal and avifaunal biodiversity of the country’s aquatic bodies.

 

Policy Support: National Environment Policy (NEP), 2006

 

Our National Environment Policy (NEP), approved by the Cabinet on 19 May 2006, recognizes the numerous ecological services rendered by wetlands. The NEP states:

  ‘Wetlands are under threat from drainage and conversion for agriculture and human settlements, besides pollution. This happens because public authorities or individuals having jurisdiction over wetlands derive little revenues from them, while the alternative use may result in windfall financial gains to them. However, in many cases, the economic values of wetlands’ environmental services may significantly exceed the value from alternative use. On the otherhand, the reduction in economic value of their environmental services due to pollution, as well as the health costs of the pollution itself are not taken into account while using them as a waste dump. There also does not yet exist a formal system of wetland regulation outside the international commitments made in respect of Ramsar sites. A holistic view of wetlands is necessary, which looks at each identified wetland in terms of its causal linkages with other natural entities, human needs, and its own attributes.’

 

The Environmental Policy identifies the following six-fold Action Plan:

1. Set up a legally enforceable regulatory mechanism for identified valuable wetlands to prevent their degradation and enhance their conservation. Develop a national inventory of such wetlands.

2. Formulate conservation and prudent use strategies for each significant catalogued wetland, with participation of local communities, and other relevant stakeholders.

3. Formulate and implement eco-tourism strategies for identified wetlands through multi stakeholder partnerships involving public agencies, local communities and investors.

4. Take explicit amount of impacts on wetlands of significant development projects during the environmental appraisal of such projects; in particular, the reduction in economic value of wetland environmental services should be explicitly factored into cost-benefit analysis.

5. Consider particular unique wetlands as entities with ‘Incomparable Values’, in developing strategies for their protection.

6. Integrate wetland conservation, including conservation of village ponds and tanks, into sectoral development plans for poverty alleviation and livelihood improvement, and the link efforts for conservation and sustainable use of wetlands with the ongoing rural infrastructure development and employment generation programmes. Promote traditional techniques and practices for conserving village ponds.

 

Inventorization

 

Survey and inventorization should take into consideration identification of different human activities, effect of both industrial and domestic effluents, and information obtained through remote sensing to be verified with the ground truth data for getting proper results. This component includes mapping of catchment areas through revenue records, survey and assessment, and land-use pattern using GIS techniques, with emphasis on drainage pattern, vegetation cover, siltation cover, encroachment, conversion of wetlands, human settlements, total area encroached, human activities at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels, and their impact on catchment and water body. The following surveys of wetlands have been undertaken so far:

1. Asian Wetland Directory, 1989 – identified 93 Wetlands of International Importance.

2. Wetland Directory published in 1990 by the Ministry of Environment and Forests using questionnaire survey.

3. Identification of 2167 natural freshwater wetlands covering 1.5 million ha area.

4. Identification of 65,253 man-made freshwater wetlands covering 2.6 million ha area.

5. WWF-India and the Ministry of Environment and Forests in 1993 identified 54 additional wetlands of international importance with more details.

6. Space Application Centre using remote sensing techniques identified 27,403 inland and coastal wetlands covering 7.6 million ha

7. Salim Ali Centre for Ornithology under UNDP project has undertaken survey of 72 districts.

8. A project on ‘National Wetland Information System and Updation of Wetland Inventory’ has been sanctioned by the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The objectives of this project are (1) to map and inventorize wetlands on 1:50,000 scale by on-screen interpretation of digital IRS LISS III data of post and pre-monsoon seasons, (2) to prepare State-wise wetland Atlases, and (3) to create a digital database in GIS environment in respect of all wetlands in the country.

9. The Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology at Annamalai University, Parangipettai, has been assisted in project mode for updating all wetlands in the country.

 

Institutional mechanism

 

(a) It is imperative to have multi-disciplinary, holistic and integrated approach for achieving long-term sustainable wetland conservation and management measures. At present, various models exist in States and different nodal agencies are responsible for implementing the Wetland Conservation Programme. In some States, the programme is executed by the Department of Forests and/or Environment or Urban Development; in some others, it is the Department of Irrigation or Science and Technology or Fisheries. However, the Wetland Conservation and Management is a specialized technical and scientific field where multi-disciplinary approach is needed, involving a number of components like water management, sustainable fisheries development, hydrological aspects, socio-economic issues, community participation, weed control, biodiversity conservation and use of aquatic macrophytes for nutrient recycling process, hydrological aspects providing information about inflow/outflow pattern in the system, nutrient fluxes and nutritional dynamics. These aspects need to be dealt with in a coordinated manner by managers having expertise in the relevant fields.

(b) Taking into consideration the complexity of the issue, the State Steering Committees have been constituted under the chairmanship of Chief Secretaries of the States having members from all Departments concerned. The Committee is also expected to have representatives from communities, NGOs and academicians. The officer from the nodal department acts as a member-secretary of the Committee. The success of the programme depends upon its strong institutional mechanism where conservation efforts are undertaken through integrated and multi-disciplinary approach. However, due to inadequacy of infrastructure and staff, conservation activities are yet to acquire comprehensiveness and sustainability in some States.

State Governments have been advised to consider constitution of Wetland Conservation Authorities so that experts from various Departments undertake conservation activities in a more scientific, cohesive and sustainable manner.

(c) Some States have already constituted Authorities for execution of wetland conservation programmes in their respective States. Notable among them are Chilika Development Authority in Orissa (mandated to manage all identified lakes in the State); Loktak Development Authority in Manipur; Shore Area Development Authority in Andhra Pradesh; Lakes and Waterways Development Authority in Jammu and Kashmir; Lake Development Authority in Karnataka and Lake Conservation Authority in Madhya Pradesh.

 

Capacity building

 

Capacity building is a major tool without which no conservation activity is possible. We need to have good infrastructure, trained people, and case studies to teach values and functions of wetlands in an integrated and multi-disciplinary manner. The Ministry has taken several initiatives in this regard as per details given below.

(a) It has published several reports/documents on conservation and wise use of wetlands which include six monographs on Ramsar sites in collaboration with WWF India and eco-tourism guidelines for Chilika Lake.

(b) During the Tenth Five Year Plan, several training programmes have been conducted in collaboration with different academic organizations/research institutes/State Governments/international NGOs to impart training on various components of wetland conservation which include wise use, catchment area treatment, weed control, hydrological aspects, research methodology, preparation of management action plans and community participation. Training is imparted to policy makers, senior/ middle level managers, organizations, stakeholders and others. A National Training Programme for Integrated Water Resource Management and Wetland Conservation was organized during 7-11 August 2006 by Chilika Development Authority with the financial support from Ministry of Environment and Forests. More training programmes are proposed to be organized at different regions of the

Country.

A series of regional workshops were organized in various parts of the country to make people aware of the importance of wetlands and integrate their traditional knowledge in the planning process. The following regional and international workshops were organized during the Tenth Plan:

1 Western Region, Gujarat

2 Southern Region, Kerala

3 Eastern Region, Orissa

4 North-Eastern Region, Manipur

5 Central Region, Madhya Pradesh

6 Northern region, Uttar Pradesh

7 Northern region, Jammu and Kashmir

8 Southern region, Lakshadweep

9 International Workshop on High Altitude Wetlands, Sikkim

10 Meeting of Board of Directors of Wetland International, Rajasthan

Holding regional workshops along with research organizations and wetland managers is an ongoing feature.

 

Community Participation

 

(a) No decision-making is complete without participation of local people whose livelihoods depend on wetland resources. People have been using wetlands since time immemorial. We have to blend both traditional and latest scientific technologies to achieve long-term conservation goals. Participatory Rural Appraisal exercise involving local communities should be the main ingredient of community participation. It should also take into consideration issues of women and gender sensitization and involve women in the management process.

(b) The component of community participation comprises the following constituents.

1. Assessment of resource availability by surveys and participatory rural appraisal of the site.

2. Stakeholder analysis

3. Contact with external institutions for resource and technical advice

4. Utilization of wastes and aquatic weeds for energy regeneration, for example through installation of community- based biogas plants.

5. Additional alternate income generation programmes like handloom, handicrafts, integrated farm management techniques and other measures to reduce pressure on wetlands.

6. Highlighting of gender-related cross-cultural, governance-related practices and other special concerns for assessment by community.

(c) The Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs), also referred to as Village Protection Committees (VPCs) or Eco-Development Committees (EDCs), are expected to play an active role in conservation and management of wetlands located in forest fringe areas, i.e. normally within a radius of 5 km of forest boundary. The JFMC/ VPC/EDC shall be instrumental in mobilization of communities and for implementing equitable access to information rights.

 

Use of Geo-spatial technology in wetland management

 

Remote sensing data in combination with Geographic Information System (GIS) are effective tools for wetland conservation and management. The application encompasses water resource assessment, hydrologic modeling, flood management, reservoir capacity surveys, assessment and monitoring of the environmental impacts of water resources project and water quality mapping and monitoring (Jonna 1999).

 

 

 

Flood zonation mapping

 

Satellite data are used for interpretation and delineation of  flood-inundated regions, flood-risk zones. Temporal data helps us to obtain correct ground information about the status of ongoing conservation projects. IRS 1C/D WIFS data having 180 km spatial resolution and high temporal repetitiveness has helped in delineating the zonation of flooding areas of large river bodies, thus helping in the preparation of state-wise and basin wise flood inventories.

 

Water quality analysis and modeling

 

Remote sensing data is used for the analysis of water quality parameters and modeling. Water quality studies have been done carried out using the relationship between reflectance, suspended solid concentration, and chlorophyll-a concentration. In the near infrared wavelength range, the amount of suspended solids content is directly proportional to the reflectance. Due to spatial and temporal resolution of satellite data information of the source of pollution and the point of discharge, inflow of sewage can be regularly monitored. Using IRS LISS II data (Sasmal & Raju 1996) monitored the suspended load in estuarine waters of Hoogly, West Bengal in a GIS environment. In this study band 4 of the data set was found to show a wider range of digital classes indicating a better response with depth than rest of the bands. Landsat TM and IRS –1A data were used to estimate sediment load in Upper lake, Bhopal (Raju et al. 1993). This study showed high relationship between the satellite as well as ground truth radiometric data and total suspended solids. Different image processing algorithms are also used on Landsat MSS dataset to delineate sediment concentration in reservoirs (Jonna et al. 1989). Qualitative remote sensing methods have been used for real time monitoring of Inland Water quality (Gitelson et al. 1993) Airborne sensor has also been used to study the primary productivity and related parameters of coastal waters and large water bodies (Seshmani et al. 1994).

 

Water resource management

 

With the development of highly precise remote sensing techniques in spatial resolution and GIS, the modeling of watershed has become more physically based and distributed to enumerate interactive hydrological processes considering spatial heterogeneity. A distributed model with SCS curve number method called as Land Use Change (LUC) model was developed (Mohan & Shresta 2000) to assess the hydrological changes due to land use modification. The model developed was applied to Bagmati river catchment in Kathmandu valley basin, Nepal. The study clearly demonstrated that integration of remote sensing, GIS and spatially distributed model provides a powerful tool for assessment of the hydrological changes due to landuse modifications.

 

Mapping of Wetland

 

The Space Application Center (SAC) has mapped the wetlands at 1:250000 scale in the mainland as well the islands using the visual interpretation of coarse resolution satellite data. The states of Sikkim, West Bengal, Goa Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Andaman, Nicobar, Lakshwadeep, Dadra and Nagerhaveli were mapped at 1:50000 scale. However, in the rest of the country, only wetlands of 56.25 ha and above in size could be mapped. It is known that a vast majority of wetlands-often in number, extent and conservation importance is below 50 ha in size (For example, those in the Indo-gangetic plains and in the Deccan peninsula). Thus, the inventory covered only a small number of wetlands: more over, the conservation values are not known for those wetlands even whose inventory has now been obtained. The data merely indicates location of wetlands, the classification of wetlands on 1:250,000 scale is moreover, only geomorphologic in nature (such as Oxbow lakes, Playas, Lakes and Ponds etc.) and has no other factual biological conservation value. By itself, the information will only be partly useful for conservation of wetlands. This estimate is likely to be twice if we include wetlands of size 50 ha or less (Das et al. 1994 for Etwah and Mainpuri districts of U.P.).

 

6. Conclusion

Threats to wetland ecosystems comprise the increasing biotic and abiotic pressures and perils. About 35% of mangroves have been lost over the last two decades, driven primarily by aquaculture development, deforestation, and freshwater diversion. Some 20% of coral reefs were lost and more than a further 20% degraded in the last several decades of the twentieth century through overexploitation, destructive fishing practices, pollution and siltation and changes in storm frequency and intensity. The primary direct driver of the loss and degradation of coastal wetlands, including saltwater marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows, and coral reefs, has been conversion to other land uses.  In the Indian subcontinent due to rice culture, there has been a loss in the spatial extent of wetlands.  Wetlands in India support around 2400 species and subspecies of birds. But losses in habitat have threatened the diversity of these ecosystems Introduction of exotic species like water hyacinth (Eichornia crassipes) and salvinia (Salvinia molesta) have threatened the wetlands and clogged the waterways competing with the native vegetation.  As many as 700 potential wetlands do not have any data to prioritize. Many of these wetlands are threatened. In monsoonal regions, increased variability risks diminishing wetland biodiversity and prolonged dry periods promote terrestrialisation of wetlands as witnessed in Keoladeo National Park, India. So far as current status of wetland management in India is concerned, Wetlands are not delineated under any specific administrative jurisdiction. The primary responsibility for the management of these ecosystems is in the hands of the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Although some wetlands are protected after the formulation of the Wildlife Protection Act, the others are in grave danger of extinction. Effective coordination between the different ministries, energy, industry, fisheries revenue, agriculture, transport and water resources, is essential for the protection of these ecosystems. The dynamic nature of wetlands necessitates the widespread and consistent use of satellite based remote sensors and low cost, affordable GIS tools for effective management and monitoring.

 

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I am Imran Ahmad Dar. I have completed my M.Sc. in Environmental Sciences in Kashmir University, India and i am doing research (Ph.D) in the department of Industries and Earth Sciences, Tamil University, India.I am having seven(refreed and peer reviewed) international publications. In addition i have presented three papers in National Symposium/Conferences. Moreover, presently, i am the Editor of the journal- Journal of Wetland Ecology, besides being the reviewer of Journal of Coastal Research and Journal of Hydrology.