Int’l research paper says Kishtwar, Ramban show ‘very high’ climate-induced livelihood vulnerability

Katra, Banihal, Batote report rainfall deficit

Bivek Mathur
JAMMU, Mar 3: The hilly towns of Kishtwar and Ramban have shown a very high level of livelihood vulnerability due to the climate change in the last over three decades, a research paper published in an international journal said.
The research paper of Dr Mohammad Sarfaraz Asgher and his team from the Department of Geography, University of Jammu, titled, “Assessing livelihood vulnerability to climate variability in the Himalayan region: a district level analysis of Jammu province, India”, published in Geojounral-a journal of the renowned American publisher, Springer-has also claimed that the average maximum temperature in Katra, Bhaderwah, and Jammu has also fallen over the years while as the average maximum temperature in Batote and Banihal has increased in the last three decades.
The research paper has also highlighted the concern of rainfall deficit in weather stations Katra in Reasi district, and Banihal and Batote in Ramban district due to the climate variations.
Asked what the possible reasons for the change in climate in Jammu and Kashmir are, Dr Mohammad Sarfaraz Asgher told the Excelsior: “there are several reasons for the changes we’re seeing in the climate today. They are natural as well as anthropogenic. Among the natural are shifting of the tectonic plates within the Earth’s crust causing earthquakes and the rise in the temperature, and among the anthropogenic are many including, unplanned burning, construction activities, release of harmful gases into the atmosphere, deforestation etc.,” he said.
Dr Asgher and his team’s study, which assessed the change in the weather patterns over the period 1987-2019 using secondary data on annual rainfall and change in temperature from IMD’s Srinagar unit, was aimed at evaluating the livelihood vulnerability to the changing climate in the Jammu Province.
To do so, Dr Asgher’s research paper ranked the 10 districts of Jammu in order of their vulnerability to climate variability based on the calculated Vulnerability Index (VI) to climate variations using 25 parameters based on the secondary sources. A Vulnerability Index is a measure of the exposure of a population to some hazard.
According to Dr Mohammad Sarfaraz Asgher, the Vulnerability Index result revealed that the Districts of Ramban and Kishtwar had the highest vulnerability score (0.65) and (0.64) respectively and were ranked first and second, while Jammu had the lowest vulnerability score (0.25) and was ranked 10th.
“Jammu district is the only one that falls in the very low category having a vulnerability score of 0.25, while Kathua and Samba fall in the low category having a vulnerability score of 0.42 and 0.53 respectively,” Dr Sarfraz said, adding that Rajouri, Udhampur, and Doda districts fall in the moderate category having vulnerability scores of 0.54, 0.57, and 0.58 respectively.
“Reasi and Poonch districts also fall in the high level of vulnerability with vulnerability scores of 0.61 and 0.62 respectively,” he said.
In the conclusive part of their research paper, Dr Mohammad Sarfaraz Asgher and his team have explained the reasons for a higher vulnerability in the hilly districts of Jammu Province compared to a lower vulnerability in the Jammu plains.
“The low-lying districts of plain areas such as Jammu and Kathua have the least vulnerability to the changing climate as they have very good infrastructures and socio-economic conditions.
“On the other hand, the districts located on high altitudes mountainous terrain such as Ramban and Kishtwar shows very high vulnerability to the changing climate as they have low levels of social, human and economic infrastructure development as well as very high diversity in physiography and climatic conditions,” said the study.
“Moreover, the districts which are located in high altitude mountains are away from the urban centres and have very difficult terrain. Hence, these districts require special attention from the planners and policymakers to deal with the impact of climate change on the livelihoods of people,” suggested the study conducted by Dr Asgher and his team.
“Jammu province is the home of some of the most important indigenous groups such as Gujjar, Bakarwal, Gaddis and Sippis who comprise nearly 20% of the total population of the region. They generally depend on agriculture and animal husbandry for their livelihood and live in poor housing conditions, and hence their livelihood is highly vulnerable to the changing climate,” concluded the research paper.