Nepal’s economy which is dominated by agriculture is heavily dependent upon the monsoon. Thus, we need to understand the processes of the monsoon and its importance before heading towards big chapters on climate change. But as we always want to catch a big mouse even though that mouse is not valuable still we love to mimic the developed countries and try to catch the bigger ones. If we start to talk about monsoon processes, and consequences then definitely it will take us nearer to understand climate change based on our context.
Published articles on Chure are mostly limited to the drivers of degradation coding usual factors such as deforestation, forest encroachment, haphazard collection of sand and boulders etc. Those issues are reported without insight into the process and function of the ecosystems of the Chure landscape. Therefore, introducing intervention for the conservation of Chure landscape without detailed knowledge on its processes is similar to moving to bigger chapters of “climate change’ without any concrete knowledge about the monsoon.
The trajectory of the system is always decided by the information or signals generated by the interactions between the structure and function of a system. Therefore, while moving to the conservation of Chure we should have detailed knowledge on its components and its stage, whether it is on the exploitation and conservation phases.
The level of interconnectedness among the components and energy stored will pin out the phase of the ecosystem, in which both structure (abiotic and biotic) and function (nutrient, water and energy budget) play a vital role. If it is in the conservation stage then it needs more energy for maintenance of the system because of higher interconnectedness of components (e.g. an old person needing more care); if it is on the release stage or nearby then it is ready to release the stored energy in any form (e.g. soil erosion due to the absence of enough maintenance or to adjust to the system); or if it is in the exploitation stage the system will be more resilient than other phases (e.g. a broken hand of a young person will heal sooner than an old man’s). Based on such information of the system state it will help in understanding the system i.e. whether Chure is a real patient or not.
An ecosystem bears both types of disturbances, i.e. creative and destructive. Without such disturbance the system cannot move on its trajectory. Disturbance also works as a good manager but we need to know which disturbances are helping the ecosystems of Chure to run in its trajectory. Becoming familiar with disturbances would also help to know nature’s unpredictable events like disasters. If we fail to know the role of creative disturbances then we will miss the opportunity of having fertile lowland that can be formed by the process undergoing in Chure. That’s why Chure is a source of life and itself a life as it can be regarded as both “father” (source) and “son” (consequence).
To keep the ecosystems of Chure in its trajectory; it should be treated as a resource to be used wisely for inviting creative disturbances. Further, the whole of Chure should not be considered as a patient; it should be distinguished into the resilient lowland areas and top hill areas because the same solution would not be effective for both areas. After this, vulnerable sites and required conservation efforts should be selected based on the entry point within the watershed.
Once we choose to work out at watershed level, it is necessary to spell out the linkages between upstream and downstream in the perspective of human environmental system focusing on conservation and livelihood activities in the upstream; adapt technology and bio-engineering at the downstream along with enhancing people’s commitment to the conservation program. But failing to address the out-of-box driver such as trans-boundary issues may lead to the failure of the program. Therefore, we can put the issues in front of Indian government by picturing that Chure is the mirror of Bihar, UP and others.
According to Indian PM Modi’s speech in the Legislature-Parliament during his recent visit to Nepal, India is well aware about the linkages between the countries. Thus, the “Trans-boundary Payment of Ecosystem Services” option should prioritize obtaining Indian payment to conserve the Chure as service beneficiaries. Chure landscape can generate more monetary benefits compared to hydropower, because Chure is a source of delivering of bundling of services in terms of mega water recharge capacity and other services as a free gift to India with our expenses.
Recently, a President Chure Terai Madesh Conservation Program was established. I hope this committee will comprise members from all the fields and groups because environmental issues should be dealt with in an interdisciplinary manner. Furthermore, I suggest focusing on science-based understanding through developing the theory of Chure life just like Modi hinted at the need of “rishi man” (i.e. application of science) to formulate the constitution. Through the analysis of the framework of adaptive cycle, appropriate measures can be introduced to sustain Chure.
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