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Reducing emissions from community forest management: a feasibility study from altara Khan

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https://www.eduzhai.net International Journal of Plant Research 2012, 2(6): 181-187 DOI: 10.5923/j.plant.20120206.02 Reducing Emission from Community Forest Managements: A Feasible Study from Almora, Uttarakhand Vardan Singh Rawat Department of Botany, D.S.B. Campus, Kumaun University, Nainital, Uttarakhand Abstract The present study highlights the significance of co mmunity forests in relation to forest degradation. This article argues that community can benefit fro m the REDD+ mechanis m by proactively acting to curb the rate of forest degradation. Successful participation can bring biodiversity, ecological and economic benefits to the community as well as to the country. Of the total bio mass in Anriyakot Van Panchayat the contribution of above ground and below ground parts was 73.95% and 26.05%, respectively. The contribution of shrub, herb and litter was 3.90%, 1.25% and 2.68%, respectively. Beside this in Bhatkholi Van Panchayat of the total biomass the contribution of above ground and below ground parts was 74.39% and 25.61%, respectively. The contribution o f shrub, herb and litter was 5.72%, 3.50% and 6.11%, respectively. The mean carbon sequestration rate in Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van Panchayats was 3.90±0.52 t ha -1 yr-1 and 3.41±0.69 t ha -1 yr-1, respectively. The soil organic carbon percent varied fro m 1.00±0.29 to 2.73±0.51 in Anriyakot, while 1.41±0.54 to 2.97±0.46 in Bhatkholi Van Panchayat. The find ing indicates that the community managed forests may act as role model in mitigating climate changes. Determin ing the level of carbon stock pools in different co mponents has become a concern of governments, businesses and many organizat ions. It is must to incorporate climate change consideration in forest sector especially Van Panchayat fores ts for long-term planning proces s. Keywords Co mmunity Managed Forest, Van Panchayat, Carbon Sequestration Rate, REDD 1. Introduction Increased g reenhouse-gases are att ributab le most ly to foss il fuel co mb ust ion and defo restat io n wo rld wid e1 . Increasing scientific evidence suggests that the impacts of warming will be more serious and will occur sooner than had previously been believed. The alarming carbon dioxide rise in th e at mosphere wou ld raise th e g lobal at mospheric temperature by appro ximately 1℃ but its impacts on the Himalayan reg ion would be mo re where the temperature are exp ected t o in creas e by upt o 2℃ 2 . Th e remov al o f atmospheric GHGs by terrestrial ecosystem through carbon sequestration has provided a great opportunity for shifting GHGs emission to mitigate climate change. Under the Kyoto protocol only afforestation and reforestation activit ies has been considered. Ho wever, with regard to and reducing emissions3. Carbon sequestration activitiesmust be coupled wit h s t reams o f long -t erm p os it iv e b en efits to lo cal co mmu n it y, t o ensu re that potent ially n egat ive so cial * Corresponding author: singhvardan@redi ffm ail.com (Vardan Singh Rawat) Published online at https://www.eduzhai.net Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved impacts are averted and that avoided emissions are sustainable. Under the proposed REDD policy, proposed in Bali conference there is a strong move to reduce CO2 emissions from terrestrial ecosystems by reducing deforestation rates in the tropics4. However, in Copenhagen conference REDD policy was extended to REDD+ to include forest enhancement, sustainable forest management, conservation and reduced forest degradation5. In the present scenario measuring forest degradation is problemat ic and require many trained professionals. A potentially cheaper alternative monitoring approach at the local imp lementation scale of REDD+ is to engage loca l people in monitoring 6 a local based forest monitoring approach therefore hold promise for REDD+. In the present scenario the role of community forests cannot be neglected, as they have vast reserves of carbon stored in their woody bio mass and in the soil carbon pool where carbon re mains sequestered for long durations in the deeper layers7. The present study highlights the significance of co mmunity forests in relation to forest degradation and deforestation. This article argues that community can benefit fro m the REDD+ mechanism by proactively acting to curb the rate of fo rest degradation. Successful participation can b ring b iodiversity, ecolog ical and economic benefits to the community as well as to the Nation. 182 Vardan Singh Rawat: Reducing Emission from Community Forest M anagements: A Feasible Study from Almora, Uttarakhand 2. Material and Methods 2.1. Study Site The study sites are located in the Van Panchayats of Anriyakot and Bhatkholi in Lamgara b lock of A lmora districts of Uttarakhand. These Van Panchayat forests lie between 29º 32′ 98′′ to 29º 34′ 42′′ N latitudes and 79º 41′ 45′′ to 79º 43' 2'' E longitudes. The elevation of these Van Panchayats varied fro m 1800 to 2000m. The basic climate pattern is governed by the monsoon rhythm. The average annual rainfall varied fro m 329.3 to 515.9 mm. The mean maximu m temperature varied fro m 17.31℃ (December) to 28.90°C (June), wh ile the mean min imu m temperature varied fro m 2.18°C (January) to 14.87℃ (June). The parent material forming the soils in the study area mainly co mprises of schist, micaceous quartizimeta morph ism, p lutonic bodies of granodiorites and granites8. Altitudinally the study areas are located in temperate environment but latitudinally it comes within subtropical belt. Majo rity o f forest soils belong to the brown forest soil category9. The soil is residual and shallow. The soil of all the forest types is slightly acidic in reaction and the texture is more or less clay loam. The vegetation type main ly comprises Himalayan moist temperate oak forest and subtropical pine forest. The dominated tree species of both the Van Panchayats are Quercus leucotrichophora, Pinus roxburghii, Rhododendron arboreum, and Myrica esculenta. weight and soil bulk density was calculated16. The pH of each soil samp le was determined using a dig ital pH meter. Fine roots (< 1mm in diameter) were estimated following the ingrowth core method. The soil cores were obtained by driving a sharp edged steel tube (8.5 c m internal dia meter) in to the soil up to a depth of 1m (0-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80, 80-100 cm soil depth). In this mod ified ingrowth process, fine roots were excavated fro m the soil core with the help of a steel tube and hole was refilled with root free minera l soil. Root samples were collected fro m d ifferent directions, kept in polyethylene bags depth wise and brought to the laboratory. Soil moisture was determined on fresh weight basis15. For total Nitrogen (N), availab le Phosphorus (P) and available Potassium (K), three co mposite samples at different soil depths (0-30, 30-60, 60-100 cm) were taken. The total nitrogen content (%) was determined by micro -Kjeldahl assembly17. Soil phosphorous and potassium were extracted by wet ashing of 1 g soil material in acid mixtu re consisting of 10 ml H2SO4 +3 ml HNO3 + ml HCLO415). Soil potassium was determined using a flame Photometer, and phosphorous was determined using spectrophotometer15. Analysis of variance (ANOVA ) and Standard errors were calculated by using SPSS version 16 s o ftware. 3. Results 2.2. Methodol ogy 3.1. Forest Management and Socioeconomic Status Information on socio-economic parameters was collected by questionnaires which were distributed to 30% of the households in the Van Panchayat. The house holds were selected randomly on the basis of nu mber of family members and categorized in to small (<4), mediu m (5-9) and larger (>10). Four aspects at both the Van Panchayats were identified. At each aspect, trees were analyzed by placing randomly 10, 100 m2 circu lar quadrats. However, saplings, seedlings and shrubs were studied by using 10, 5×5 m2 quadrats10. Herbs and litter were studied in 10, 50× 50 cm2 quadrats placed randomly11. Tree layer bio mass was estimated on the basis of allo metric equations previously developed11 12). Carbon stock and sequestration rate were estimated as 50% of the dry weight of bio mass and 50% of net primary productivity13 14. Soil samp les were collected fro m 5-6 pits dug up to 100 cm depth in different locations within each aspect. Fro m each pit 300 to 500 g m soil samples were collected fro m 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm, 20-30 cm, 30-40 cm, 40-50 cm, 50-60 cm, 60-70 cm, 70-80 cm, 80-90 cm, 90-100 cm soil depths fro m both Van Panchayats, packed in to polythenebags and brought to the laboratory. Soil carbon estimation was based on rapid titration method of Walkey and Black15. To determine soil bulk density, soil samples were collected by means of a special metal core sampling cylinder of known volu me fro m d ifferent soil depths considered for soil carbon estimat ion. Samples of soil were brought to the laboratory and oven dried at 60℃ till constant The total household number in the p resent study ranged fro m 58 to 129. The area under both Van Panchayats varied fro m 30-50 ha. Every household has livestock number below 5. All the families are using fuelwood for cooking and heating purposes, only 3-5 families are using LPG, occasionally. The daily requirements of fuelwood ranged fro m 5-7 kg of dry fuelwood per family. The condition of the forests is quite satisfactory because trees are in healthy condition without lopping and are relatively undisturbed. The regeneration pattern is good, because the conversion of seedlings to saplings and saplings to trees is satisfactory. After the formation of the Van Panchayat the villagers believe that the condition of forest has improved substantially. Reforestation and afforestation emerged as a direct response to the ever-growing demands for fodder, fuel wood, and water in the village. The plantation of the Myrica esculenta and Alnus nepalensis was done in 2009 in about 5 ha area. The villager’s clear fire lines for the protection of forest during the summer season. According to recent estimates, there are about 12,089 Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand managing an area of 5,44,965 ha. Handing over forests to communities for management has gradually improved the forest condition with positive impacts on biodiversity conservation, increased production of fodder, firewood, litter and other non-timber forest products (NTFPs) which support subsistence livelihoods. The impact of this policy in the forestry sector has undoubtedly been positive in International Journal of Plant Research 2012, 2(6): 181-187 183 reducing deforestation and forest degradation in Uttarakhand efforts of co mmun ity members and proper forest Himalaya. management practices deployed by the community. 3.2. Phytosociological Attri butes The total tree density of the Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van Panchayat ranged from 150 to 490 ind/ha and 193 to 324.3 ind/ha, respectively (Table 1). The forest of both site were dominated by Quercus leucotrichophora and Pinus roxburghii. The total tree basal area in the present study varied fro m 5.26- 13.62 m2 ha-1. In the present study the conversion of seedlings to saplings and saplings to trees of Quercus leucotrichophora was satisfactory indicating an expanding type of population. Similarly, Rhododendron arboretum seedlings and saplings were in good conditions, while the Pinus roxburghii regenerating poorly. The higher density of seedling, sapling and trees was because of the 3.3. Forest Biomass The total forest bio mass of Anriyakot Van Panchayat in year 1st was 453.22 t ha -1 and it increased to 485.61 t ha -1 in 2nd year. The percent contribution of the tree layer in total forest biomass was maximu m (98.82%). The bio mass of the shrub and herb layer was close to 1.18%. While, the total forest biomass of Bhatkholi Van Panchayat in year 1st was 179.36 t ha -1 and it increased to 208.61 t ha -1 in 2nd year. Of the total forest, biomass contribution of the tree layer was maximu m (98.1%). The bio mass of the shrub and herb layer was close to 3.9%. Of the total bio mass contribution of above ground part was 73.4% and belowground part 26.6% (Table 2) Table 1. Site characteristics of the Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van Panchayat forests Paramete rs Altitude (m) Year of formation Area (ha) Dominant Vegetation TotalTree density (in/ha) Livestock population under each household Daily requirement s of fuelwood (Kg/family) Total household number residing around the Van Panchayat forest Soil bulk density gcm-3 (0-100cm) Soil carbon% (0-100cm) Annual range of soil moisture (%) (0-100cm) Anriyakot Van Panchayat 1500-1800 1978 36.12 Quercus leucotrichophora, Pinus roxburghii 150 to 490 2-5 5-7 12 1.09±0.007 to 1.36±0.03 1.00±0.29 to 2.73±0.51 7.53±1.06 to 29.72±1.15 Bhatkholi Van Panchayat 1500-1700 1976 50 Quercus leucotrichophora, Pinus roxburghii 193 to 324.3 3-5 5-7 15 0.82±0.06 to 1.36±0.005 1.41±0.54 to 2.97±0.46 6.52±1.09 to14.50±1.15 Table 2. Average forest biomass of tree, shrub and herb layers of Bhatkholi and Anriyakot Van Panchayat Biomass Year 1 (t ha-1 yr-1) B1 Biomass Year 2 (t ha-1 yr-1) B2 Bhatkholi Van Panchayat Biomass Year 1 (t ha-1 yr-1) B1 Biomass Year 2 (t ha-1 yr-1) B2 Anriyakot Van Panchayat Boles 18.57±1.45 20.54±1.47 42.30±7.70 45.28±7.82 Branches 8.00±2.40 10.03±2.47 22.92±6.68 25.64±6.97 T wigs 3.51±1.23 4.52±1.39 11.61±4.12 12.09±3.88 Foliage 1.82±0.41 2.04±0.52 5.39±1.71 5.54±1.76 Total above ground 31.90±1.37 37.13±1.46 82.22±5.05 88.55±5.11 Stump root 9.12±2.68 10.08±2.88 24.22±7.02 25.15±7.42 Lateral roots 1.84±0.38 2.30±0.42 4.86±1.30 5.05±1.40 Fine roots 0.24±0.05 0.40±0.08 0.68±0.19 0.99±0.07 Total below ground 11.20±1.04 12.78±1.13 29.76±2.84 31.19±2.96 Shrubs 1.51±0.57 3.37±0.91 2.89±0.98 5.07±1.11 Herbs 1.39±0.16 2.06±0.45 1.47±0.66 1.62±0.77 Tot al 46 55.34 116.34 126.43 184 Vardan Singh Rawat: Reducing Emission from Community Forest M anagements: A Feasible Study from Almora, Uttarakhand 3.4. Soil Characteristics The total organic soil carbon upto 100 cm soil depth varied fro m 13.39±0.36 t ha -1 to 30.08±0.30 t ha -1 across different soil layers of both Van Panchayats. The soil organic carbon percentage of the Anriyakot Van Panchayat ranged fro m 1.00±0.29% to 2.73±0.51%, whereas on Bhatkholi Van Panchayat it ranged fro m 1.41±0.54% to 2.97±0.46% (Figure 1 and 2). The maximu m soil organic carbon percent being in top soil layer upto10 cm and thereafter it decreased with increasing soil depth. Contrary to this, the soil bulk density followed a reverse trend and varied fro m 1.09±0.07 g cc-1 to 1.44±0.22 g cc-1 east facing aspect (2.03 t ha -1 yr-1) of the Bhatkholi Van Panchayat forest (Figure 3). Data showed that in both the Van Panchayats, the highest amount of carbon was stored in the biomass of Quercus leucotrichophora trees (91.55 %). Soil carbon (%) South East 3.5 south 3 North North West 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 0-10 10-20. 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80 80-90 90-100 Soil depth (cm) Figure 1. Soil carbon of Anriyakot Van Panchayat along different soil depths and aspects Soil carbon (%) 4 South West North West 3.5 East 3 North 2.5 2 1.5 1 0.5 0 0-10 10-20. 20-30 30-40 40-50 50-60 60-70 70-80 80-90 90-100 Soil depth (cm) Figure 2. Soil carbon of Bhatkholi Van Panchayat along different soil depths and aspects across different soil depths on Anriyakot Van Panchayat and 0.97±0.06 g cc-1 to 1.36±0.004 g cc-1 on Bhatkholi Van Panchayat (Table 1). The ANOVA test showed that the soil organic carbon, site, depth varied significantly at P<0.05. The comb ined effects of site x aspect also showed significant variation at P<0.05. Ho wever, the co mbined effects of site x depth aspect x depth did not varied significantly. 3.5. Carbon sequestration rates The average carbon sequestration rate in the present study in Anriyakot Van Panchayat forest was 3.90±0.52 t ha-1 yr-1, while in Bhatkholi Van Panchayat forest it was 3.41±0.69 t ha -1 yr-1. The maximu m sequestration rate was on south facing aspect (5.44 t ha -1 yr-1) of the Anriyakot Van Panchayat forest and the min imu m sequestration rate was on Figure 3. Carbon sequestration rates (t ha -1 yr -1) in Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van Panchayat (Carbon sequestration rate is on Y-axis and Aspect on X-axis) Analysis of statistics (T-Test, paired sample) between aboveground carbon sequestration rate and belowground carbon sequestration rate showed significant variation at P<0.005. 3.6. Litter Fall The mean annual litter fall in Anriyakot Van Panchayat forest was 6.25±0.26 t ha-1 (mean of four aspects). The mean litter fall value was higher in summer season (2.86±0.39 t ha-1) followed by rainy (1.87±0.27 t ha-1) and winter season (1.53±0.04 t ha-1). While the mean annual litter fall in Bhatkholi Van Panchayat forest was 6.08±0.50 t ha-1 (mean of four aspects). The mean litter fall value was higher in summer season (2.55±0.32 t ha-1) followed by rainy (1.84±0.24 t ha-1) and winter season (1.68±0.26 t ha-1) (Table 3). The ANOVA test showed significant variation at P<0.05 across aspects, seasons and types of litter. The co mb ined effects of seasons x types of litter, seasons x aspects also varied significantly (P<0.05). However, in case of site x aspects, sites x seasons, sites x litter types and aspects x litter types did not show significant variation. Table 3. Average seasonal litter fall (t/ha) in Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van P an ch ay at Season Summer Rainy W int er Tot al Summer Rainy W int er Tot al Wood 0.89 0.41 0.59 1.89 0.78 0.40 0.85 2.03 Anriyakot Van Panchayat Fresh Partially Miscellaneous leaf decompose d litte r 1.66 0.22 0.05 0.89 0.52 0.05 0.69 0.24 0.00 3.24 0.98 0.10 Bhatkholi Van Panchayat 1.68 0.09 - 1.06 0.37 0.02 0.70 0.13 - 3.44 0.59 0.02 Total 2.82 1.87 1.52 6.21 2.55 1.84 1.68 6.08 International Journal of Plant Research 2012, 2(6): 181-187 185 3.7. Fi ne Root Biomass The total fine root bio mass in Anriyakot Van Panchayat forest varied fro m 4.33 t ha -1 to 6.65 t ha -1 (Four aspects). The average fine root bio mass of the three seasons was 7.41±2.89 t ha -1. The total fine root bio mass in Bhatkholi Van Panchayat ranged from 4.28 t ha -1 to 5.74 t ha -1. The average fine root bio mass was 6.56±2.68 t ha -1. The fine root biomass across all seasons declined with depth increasing soil depths. The ANOVA test showed that fine roots bio mass varied significantly (P<0.05) between seasons, forest site, aspects, soil depths and to the combined effects of season x forest site and season x soil depths. 4. Discussion As deforestation was acknowledged as a source of anthropogenic emissions at the 13th CoP meet ing, interest is growing in finding ways to include the reduction in forest degradation in developing countries beyond the first commit ment period of the Kyoto Protocol18. Therefore, it is important for the authorities in the regions concerned to take early cognizance of the potential that forest conservation offers and lobby for a mechanis mthat brings benefits to local communit ies, which will conserve forests locally and extending the benefits globally. The present study illustrate that community forest management can be a viable strategy for reducing emissions fro m deforestation, as the data reveal that the mean carbon sequestration rate for India (3.7 t ha -1 yr-1) and Nepal (1.88 t ha -1 yr-1), are close to 2.79 t ha -1 yr-1or 10.23 CO2 t ha -1 yr-1 under normal management conditions, this is the condition when local people have extracted various forest products to meet their sustenance needs19. The Van Panchayat forests in Uttarakhand are sequestering carbon at the average rate of around 3.3 t ha -1 yr-1. However, these values varied fro m p lace to place. In least disturbed forests of various types, such as sal, pine and oak forests generally carbon sequestration rates ranged between 4.0-5.6 t ha-1 yr-1. These are more or less similar to values reported for tropical forests. However, due to forest degradation these high rates are not found everywhere at regional scale. A range of values between 2.52-3.53 t ha-1 yr-1 is common20. The carbon sequestration values observed from the present study varied fro m 2.03 to 5.44 t ha-1 yr-1. The carbon sequestration values observed from the present study are in agreement with the values reported earlier for d ifferent central Himalayan forests21 22 23. A study carried out in the inner Terai reg ion in Nepal shows carbon sequestration rates of 2 t C ha -1 yr-1 fro m aboveground biomass, including understory biomass, and SOC of upto 20 cm depth25. In the present study the number of trees was more in the younger size girth classes (30 to 60cm), therefore calculated carbon sequestration rate values are towards higher side. Almost trees of mediu m size girth class had a greater potential for carbon sequestering than mature trees because the growth rate was slow in bigger size girth classes. Therefore, to conserve and manage the small trees of 10- 60c m girth c lass can considerably increase carbon sequestration potential in the near future if appropriate management practices are applied. 26 27 reported that carbon sequestration depended not only forest types and rates of productivity but also on the size classes of trees. As the average prices of carbon offsets range between US$ 5 to US$ 28 per tones. Using the no minal rate of US$ 10 per tones, the carbon stored in Anriyakot and Bhatkholi Van Panchayat forests was US$ 1690.44 and US$ 2046, respectively. The situation in other Van Panchayats in Uttarakhand is mo re or less similar. It was assumed that at least 2-5 ha of forest are required per household to meet their daily needs of fodder and fuelwood. A major transfer of fo rest fro m government to Van Panchayat would be required to give adequate forest support to most villages. This comes to over 100,000 ha of government forest; that is, nearly 40% of the existing forests28. Once each Van Panchayat is assured of an adequate forest area, regulations about the protection of government forests can be enforced effectively. Th is can be used to address the problem of leakage. Thus it would help to ens ure improvement in the remain ing government forest. Once assured of rights, villagers would be encouraged to take up measures to reduce their day to day dependency on forests. Selling of carbon fro m their forests can provide a considerable inco me for the Van Panchayats. The inclusion of forest conservation activities in international agreements and protocols will give incentives to the local population to get certified emission reductions for their efforts to conserve the forest. This would not only provide resources for sustainable livelihoods and imp roved lifestyles, but also encourage the marginalized people of the Himalaya to make a mean ingful contribution to reducing global emissions and forest conservation29. On the basis of review of past studies, there appear to be high potential for enhancing the carbon sequestration in the vegetation and soils of the Central Himalayan reg ion through improved management of degraded lands. Soil carbon sequestration could meet at most about one-third of the current yearly increase in at mospheric CO2 however, the duration of the effect would be limited, with significant impacts lasting only 20-50 years30. Soil organic carbon values of the present study varied fro m 0.38 to 2.73%. These values are generally co mparable with the values reported earlier for different Central Himalayan forests (0.97% to 4.1%23).The organic soil ca rbon percent in the present study was higher on the top soil layers and declines as the soil depth increases. The vertical distribution of roots and soil carbon are correlated but soil carbon goes deeper than roots. Soil carbon turnover decreases with soil depth resulting in higher soil accumulat ion per units of carbon input in deeper layer soil organis m mixes carbon vertically. The tree species which have a deeper root allocation hold a great potential and various species of given area need to be examined in v iew of soil carbon accumulat ion. On an average most of the soil te xture of both the Van Panchayats were clay resulting in the h igher value of soil organic carbon percent. 186 Vardan Singh Rawat: Reducing Emission from Community Forest M anagements: A Feasible Study from Almora, Uttarakhand The estimates for sequestrating atmospheric CO2 indicate that maintain ing existing forests may be one of the least cost options for offsetting carbon, based on the breakeven price of $ 0.55 to $ 3.70 per t CO2. It is assumed that if the rates for credits are considerable higher than their cost, then it may be a real incentive to strengthen and promote sustainable forest management, wh ich will be attractive to local co mmun ities as well as governments in developing countries. It also clearly shows REDD policy must be built upon the existing CFM policy where co mmunities are recognized with their forest use rights. Successful participation can bring ecological and economic benefits to the commun ity as well as the country. 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