Temperature changes threaten shola forests of Idukki
Idukki district
Idukki, May 13, 2008: Climate change is seriously threatening the shola grasslands of Idukki district and neighbouring areas of Tamil Nadu.

A study by the M.S. Swaminthan foundation showed an increase in maximum temperature and decrease in minimum temperature in the district. The increase was more than two degrees Celsius at Pambadumpara, famous for its dense sholas forestes.

Such as rise is likely to affect the microclimates of the shola forests, threatening the survival of the plants that live in a precarious equilibrium of factors such as temperature and humidity. It is the microclimates that save the plants from frostbite during winter. Lowering of the temperatures can defeat the ability of the plant community to prevent freezing temperatures.

During the last winter, Munnar in the district had reported freezing temperatures and heavy fog. The average temperatures during summer have also gone up in the town. For years now, species like jungle crows, which love warm climates, are seen in Munnar. According to old timers, this species was never seen in Munnar in the early days of planting that destroyed a lot of shola grasslands.

The rise in temperatures in Idukki district is not just an outcome of global warming. Large-scale destruction of natural forests turning the district in the direction of temperature changes characteristic of desertification. Such changes have already happened at Attappady in Palakkad district and some border areas of Wayanad district.

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