A latest study done by a team consisting of members from Bombay IIT and BITS Pilani’s Goa Campus found that Indian forests are affected highly by global warming. According to the study, Indian forests’ carbon sinking capacity is declining due to global warming. Carbon sink means the capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere against its release.
The study also found that the most biodiverse forests in the world, the Western Ghats, have been affected the most by rising temperature due to climate change. The carbon sinking capacity of Western Ghat has been declining mostly due to climate change not deforestation.
You can read about this study in the journal, ‘Scientific Reports’ titled ‘Warming Inhibits Increases in Vegetation Net Primary Productivity despite Greening in India.’
The NPP (Net Primary Productivity) offers an idea about carbon sinking capacity annually. As per the study, the NPP has decreased in Western Ghats within the last two decades in comparison with rest of the India.
The study states, “The most prominent vegetation productivity decline has been witnessed in some of India’s most biodiverse and pristine forest regions such as Northeast India and the Western Ghats. We investigate further the key factors influencing the spatial variability in the NPP trend pattern.”
Adding further the study stated, “We discovered that regions with significantly decreasing NPP trends are also associated with a significant warming pattern. These regions are also found to be the warming hot-spot in the country.”
The study was led by Subimal Ghosh and Ripan Das from IIT Bombay accompanied by BITS Pilani’s (Goa Campus) S. Karmakar, Rajiv Chaturvedi and A. Roy. The study stated, ““Decreasing photosynthesis and stable respiration above a threshold temperature over these regions are the key reasons behind the declining NPP.”
The Western Ghats occupies 22% of India’s land area but contribute 34% NPP of India. Hence why declining carbon sinking capacity in Western Ghats is so important. The research also states, “It is noteworthy that regions 1 and 4 contain the forests of Northeast India and the Western Ghats, which are among the world’s eight hottest hot-spots of biodiversity and account for a significant fraction of India’s forest area and the resulting forest carbon uptake.”
The research warned about the limitations about the study done with satellite data where certain limitations can be found that otherwise wouldn’t be found while doing research on ground.