Meghalaya: Deforestation threatens Nokrek Biosphere Reserve


TURA | SEPT 08, 2020:

The recent flash floods in Tura have brought to focus the apparent deforestation in the Nokrek Biosphere Reserve, where most of the streams in Tura have their catchment area.

The situation has caught the attention of the Deputy Commissioner, who felt that the surge in water levels looked unnatural and could be attributed to deforestation in the upper reaches of Nokrek, mostly in the catchment areas of the streams.

"These streams originate from Tura Peak Reserve and buffer areas. Flash floods after 2-3 hours of torrential rains right from the upper reaches of the streams show the amount of deforestation that has happened in prohibited areas. We will call the concerned departments, Council and Nokmas of the areas to prepare an action plan to save Tura from any man-made calamity," said Ram Singh in a post on social media.

Many sections of Nokrek are subjected to slash and burn farming – a traditional farming practice in Garo Hills. However, with climate change and longer intervals required for afforestation, alarm bells are now ringing.

A resident of Tura AM Marak said, "These are ominous times and care has to be taken by all to ensure we don't lose more forest cover in Nokrek. The Biosphere is protected and efforts have to be made to keep it that way. Water problems in Tura have become a normal thing, but if such acts continue, we are going to face a bigger problem than just water."