Wild fire devastates 100 acres in mudumalai tiger reserve
20 February 2017
published by http://www.deccanchronicle.com
India — Ooty: A wild fire that broke out at the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR)
on Saturday evening damaged around 100 acres. The period between January and
March is usually tough in forest management in the hills, as the drying woods
become susceptible to forest fire.
The wild fire broke out in Mandradiar circle, spread fast and forest teams from different directions rushed to the spot to douse the fire. Stating that nearly 100 acres of jungle cover were damaged by the wild fire, Mr.V.A.Sara-vanan, deputy director of MTR, said that nearly 200 forest personnel, including forest firewatchers, sweated it out till midnight on Saturday to extinguish the fire.
In addition to the existing staff, 75 persons have been recruited as firewatchers to be on duty till March-end. Round-the-clock monitoring is underway over 321-sq km area of MTR, he said and added that the present fire looks to be man-made.
Investigation is on and forest teams are visiting hamlets in and around the jungles to educate villagers on the need to conserve the forest and co-operate with the foresters in jungle management.
Meanwhile, Mr. V.Sivadass, managing trustee of the Nilgiris Environment and Socio-cultural Trust, said that a forest fire is a big threat to jungle bio-diversity as it destroys small creatures, though big animals generally escape.
Combating forest fires needs better tech: Greens
Greens are voicing the need for new era fire fighting technology, including
using helicopters to douse wild fire and application of remote sensing techniques, to tackle forest fire in the drying conditions.
N. Sadiq Ali, founder of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust here, said that the time has come to look at the technologies being used in Africa and other western countries to douse forest fire.
“In this cyber era, the Forest department should try using helicopters
to extinguish forest fires, as chopper is the fastest means for transport to reach the tough jungle sites and to pour down water and other fire extinguishing materials to douse the fire. Since, a lot of jungle wealth is destroyed in quick span of time during the forest fire, the state forest department should buy a helicopter equipped with fire-fighting techniques to be helpful during the fire seasons.
The forest department should try the remote sensing technology for
forest fire management,” he noted. This apart, the foresters should involve the tribes and other jungle dwellers by implementing the Mgnrega (rural jobs) scheme between January and March in the jungles for jungle perambulation and for fire-fighting process, Mr.Sadiq Ali added.
Meanwhile, V.Sivadass, managing trustee of Nilgiris Environment and Socio-cultural Trust, said that most of the forest fire appears to be man-made as some people living around the jungle peripheries make it a fun activity to torch the dried grasses and bushes in the jungles that eventually devastate the woods.
Mr. Sivadass said that the foresters should have a camera surveillance system in jungle borders to check entry of public or tourists into the woods. Village-level teams with mobile phone facilities around the jungles may be arranged for instant
communication in the event of any forest fires, he suggested.
In total, they are willing to pay US$643.5 million (RM2.8 billion) a year — large enough to make a “substantive impact on the problem” if used for land conservation and restoration, the researchers state in a paper published in February’s issue of the journal, Environmental Research Letters.
The paper’s authors, Yuan Lin, Lahiru Wijedasa and Dr Ryan Chisholm, wrote: “Our results indicate that Singaporeans experience sufficiently negative impacts of air pollution (in) their day-to-day life, or personal health during haze periods, that they are willing to trade off personal financial gain for improvements in air quality.”
Transboundary haze is a long-standing problem in the South-east Asian region, largely caused by the drainage of carbon-rich peatland as well as companies and farmers in Indonesia using fire to clear land.
Singapore experienced its worst haze episode in 2015 from September to November, with the Pollutant Standards Index hitting hazardous levels.
Since then, Indonesia has renewed efforts to prevent fires, although a state of emergency was declared last month in Riau province over forest and land fires.
The economic impact of haze pollution here has been estimated using cost-benefit analysis before, but the researchers said that the figures could be an under-estimate because they exclude impacts — such as non-hospitalisable health effects — that are difficult to infer from economic data.
The 2015 haze episode was estimated to have cost Singapore S$700 million (RM2.19 billion) in losses.
The NUS researchers surveyed 390 people in public areas from November 2015 to February 2016 on their willingness to pay, should the Singapore Government be able to guarantee good air quality year-round.
The participants, from various age and income groups, were given options ranging from 0.05 per cent to 5 per cent of their annual income, after they indicated if they were willing to support such a haze mitigation fund.
The average person’s willingness to pay was an estimated 0.97 per cent of his/her annual income.
However, about three in 10 respondents were unwilling to pay even the minimum option of 0.05 per cent of their annual income.
Wijedasa said that one of the solutions proposed for the haze problem is payments for ecosystem services.
“This could take the form of richer nations aiding better land management and restoration by making regular payments.
“Indonesia has estimated that it needs US$2.1 billion to help restore two million hectares of peatland in (the country). They have currently only received US$50 million from Norway and US$17 million from the United States.
"Could this shortfall be filled by Singapore (and other countries in the region)?”
Tan Yi Han, who is not involved in the study and is co-founder of non-governmental organisation People’s Movement to Stop Haze, said that the findings are helpful and “should motivate the Singapore Government to spend on measures to prevent haze, such as a subsidy on certified sustainable palm oil, as well as aid to support peat restoration and protection efforts in Indonesia”.
His organisation’s survey last year found that more than nine in 10 respondents were willing to pay more for certified sustainable products to help mitigate the haze, Tan said.
Most were willing to pay 5 to 10 per cent more.
Consumers game to chip in to avoid any haze include Steven Lim, who is in his 40s and self-employed. How much he is willing to contribute would depend on the amount needed to make an impact.
“Maybe S$10? Multiplied by many individuals, it would be a lot,” Lim said, preferring that the money goes to the Indonesian government.- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/money/article/singaporeans-willing-to-fork-out-1pc-of-income-to-ensure-no-more-haze#sthash.CRhWHQHj.dpuf