Zur ökologischen Situation des Himalaya

  • Hans Christoph Rieger (Author)

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The run-off of tremendous amounts of rain-water on slopes of extreme length and steepness in the Himalayee leads to a process of natural soil erosion. In addition, man-made erosion is increasing. Population pressure expresses itself in increased land demand for cultivation, increased livestock, and increased use of the forest to meet fuel and timber demand. The forests are continuously under attack from grazing of livestock, lopping of leaves and twigs for fodder, firewood extraction and forest fires. Where slopes are denuded, water run-off is increased both in amount and speed, and infiltration is reduced. The top soil is washed away and transported to lower elevations through sheet erosion, gully erosion and landslides. The increased run-off in the hills due to the denudation of the slopes not only increases the danger of floods during the rains but also that of droughts during the dry season, because less infiltration may reduce groundwater levels and cause mountain springs to dry up. The degree of ecological imbalance is difficult to measure, as most studies are of a sporadic nature or merely generalizing local experiences. Nevertheless, the evidence strongly suggests that deforestation in the Himalayas is extensive and on a rapid increase.