Open Access Original Research Article

Analyzing the Role of Poor and Developing Nations in Global Climate Agreements

Landon Stevens, Arthur Wardle, Ryan M. Yonk

International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Page 135-147
DOI: 10.9734/BJECC/2017/33843

Increasingly, countries are gathering to address concerns surrounding climate change. The 2015 United Nations Conference of Parties, COP21, saw the emergence of a landmark agreement for collective global action. The tagline arising from this agreement was "Long live the planet. Long live humanity. Long live life itself." Indeed, this agreement should positively benefit the planet, but comes with myriad costs associated with such efforts. Just how these agreements are funded, managed, and regulated are crucial to understanding the broader impacts on individual parties. This paper evaluates the impacts of trade-offs made when considering long-term climate goals over short-term well-being for individual nations and citizens. The paper identifies considerations for officials in countries facing issues associated with energy poverty when crafting global climate agreements (GCAs). The primary question this paper asks is: “What role, if any, should poorer nations play in global climate agreements?” After reviewing the status of global CO2 emissions and the efficacy of GCAs, we argue that involving developing countries in GCAs is not beneficial in accomplishing global CO2 mitigation goals. In fact, when low-income countries are party to GCAs their role is either purely symbolic or works counter to other development goals.

Open Access Original Research Article

Phytodiversity of Herbaceous Vegetation in Disturbed and Undisturbed Forest Ecosystems of Pahalgam Valley, Kashmir Himalaya, India

S. A. Shameem, Hina Mushtaq, Aijaz Ahmad Wani, Naseer Ahmad, Abdul Hai

International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Page 148-167
DOI: 10.9734/BJECC/2017/31696

The study investigated the comparative assessment of seasonal herbaceous diversity at disturbed and undisturbed forest sites at Pahalgam and Betab valley of Kashmir. The results revealed that Shannon’s diversity attained maximum value (2.238) at site I to a minimum value (0.421) at site IV during summer season. Average values of diversity (H') ranged between 1.883, site I to 0.431, site IV. Dominance index depicted inverse relationship to diversity index (H′) at different sites during different seasons. Equability values varied between (0.890) in autumn season at site II to (0.296) in winter season at site I. Average equability values varied between 0.828, site II to 0.625, site IV. Richness index showed high trend during summer season (2.83, site I) and low at site IV (0.184) in autumn season. Average variation in richness index varied between 0.516, site IV to 1.900, site I. The abundance to frequency ratio (A/F) indicated most of species performed contagious pattern of species distribution (50%-100%, site I; 62%-100%, site II; 28%-100%, site III and 100%, site IV) followed by random (11-31%, site I; 37%, site II; 33%-57% and regular (18%-30%, site I, 25% site II and 14% site III). The study revealed that biotic interference and seasonal influences have affected the species diversity and efforts are required to conserve species diversity in the selected forest sites of the study area.

Open Access Original Research Article

Conflict Resolution and Collective Action for Ecological Restoration in the Highlands of Northern Ethiopia

T. C. Kumasi

International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Page 168-181
DOI: 10.9734/BJECC/2017/35017

Land degradation in Tigray highlands of Ethiopia adversely affects agricultural productivity, the environment, food security and livelihoods of smallholder farmers. This paper answers some pertinent questions on mass mobilization of compulsory free labour for ecological restoration in the Tigray region of Ethiopia after years of devastation. The paper brings out details of perception of changes in climate, the process of decision making for collective action, resistance to collective action, enactment and enforcement of rules and regulations, methods of conflict resolution, and arrangements for sharing the benefits arising from communal work. Stratified sampling based on male and female-headed households was used for the selection of households for each of the selected kushets for the structured interviews and focus group discussions from April to June 2011. The survey consisted of household structured survey and focus group discussions with selected farmers. Respondents (98.3%) observed changes in the climate during their lifetime and attributed them to deforestation (53.9%), natural causes (24.9%) and agriculture (19.5%) Most respondents (77.8%) had not observed any form of resistance to community work since they considered the land as their own. Farmers were contented to give free labour and materials for the establishment of  grazing area and woodlot because 86.8% of them felt they had spare labour, 30.4% considered it as a source of feed for their livestock, 47.6% wanted to restore the ecology, and 35.3% as source of fuel wood. Conflicts are resolved mostly employing informal conflict resolution mechanisms. The results reveal that communities are motivated by perceived benefits to provide free labour to restore the ecology as a means of sustaining their livelihood. In addition, this motivation is emboldened by societal cohesion, political support, and institutional arrangements that discourage deviant behavior through application of appropriate sanctions.

Open Access Original Research Article

Modeling of Areal Coverage of Snow of an Ungauged Catchment with ArcSWAT

Syeedah Raazia, Showkat Rasool

International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Page 182-194
DOI: 10.9734/BJECC/2017/36139

Aim: The study aimed at modeling the aerial extent of snow cover of an ungauged mountainous Himalayan region using the temperature index-based method of ArcSWAT model.

Study Design: 20 year precipitation and temperature data along with elevation information were used in the simulation of accumulated snow.

Place and Duration of Study: Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India from January 2014 to June 2014.

Methodology: The basin was divided into 3 elevation bands and daily snow accumulation depths were obtained for each of the elevation zones. To account for the lack of measured snow depths, satellite imagery was used to calibrate the model. LandsatLook imagery taken on different dates in a year was visually interpreted for the presence of snow cover in the different elevation zones. In addition, image classification was used to identify snow covered region in each elevation band and to determine the percent area under snow cover. Temperature and precipitation lapse rates were alternately adjusted till the simulated results were in agreement with the results obtained from the imagery. Simulation was deemed to be acceptable whenever a non-zero snow depth was simulated by the ArcSWAT model for above 5 percent area under snow determined from the satellite imagery.

Results: Calibration resulted in a temperature lapse rate of -6°C/km and a precipitation lapse rate of 5mm/km for the region. Snow accumulation depths obtained from the calibrated model for all elevation zones agreed reasonably well with the results obtained from image classification.

Conclusion: ArcSWAT could be suitably used to model the snow cover of ungauged hilly catchments. Satellite imagery/remote sensing data can be a suitable aid to calibrate the snow model for ungauged regions. Division into greater number of elevation zones is expected to improve the calibration process.

Open Access Original Research Article

Influence of Environmental Factors on Activities of Bacterial Population Associated With Rhizospheric Soil of Wheat Crop

Jupinder Kaur, S. K. Gosal

International Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Page 195-204
DOI: 10.9734/BJECC/2017/35188

Aim: To study the effect of environmental factors on the activities of soil microbial population in the rhizospheric soil of wheat crop.

Study Design: An agroclimatic study was carried out to study the effect of environmental alterations on the activity of soil bacteria in a multifactor climate change experiment in which wheat crop was grown under field conditions and under temperature gradient tunnel maintained at different and higher temperature. Attempt was made to screen high CO2 and high temperature tolerant diazotrophic bacteria from wheat rhizosphere.

Place of Study: Department of Microbiology, PAU, Ludhiana.

Methodology: Nitrogen fixing bacteria were isolated on Jensen’s medium using serial dilution spread plate technique. The bacterial isolates were characterized biochemically using standard techniques as described in Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology.The isolates were also assessed for their ability to produce indole acetic acid, siderophores production, ammonia excretion, qualitative phosphate solubilization and solubilization of phosphate by quantitative method.

Results: A total of 21 different nitrogen fixing bacteria were isolated from rhizospheric soil samples of wheat crop grown under field conditions and under temperature gradient tunnel. Out of 21 isolates, 8 isolates were able to grow upto 20% concentration of CO2 and 7 isolates showed growth upto 60°C. Tolerance to high CO2 and high temperature was observed to more in the bacteria isolated from the rhizospheric soil of wheat crop grown under temperature gradient tunnel. Functional characterization of these isolates showed that the isolate WT5 had significantly higher IAA production (44.3 µg/ml) after 5 days of incubation in the medium supplemented with tryptophan. Among these 21 isolates, six were found to have P-solubilizing diazotrophic trait and five were found to show siderophore production on CAS agar plates. The amount of ammonia excretion was non-significant among the isolates and was in the range of 1.14-3.70 µg/ml. The isolate WF6 was found to be the best isolate in terms of the functional characteristics and tolerance to high CO2 and temperature levels.

Conclusion: Results indicate that alterations in environmental factors may cause changes in activities of bacterial populations. These results illustrate the potential for complex community changes in terrestrial ecosystems under climate change scenarios that alter multiple factors simultaneously.