Restoration of Rain Hill

 

Project: Restoration of Rain Hills - Seegegudda or Malegudda and Nanjedevaragudda.

The recent study shown that trees can harvest water directly from cloud, mist and fog called cloud stripping (Bruijnzeel 2000; Reddel and McJannet 2002). Trees on the hill, mountain, and valley play a vital role in regulating cloud, rain, ground water, and streams. If forests are cleared indiscriminately, then cloud formation and cloud stripping effects reduces in a particular area (Bruijnzeel 2000; Reddel and McJannet 2002). Therefore, IUCN, WWF International, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre and UNESCO-IHP formed Tropical Montana Cloud Forest Initiative in 1999 to protect mountains and forests (see details see details http://www.wcmc.org.uk/forest/cloudforest/english/homepage.htm) The recent survey of South American Montana forest indicated that high density of clouds in the lower elevation in the forest area compared to low density of clouds in deforested area (Lawton et al. 2001).

A chain of hills and hillocks called Seegegudda or Rain-Hill is located near BCRT campus. People in and around Seegegudda are worship this hill as rain-god or Mallemaleshwara. Every year several husbands of devotes gather to prey for rain-God. BCRT analyzed this mountain carefully to look for the correlation between cloud formation and rainfall distribution. Interestingly, Seegegudda is part of sub-tropical rainforests and slopes towards East-West direction. We speculate that vegetation on Seegegudda and adjacent area play a major role in uplifting moist air from Western Ghats. At the higher altitude, moisture condensed into clouds, which may bring rain. On set of dusk and dawn, mist and fog always wraps around Seegegudda during rainy days. Many flora and fauna are uniquely adapted to this ecosystem. Since last twenty years, Seegegudda vegetation was extensively deforested and most of foothills become crops land. Now people experiencing lack of ground water, land slide and soil erosion.  Large-scale eucalyptus plantation by state forest department might have also significantly contributed decline in native flora and fauna, and cloud formation and rainfall. Moreover, villages around Seegegudda also contributed for deforestation due to extensive grazing, cutting trees and fire. We observed that villagers have not adopted tree sapling planting in their own land.

 

Soon after successful rejuvenation of barren rocky hillock at Anuganalu, BCRT team stated motivating villages around Seegegudda to join in our afforestation efforts. After realizing the deforestation effects, now many village people come forward to work with BCRT to afforest Seegegudda. BCRT is being training local people for adopting tree based farming methods in their own land. We are confident that it is possible to rejuvenate flora and fauna of Seegegudda in five to ten years by motivating local people.

 

 

1. Bruijnzeel LA (2000). Hydrology of tropical montane cloud forests: a reassessment. Land Use and Water Resources Research, 1: 1.1-1.18.

2. Lawton RO, Nair US, Pielke Sr RA, Welch RM (2001) Climatic impact of tropical lowland deforestation on nearby montane cloud forests. Science, 294: 584-587.

3. Reddell P and D McJannet (2002) Where earth meets sky: cloud forests of the wet tropics. Technical Reports 2002.

4. Shree Padre: Maleguddakke Hasiru Seere or Wrapping the Rain-hill with Green Cover, SUDHA Kannada Magazine, August 18, 2005, page 47-49.

5. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (1997) Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCC. Secretariat of the UNFCC. Haus Carstanjen, Bonn, Germany, pp23


Birth of Rain Clouds on Seegegudda (Malegudda)

 


(Close view of deforested Seegegudda (Malegudda) – waiting volunteers to plant native trees)

 


          ( Mist and Fog Covered Seegegudda)


(Seegegudda linked to Mountains of Western Ghats)