The forests of Manda Khal faced innumerable threats specially due to stone quarries which were operating in the area for many years. The fragile mountains were subject to regular blasting which had a damaging effect on the underground aquifers in the region. A part of the micro-catchment of the Nayyar river, a major river system in this part of Pauri Garhwal and also a tributary of the Ganga, the activities of stone removal and blasting had a detrimental effect on the water system here. Villages downstream of the micro-catchment faced immense hardships as the springs would dry up for most part of the year due to the action of blasting on the underground aquifers. With daily drinking water and water for their crops in short supply the value of the ecosystem services that these forests provided to peripheral villages was evident.
With stone quarrying being brought to a halt by the orders of the National Green Tribunal I have been surveying the Manda Khal forests and was elated to find that barely a year after the quarrying was brought to a standstill vegetation has been returning to the sites of stone removal.
|Vegetation returning to the sites of stone quarrying in the Manda Khal forests barely a year after stone removal was stopped here by the orders of the National Green Tribunal.|
As primary succession takes over the sites of stone quarrying, the disturbances caused to the underground aquifers have also ceased enabling the springs to once again flow all the year round as nature sets about healing itself