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     Gobar Times: Environment for Beginners

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Ask me! No?



G O B A R  S P E A K

A S K  M E

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E-mail me at this address:

Dear Panditji,
Could you tell me about terrace farming? I would especially like to know about terrace farming practices in India.

Heena R. Sinha,
Std. IV B.
DAV Public School, Airoli

Dear Heena ji
You are sure to see terraced hills when you go to the mountains. In terrace farming a series of steps are cut into the hillside. The sides of each step is protected by building a stone wall. There are three kinds of terrace farming methods that is used by the Himalayan farmers.

KHETKhet: are wet terraces where rice and wheat is grown. These slope inward and have irrigation systems. The crop yield from these terraces is very high and khets are therefore highly valued.


BarlBari: are rain fed terraces, which are built on higher and steeper slopes. The terraces slope outward to check water-logging and millets, maize and buckwheat are grown here. The crop yield is lower than khets.


pakhoPakho: is untilled land that is not suited for cultivation. Many feel that terrace farming is a major reason for land erosion in the hills. But contrary to common perception the farmers are very good land managers and have developed ways to deal with these problems. When landslides are feared cultivation is stopped. Khets are turned into baris to reduce waterloggind even if it means a reduction in the crop yield. Sometimes even the baris are turned into pakhos to conserve soil.

Dear Panditji,
I am a lifetime subscriber of DTE and especially enjoy Gobar Times as it is very interesting and helpful for my kids. My son (class 9) has to write a detailed project on the diversity of life on Earth and relate it to the different regions. I shall be very grateful if you can help me find out more on this so that my son can complete his project. It would be great if you could give a map.

Continue doing the good work you all are doing towards protecting the environment.

Poonam Coshic
Via Email

Dear Poonam ji
Your son has a very interesting project! In order to understand life on Earth we must observe how it interacts with the physical environment. The nature of soil and the climate determine the kind of biodiversity found in an area. Latitude is a very important factor in defining biomes as both the climate changes at different latitudes. The biosphere can be broadly divided into biomes.

Continental biomes:

Tundra: found at the northern-most extremes, it is characterised by long harsh winters and short summers. The dominant vegetation is lichens and mosses.

Taiga: situated just south of the Tundra this region is dominated by coniferous (spruce, fir, aspen and birch) vegetation. The growing season is longer that the Tundra.

Temperate broadleaf deciduous forests: this region has hot summers and cold winters. Trees like oak, hickory and beech grow here.

Tropical rainforests: This is earth's most complex biome in terms of structure and species diversity. It has optimal growing conditions — abundant precipitation and year round warmth.

Grasslands (savanna): tropical grassland with widely scattered clumps of low trees. The acacia trees are found here. The rainfall varies between 85-105 cm.

Desert: has less than 25 cm precipitation and is found in both temperate and tropical regions. Plant cover is sparse and soil is mostly exposed.


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