Dear Pandit ji,
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.
Khet: 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.
Bari: 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.
Pakho: 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.
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.
Tundra: found at the northernmost 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.
The disappearance of tigers from Sariska has only underscored the fact that tigers are in danger of becoming extinct. Because they are at the top of the food chain, a healthy population indicates to a thriving habitat. Protecting tigers also means protecting the forests. And forests are the source for all our water resources. To protect the rivers we have to protect the forests and to protect the forests, we must protect the tigers. To do our bit for the tiger we have formed a tiger task force and we want to share our thoughts with all the GT readers.
Here are some things that you can do in your schools and neighbourhoods.
Panditji, I would be really obliged if you could publish this letter in GT and help me spread awareness to all of my friends about tigers through your magazine.
Nitin and The Task Force, Shri Ram School, Aravali
I am part of my school’s Tiger Task Force and would like to share some of my thoughts on the tiger crisis. We have had three meetings and learnt a lot in them. In 1901 there were more than 40,000 tigers roaming the forests of India but today they in danger of being wiped out completely.
Our discussions also taught us that poaching is the primary reason for the disappearance of tigers. They are killed for their eyes, bones, teeth, skin, fur and their whiskers. Though tigers are poached in India the demand for tiger parts is in East Asia where people a willing to pay a lot of money for these products. I request you to spread as much awareness as possible.
Ikram Vir Singh, Shri Ram School, Gurgaon
In the March 31, 2005 issue of GT (Stormy Zones) you wrote about the 'Champions of Cuddulore.' This was really a brilliant example cited to counter natural disasters. I think GT has highlighted a golden rule to face deadly Tsunamis. I hope this example is remembered and mangroves are preserved in future. Congrats to GT!!
Vikas Lakhani, Baroda, Gujarat
Your Cover Story on Water in Gobar Times is excellent and fits perfectly in the water rights and management perspective of our members. I will be pleased to advertise it in the Flash News of our Web Site: www.aida-waterlaw.org.
Bernard J. Wohlwend, Chairman, Executive Council, International Association for Water Law (AIDA)
I am already a subscriber of Down To Earth magazine. I would like to know how I can access the compilation of all Gobar Times and also subscribe for it in future. I think Gobar Times is an exceptionally good magazine and would like to gift it to my child. Please let me know the process.
Chandrika, Via Email