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Readings that shed light on various aspects of the Himalayas - their origin & geography, environment & ecology, culture & people...
The Himalayas are among the most interesting phenomena in the world. Born from a cataclysmic geologic event, the Himalayas have metamorphosed what existed prior to their creation, and shaped over time to become the greatest biophysical feature of the world. Characterized by a stunning diversity in ecology, possessing a variety of rich mystical cultures, the region is an intriguing world, thoroughly unlike any other. The region is also geologically dynamic and extremely sensitive to small meteorological changes that are bringing about large ecological shifts. As a result of its location across the belly of Asia and straddling the border of the culturally distinct South Asia and Central Asia, the Himalayas have served as a route for constant cultural collisions- violent conquests, softer influences of philosophies and religions, and trade. This section has a collection of readings on various aspects of the Himalayas, its origin and geology, its ecology, cultures, etc., that would help a deeper understanding of the region.
 
The challenges of mountain environments: Water, natural resources, hazards,desertification and the implications of climate change
by M. Iyngararasan, Li Tianchi and S. Shrestha
Mountain ecosystems are a biosphere reserve. They harbor a wide range of significant resources including animals, plants as well as minerals. Mountains are home to about 10 per cent of the global population. A significant high proportion of 25 - 30% directly depends on the resources flowing from mountain regions. Functionally, mountains play a critical role in the environment and economic process of the planet. The great economic importances are the uses of the mountains for forestry, horticulture, mineral extraction, livestock rearing, tourism, and recreation.
Although mountains and uplands constitute about 20 per cent of the earth's surface, it is difficult to find an area not affected by their environment. The most important influence is the hydrological cycle. Mountains act as orthographic barrier to the flow of moisture bearing wind and control the precipitation in the neighboring regions. For example, the Himalayas are fundamental importance to the occurrence of the monsoon in northern India, and of the continental arid conditions in Central Asia. In the upper regions of many mountains large volume of water are stored in the form of ice. Over 90 per cent of the earth's freshwater store is...
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Environment and rural development in
Darjeeling Himalaya: Issues and concerns
by Vimal Khawas
Darjeeling Himalaya suffers from a vicious cycle of development process. Along with a burgeoning population, there has been a constant increase on the area under subsistence crops followed by an increased dependency on livestock farming. Such sequences intensify the demand on the fragile mountain land. Excessive encroachment of forest lands to meet the mushrooming demands for fodder, fuel wood, and other requirements has led to unprecedented damage to forest lands, livestock grazing more than often in this fragile environment has led to overgrazing impacting the environment. Tourism in the area is another factor that has its share in the degradation and pollution of environment in this mountain area. Besides, the physical isolation, economic backwardness, social heterogeneity and unstable politics have a bearing on the social life of the hill folk...
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A Note on Some Typical Architectural Designs of Western Nepal
Livestock in Mixed Farming Systems of the Hindu Kush-Himalayas
 
Buddhist Himalayas: People, Faith and Nature
by Matthieu Ricard, Olivier Follmi
The book presents a collection of photographs of the majestic Himalayas and the Buddhist people of the region. The photographs are supplemented...
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Masks of the Himalayas Unknown Himalayas
Himalayan Architecture
 
The Melting Himalayas
by Xu Jianchu, et al.
The term ‘greater Himalayan region’ is used loosely to describe the area covering all the high mountain chains of Central, South...
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Impact of Climate Change on Himalayan Glaciers and Glacial Lakes
The Water Demand and Supply Survey
 
A Strategy for Conservation of the Tibetan Gazelle
 in Ecology & Environment
Tibetan gazelle (Procapra picticaudata) is endemic to the Tibetan plateau. Although its conservation status is believed to be secure, the study initiated by the authors n 2000 shows a steep decline in the gazelle population in Ladakh, India. The article deals with...
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Mountain Tourism: A Boon or Bane?
 in Economy & Livelihoods
Among mountain populations, women play a crucial role in natural resource management, agricultural production, tourism, well-being and the very survival of mountain families, but they are more undernourished, under-compensated for their labor and under-represented...
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Poverty and Resource Issues
 in Mountain Issues
People of high-altitude Himalayas suffer multiple forms of poverty, exacerbated by environmental vulnerability. Apart from the most recognised World Bank form, that of low incomes, they also suffer from resource stress, livelihood insecurity, and exclusion...
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About life in the hills
in Voices Gallery

Dorje Namgyal
Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir
India

“In the hills we have enough resources like water and fuel wood so we don't need to worry about these. Water, fuel wood it is all...”
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Voices Gallery
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Cultivation Packages
 in Natural Resources Database
Allium carolinianum
It prefers fertile soils and can be spotted in abundance on mountain slopes with well-drained soil and receiving plenty of sunlight. Porous sandy soil rich in nitrogen and potassium is suitable for cultivation of this species. The soil should neither too clay...
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Himalayan Databases
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Facts on Himalayan Geography & Geology
Glaciers and Lakes of the Himalayas
The Himalayan region is covered by hundreds of lakes that can be classified according to the altitude they are found at. Most of the lakes are located at altitudes of less than 5,000 m, with their sizes decreasing with an increase in altitude. Some of the important lower...
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Thematic Readings
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Origin & Geography:The highest and youngest mountain range in the world, the Himalayas are a geologic marvel that occurred when the Indo-Australian plate collided into the underbelly of the Eurasian plate, about 70 million years ago. The Tethys Sea that had existed in the location, disappeared, and as the Indian landmass continued to ram into Asia, the soft sediments that had lain at the bottom of the Tethys Sea were pushed up in a series of gigantic folds of the Earth’s lithosphere, to reach a height of...
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Ecology & Environment:The environment of the Himalayas is a function of its climate, as much as the climate is a result of the mountains themselves. The Himalayas, by virtue of their stupendous height, act as a climatic divide for the Asian region, and the behaviour of large systems of air and water circulation in the region is moderated by it. The meteorological conditions in the Indian subcontinent to the south of the Himalayas as well as the Central Asian highlands to its north are therefore shaped by the presence of this mountain range. Rain-laden clouds from...
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Society & Culture:Although a tremendously difficult terrain, the Himalayas are inhabited by a sizeable population- nearly 50 million; another 450 million people of the densely populated plains at the base of these mountains, a significant proportion of the world’s population, is supported by the resource flows from the Himalayas. The inhabitants of the northern slopes and the higher altitudes on the southern side are Mongoloids and have remained ethnically pure because of relatively lower contact with outsiders; the southern slopes, especially the lower and...
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Economy & Livelihoods:Himalayan communities are by and large self-reliant, and nature-dependent. They have evolved from being hunter-gatherers to communities that draw their livelihoods from agriculture and animal husbandry. Hunting-gathering, however, continues to provide significantly for the Himalayan households to this day. This is partly because Nature has been munificent and blessed the region with extensive forests and wild areas that house several plants and animals that serve as food for humans, and also because the remoteness of the region and the consequential isolation of its inhabitants has resulted in,...
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