Mir Mukhtar Ahmed
Mountains have an extremely important role in influencing global and regional climates and weather conditions. They cover around 1/4th of earth’s surface & provide livelihood to 75 billion people approximately.
Mountains provide us with freshwater, energy, food, biodiversity & impitant resources that may become very rare in the coming decades. They are also very prone to climate changes, land degradation, deforestation and natural disasters.
Mountains are crucial for the ecological and economic security and development of the region, especially for achieving the sustainable development goals. Mountains support urban and economic growth centres, serve as transport links, and contribute to trade, commerce, industry, and economic growth. Mountains and hills are also important sources of clean energy for the lowlands, containing most of the region’s existing and potential hydropower production. Products and services from the mountains and hills form the basis of many economic sectors including agriculture, forestry, pharmaceuticals, rangeland production, tourism, and biodiversity conservation. A large proportion of forests and rangelands are in the mountains and hills, and these areas support climate regulation and carbon sequestration, and help reduce disaster risks by moderating the effects of flood and drought.
Mountains and hills are hotspots of biological and cultural diversity. They contain diverse eco-regions rich in species and ecosystems of regional and global importance. As a result, they contain a high proportion of the region’s protected areas. These protected areas harbour diverse flora and fauna – many rare, endemic, and threatened – and safeguard regional and global interests, but mountain communities bear the costs by sacrificing development opportunities for conservation.
While lowland communities depend on mountains and hills for natural resources and ecosystem services, upland communities depend heavily on lowland areas for connectivity, trade, transit and transport facilities.
Health benefits with regards to Mountains:
Visiting the mountains is good to decrease weight. High altitude also can decrease the appetit. Studies have shown that frequent visitors to mountains decrease heart related problems. The fresh air present lowers lung disease. Mountains are considered best for family bonding, relationship & adventure life.
Mountains in Jammu & Kashmir
Mountains have an important place in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir valley is surrounded on all sides by beautiful Mountains.
Important Mountains of state are Karakoram and Kyunlun Range Zanskar Range Nun Kun Range Nanga Parbat Range Harmukh Mountain Bomzai hills Amarnath Mountain Toshmaidan Afarwat Pirpanjal Range,Siwalik Range,Volcanic mountains
Economic importance of Mountains
Economic resources of the Mountains are varied and abundant. Minerals found in the Mountains include significant deposits of copper, gold, lead, molybdenum, silver, tungsten, and zinc, reserves of coal, natural gas, oil shale, and petroleum.
In our state resources available in state from Mountains are absolutely rich in the following: – minerals- arsenic ores, bauxite, borax, coal, gold, gypsum, lignite, limestone, manganese, marble, and sapphire.
• Arsenic Ores: This mineral is found in Ladakh. The mineral is used in medicines.
• Bauxite: is found in Jammu hills.
• Borax: Rich deposits of coal can be found in Rajouri district.
• Gold: present on the banks of Indus River & in Ladakh area.
• Gypsum: It is extensively found in Anantnag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Ladakh districts.
• Magnesite: Millions of tones of Magnesite are found in Anantnag.
• Marble: Kupwara is the main constituent
• Sapphire: It is a gemstone, a precious one, found in Kistwar, Kashmir. Sapphire is famousthroughout the world for its wonderful shades and variety. The avaliable Water as these are also called Water Towers as 60-80 % odd all fresh water resources is provided through Mountains.
Mountains are important centres of agricultural biodiversity and are home to many of the foods. These volcanic mountains are the cause of earthquakes in Kashmir. Mountains host many indigenous communities & tribes. Languages & cultures are associated with these mountains. Shepherds , trackers, wildlife activists are directly associated with these mountains. Through out the year shepherds take their livestock to these grazing lands & earn their livelihood. Mountains harbour wild animals, who are wholly dependent on the existence of mountains. Man made interference has shrunken these natural bodies, especially in our state. Urbanisation has affected more in last three decades. Excavation, illegal minening , illegal construction of houses and hutments, deforestation, illegal occupation and the most irritating factor of Govt’s leniency has put these natural sources of livelihood of human population in to danger. The first & foremost step to be taken is to demarcation of the Mountains from extracts available with govt & retrieve the area in its own form. Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.
(The author is a freelancer. Views are his own)