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Ecological Concerns for the Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh, India and Pakistan

24.0N 70.1E

March 4th, 2013 Category: Salt Flats

India – March 3rd, 2013

The Rann of Kutch Seasonal Salt Marsh is perhaps the bleakest, dustiest, and hottest region in India is the Great Rann of Kutch. It stretches for hundreds of square kilometers in the State of Gujarat, from the frontier with Pakistan’s Sind Desert, southward to the Little Rann and the Gulf of Kutch.

Despite the huge expanse of sun-baked saline clay desert (visible here as a large, white area), the Rann of Kutch seasonal salt marsh provides refuge for the last population of the endangered Asiatic wild ass (Equus hermionus) and supports the one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of the greater and lesser flamingos (Phoenicopterus ruber and P. minor).

The primary threats to this ecoregion’s habitat are from cattle grazing even within the protected areas, vehicular traffic that damages the fragile ecosystem, and cutting trees to make charcoal. The proposed expansion of the commercial salt extraction operations will result in disturbances to wildlife, especially to the wild ass population and the floricans, bustards, flamingoes, and pelicans. Feral pigs around the fringes of the sanctuary carry disease, degrade habitat, and disrupt reproduction of ground-nesting birds.

Global Warming Could Cause Wildlife Loss in Rann of Kutch, India – December 22nd, 2012

24.0N 70.1E

December 22nd, 2012 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Wetlands

Pakistan and India – December 21st, 2012

Climate-related disasters have brought widespread misery and huge economic losses to India, adversely affecting public health, food security, agriculture, water resources and biodiversity. The situation is likely to worsen if human beings continue to pump ‘greenhouse gases’ like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun and thus lead to global warming.

As the Earth’s temperature rises, a series of reactions take place – for instance, sea levels rise and inundate land, weather patterns change and have an impact on agricultural productivity, precious fresh water evaporates faster, disease carrying vectors increase, thus leading to epidemics.

One place in India that may be particularly affected by climate change are the saltwater marshes and mudflats of the Rann of Kutch (appearing as a white area near the image center) in Gujarat. As global warming causes a rise in sea level, these marshes and mudflats are likely to be submerged. One of the largest breeding colonies of the Greater Flamingo and the habitat of the endangered Lesser Florican and Indian Wild Ass, both found in the Rann of Kutch, could also be lost.

Smoke Over Rann of Kutch, India and Pakistan – December 8th, 2012

24.0N 70.1E

December 8th, 2012 Category: Fires, Image of the day

India and Pakistan – December 4th, 2012

Smoke from fires in northwestern India blows towards the southwest, over the India-Pakistan border near the Arabian Sea. The smoke stretches across the coastline from the mouth of the Indus River, in Pakistan, past the Gulf of Khambhat, in India (bottom right). Visible between the two, through the veil of smoke, are the Rann of Kutch and the Gulf of Kutch.

Dust Off Pakistani Coast, West of Rann of Kutch

24.0N 70.1E

November 30th, 2012 Category: Dust Storms, Salt Flats

Pakistan – November 30th, 2012

A plume of dust can be seen spreading off the coast of Pakistan and over the Arabian Sea. The dust fans out and appears thickest in the lower left corner. Visible on land to the east is the Great Rann of Kutch, is a seasonal salt marsh located in the Thar Desert in the Kutch District of Gujarat, India and the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is about 7,505.22 square kilometres (2,897.78 sq mi) in size and is reputed to be the largest salt desert in the world.

Salt Flats of Rann of Kutch and Sun Glint on Gulf of Khambhat, India

21.8N 72.0E

May 2nd, 2012 Category: Salt Flats

India - April 28th, 2012

Sun glint gives a bright, silvery white color to the Gulf of Khambhat, an inlet of the Arabian Sea along the west coast of India, in the state of Gujarat. Some white areas can also be observed further inland, to the northwest; however, this coloring is due to the white salt flats of the Rann of Kutch, by the India-Pakistan border.