Basin Protection Against Disasters
NRGB is prone to catastrophic natural disasters that can significantly harm the basin ecosystems, and such disasters have been highly accentuated by modern anthropogenic activities. Hence special measures are needed to protect the basin. The major disasters of concern are Extreme Floods, Extreme Droughts, Forest Fires, Tropical Cyclones, Landslides, and Epidemics and Biological Invasions. The main recommendations are: (1) Routine hydro-meteorological and biological events often perceived as disasters are usually beneficial for the basin and hence should not be countered. (2) Ecosystems generally need strengthening against catastrophic disasters by preservation of wetlands, promotion of mixed indigenous forests and vegetation resistant to the specific disaster-type, andminimal land-use disturbances and encroachments by humans. (3) Extreme Floods are characteristic of the highly sediment-charged Himalayan rivers of NRGB, to combat which floodplain regulations and vegetative measures are preferable to embankments/ levees, but upstream dams (designed with river connectivity and environmental flows) can also prove beneficial if sediments trapped behind dams can be transferred to downstream floodplains. (4) The ecology of Forest Fires and of Epidemics and Biological Invasions in NRGB's ecosystems needs to be studied extensively; until then, active interventions should be limited to checking harmful anthropogenic activities. (5) Landslides in the Upper Ganga Basin are aggravated by deforestation, road and building constructions, and unsafe debris disposal, which need to be strongly checked. (6) Early rejuvenation of a disaster-struck ecosystem should be aided by reintroducing indigenous species in affected zones and re-creating an enabling physical environment.