The study, sponsored by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI), has warned that change in temperature, quantum and intensity of rainfall coupled with extreme weather conditions would have a long-term impact, particularly on the structure and composition of forests in the region.
With the impact not being uniform across the region, it is expected to be higher in certain areas and on certain communities because of various factors.
The study seeks to understand the factors that determine the vulnerability of the Sikkim & Northeast in terms of the effect of the climatic change and identify measures to reduce the impact.
The study asserted that despite its rich natural resources, the region lagged behind others in terms of social and economic development.
With a total population of about 38 million (3.8 per cent of the country’s total population), the region has observed changes in its demographic and socio-economic profile, which have acted as important drivers for the alteration in its resource base.
It is estimated that approximately 30 per cent of the total forest cover in the region is under pressure due to these factors, the TERI study said.
Besides pressures from natural hazards such as floods, forest fires and landslides, the study pointed out, seismic activity further exposed the region to the threats.
Lack of effective early warning systems and disaster management systems further intensify the impact of natural hazards, it pointed out.
The incidence of poverty is high with the percentage of population living below the poverty line as high as 32 per cent, much higher than the all India average of 21.6 per cent.
Though it is sparsely populated with an overall density of 149 persons per sq km compared to the country’s average 313 per sq km (census, 2001), the region has, however, recorded a high population growth with the decadal growth higher than the national level of 21.5 per cent.