Strengthening endeavours for the wise use and conservation of Chandertal

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The team from Wetlands International South Asia, including Arghya Chakrabarty (Technical Officer – Biodiversity), Dr Pradeep Vashishth (Technical Officer- RS and GIS), Apoorva Thapa (Junior Technical Officer- Biodiversity)  and Saadan Hussain (Junior Technical Officer) carried out a field investigation of  Chandertal, a high-altitude wetland in Lahaul Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh, on 3rd July 2023.

(Water testing at Chandertal lake)

During the visit, the team inspected the current situation of the wetland and the wildlife sanctuary, the trail around the wetland, specific hydrological inlets and outlets, water quality, soil and vegetation and the faunal composition of the wetland and its catchment.

(The District Administration with wetland experts)

The team was accompanied by the Deputy Commissioner of Lahaul and Spiti and the Divisional Forest Officer, Lahaul Forest Division. During the visit, a demonstration of water testing at four locations along the periphery of the wetland using an on-site Hannah Water Testing Kit was performed. The team also performed quadrat sampling to assess the vegetation of the catchment. Among aquatic fauna, select zooplankton, and brown trout were spotted. Rich avian diversity was marked by the citing of significant species like Ruddy shelduck. Soil samples were also collected from six locations along the wildlife sanctuary and shall be tested for soil organic carbon. The team also performed ground truthing for locations of high peat probability in the districts of Lahual and Spiti and collected soil samples from potential peat lands across the district.

A presentation on the BDES valuation of key ecosystem services for Chandertal took place at DC Office, Keylong, followed by discussions on policy recommendations for integration into sectoral plans and programmes at the end of the project