Meghalaya's centuries-old living root bridges are being affected by water shortages.

Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes (LRBCL) have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites . The Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes (LRBCL) have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites .

DEHRADUN (Dehradun): Researchers from the Forest Research Institute (FRI) in Dehradun have discovered that the soil in which they grow lacks moisture and nutrients, as seen in two living root bridges (LRBs), pedestrian bridges made of the roots of ficus-based living trees.This is amid their presence in Meghalaya, India's wettest place, Mawsynram.Broom grass farming, harvesting, and stubble burning may have contributed to water shortage, according to FRI researchers.The living root bridges are still healthy.

This research came after a team of India's top scientists deducted from the Botanical Survey of India, Geological Survey of India, and the Zoological Survey of India last December.The Meghalaya Basin Management Agency invited the group to conduct a preliminary health assessment of the LRBs and provide technical assistance.Three LRBs were inspected by its staff: Wah Sohot, Umlyngoh, and Wah Thyllong, which are located in the Pynursla, East Khasi hills, in a dense subtropical moist broadleaf forest ecozone.The Living Root Bridge Cultural Landscapes (LRBCL) have been added to the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

These ficus-based structures have endured extreme weather and are a feature of a deep human-environment symbiotic relationship.According to an expert, they require special attention to maintain them.The changing climate, topography, and population of Meghalaya has an adverse effect on LRBs, according to the researcher.The state population increased from 1.8 million in 1991 to about 3 million in 2011.

It helps more than 70 rural areas to remain connected.After consulting scientists, conservation experts, and policy makers, the state released draft guidelines for the protection of LRB ecosystems in April 2018.A community-led conservation, research, and development initiative was introduced as part of a Meghalaya government initiative, and this has been at the forefront of debate and policy discussions.The Meghalaya Basin Management Agency provided details on its website, the first step in this participatory journey was to organize open community mobilisation dialogues, which served as a learning reference for all participants, which included indigenous populations that are the primary caretakers of these sites, government officials, and experts (scientists, conservators, and entrepreneurs).The main goal has been to preserve the authenticity, integrity, and indigenous character of these LRBs, while simultaneously integrating modern science.

The organization said that FRI scientists' recommendations had been sent to the indigenous groups.These locations are being treated as a protected park as part of ongoing conservation work, allowing nature to self heal.For all LRB sites, this is a significant conservation measure.