TODAY -

Implications of climate change to Shirui Lily and the response of Churches
- Part 1 -

Rev Somi Kasomwoshi *

Shirui Lily or Siroi lily , the State Flower of Manipur blooming in May 2014 at Siroi hill ranges in Ukhrul district
Shirui Lily or Siroi lily , the State Flower of Manipur blooming in May 2014 at Siroi hill ranges in Ukhrul district :: Pix - Deepak Oinam



ABOUT SHIRUI LILY:

Shirui Lily locally known as Shirui Kashongwon is a rare flower. It loves to grow on the Shirui peak alone, Ukhrul District, Manipur. It is the rare and endangered state flower of Manipur. It is also known as Himalayan flower. It is recorded in the Red Data book of Indian plants volume 1 that the abode of the Lily, Shirui Kashong is located at 25 13 c N latitude and 94 25c E longitude at an elevation of 1730-2590m (5,680-8,500 ft) above sea level (1).

Legends tell that Lily is the daughter of goddess Philava who resides and protects the hills of Shirui. The flower is light pinkish white in color. The leaves are longish narrow like most lilies. Lungrei Shangh states in " A Tourist Guide to Shirui Lily" that the peak season of its blooming begins from last week of April, but it's heaviest bloom is from 20 May to 10 June (2). Its beauty lies in its bell shape petals in bowing position like a modest girl. The height of plant is between 1 to 3 ft and 1 to 7 flowers per plant.

In former years one could see its beauty standing between1 to 5 ft and could see up to12 flowers per plant. This shows that the unique Lily seems unfit to grow on the soil of Kashong peak as her home. It is sad to note that Shirui Kashong, an unspoiled forest habitat for many rare plants, animals and birds is not befriending with lily anymore due to climate change and human's manipulative attitude.

In 1946, Dr Frank Kingdon Ward, British botanist and his wife (daughter of Bombay high court judge) Jean Macklin came to Hao Tangkhul hills to collect botanical specimens and discovered the rare Shirui Lily on earth. It bagged to prestigious merit prize in the 1948 Royal Horticultural Society Flower in London. And Shirui Kashongwon was named after his wife's name "Lilium macklineae Sealy."

In commemoration of unique flower, a postal stamp was issued by the Indian Postal department. But unfortunately it becomes endangered species. And Shirui hills, a hotspot of biodiversity of Ukhrul District is under serious threats by climate change, global warming, illegal felling of tree, mindless burning forest, uncontrolled plucking and uprooting, manipulative attitude and alien plants intrusion.

1.IMPlICATION FROM DEFORESTATION AND SOIL EROSION:

Large scale deforestation of Shirui Kashong for logging and felling of virgin mother trees of Kashong in the name of development, and installation of saw mill at the foothill for the sake of exports has caused great threat for many years to Princess Lily.

It is noticed that along the rampant deforestation and frequent burning forest, the top layer of the Kashong peak is rapidly wearing away. Since the fertility soil in high organic matter of flower is bored, the rare lily has no or very little chance to grow and live on in the near future. Because the role of Forests playing in indispensable cycling of climate, nutrients, maintaining watersheds, and preventing high temperature, and soil erosion is no more home to a beautiful species of lily.

2.IMPLICATION FROM JAPANESE PLANT

The invasion of Japanese plant poses a serious threat to the survival of Lily and indigenous plants. This alien plant known as Japan khawo in local dialect is filling in a space, an area wherever indigenous plants and trees are burnt down. The alien plant without exception soil and barren began intruding the Tangkhul lands and occupying swiftly the foothill of princess Lily hometown since war world II. With the coming of Japanese soldiers, the alien plant began invading a place in a large group and taking control of deforested lands permanently into the soil of Lily.

3.IMPLICATION FROM GREENHOUSE GASES

It is reported that evaporation of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated mostly from the combustion oil, coal and fossil gases as by product of everyday energy consumption in Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, U.P. becomes a matter of life or death. These gases are discharged with water vapor, sunlight, and oxygen transforming into acid droplets seem falling on North East as dry particles or as rain or snow. There is no exception, but all habitats including Lily are facing peril of acid rain and air pollution.

4.IMPLICATION FROM SCARCITY OF RAIN

The life of Princess lily is threatened by the changes in rainfall patterns, unkind seasonality, hard soil moisture regimes and increased storms. The decrease of rainfall due to global warming, rampant deforestation never compensates for the minimum needs of abundant rain in order to survive Princess lily. Precisely, the effect of scarcity of rain endangers lily species to extinction.

5.IMPLICATION FROM GLOBAL WARMING

The rise of global temperature is harmfully affecting the reproductive parts of lily.

The lily species are very close to their biological limit with respect to moisture and cold temperature. When the life of lily experiences the warmest temperature, it will definitely stop existing. Thus, princess lily is on the verge of extinction due to global warming.

To be continued...




* Rev Somi Kasomwoshi wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is Pastor, Ukhrul Town Baptist Church
This article was posted on June 24, 2014.


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