From space, Loktak Lake, located in Manipur, India, looks, unlike any other lake. It appears like a luscious sapphire-colored fabric with velvety green polka dots of varying sizes. Loktak Lake is one-of-a-kind wetland ecosystem that has been designated a Wetland of International Importance through the Ramsar Treaty. The numerous green areas that cover nearly two-thirds of the lake’s 236 square kilometers are called "phumdi" or floating islands comprised of vegetation, soil, and other organic matter. Unique to Loktak Lake, phumdis change shape according to the season and move around the lake surface, playing a critical role in water cleansing, nutrient absorption, flood control, and carbon sequestration. Phumdis are home to over 400 species of animals, including the endangered “dancing deer;” over 100 species of birds; and over 200 species of aquatic plants. Loktak Lake is home and means of livelihood to more than 700 indigenous families. The lives of over 100,000 people are socio-economically connected to the lake. A hydroelectric dam, various infrastructure projects, regional armed conflict and climate change threaten this unique ecosystem.
The floating islands of Loktak Lake, known as “phumdis,” home to unique animals and plants and an indigenous community, are threatened by development, climate change, and conflict.
This photo essay documents how the Ithai hydroelectric dam, infrastructure projects, regional armed conflict, and climate change threaten the Loktak Wetland.
Portraits of Resilience takes viewers up close to nine individuals to understand the delicate relationship between the Meiteis and the Loktak Wetland as well as their fight for survival.
The floating islands of Loktak Lake, known as “phumdis,” are home to unique animals and plants and an indigenous community threatened by a hydroelectric project.
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