Here is your paragraph on the forest conservation in India!
Forests comprise a unique gift of nature to man and constitute one of the prized assets of a nation.
They play a significant role in the national economy of a primarily agricultural and developing country like India.
The agricultural and industrial progress of the country is not only stabilized but accelerated by a proper conservation and utilization of forest resource.
As mentioned earlier, the uses of forests, both direct and indirect, are so large that they are aptly termed as an index of prosperity of a nation. Keeping in view the benefits which we derive from the forests, it is of utmost importance that strong steps should be taken to conserve forests.
Our increased demand for forests products has led to increasing destruction and degradation of our forests which is causing heavy erosion of top soil, erratic rainfall and frequent devastating floods. In short, depletion of forests has a chain reaction in eco-system.
Though it is a renewable resource, it takes its own time to regenerate. We have been destroying our forest resources so ruthlessly and so quickly that large forest tracts of yesteryears are now devoid of any forest cover. India’s woods, once dark and deep, are now a living example of man’s ravage destruction.
The saying that man finds forests but leaves deserts could not be more true to India. Over the past four decades, about 25 million hectares of land that originally had tree cover has been laid bare for agriculture and other purposes.
The latest reports of the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA) indicate that the country is losing about 1.3 million hectares of forest cover every year. This will be detrimental to our national interest. Nature never forgives the abuse of her gifts. Hence, the urgent need for conservation of forests.
Forest conservation does not mean the denial of use, but rather the proper use without causing any adverse effect on our economy or environment. But any scheme of conservation of forests on a piecemeal basis will not solve the problem.
Conservation of forests is a national problem and should be tackled as such. There should be perfect coordination between the forest department and other departments for an effective conservation of forests. People’s participation in any forest conservation is of vital importance. Van Mahotsava was launched in 1950 to make people aware of the importance of planting trees. Chipko movement is a living example of general public awareness about forests.
Forests have to be developed and worked for obtaining various raw materials and for providing an effective means of flood control, soil erosion, for regulating the flow of water in streams and for conserving moisture in the soil. Therefore, a carefully coordinated scientific policy for conservation of forests should be the first step in any scheme of national planning of the country.
While contribution of forests to the nation’s economy, apart from their vital role in environment, can never be underestimated, the investment in forestry sector has been rather low. For example, from the first to the sixth Five Year Plans, the investment in forestry was between 0.39 per cent and 0.71 per cent of the total plan outlay.
In the seventh Five Year Plan, the allocation was raised to 1.03 per cent of the total plan outlay. But again, the investment in the forestry sector during the eighth Five Year Plan has fallen to 0.94 per cent of the total plan outlay.
At present the total investment in forestry is about Rs. 800 crore against the required investment of about Rs. 3,000 crore. This is too small an investment and unless it is increased, it will not be possible to ensure sustainable supply of goods and services for the huge sector of population dependent on forests.
We have failed to realise the fact that destruction of forests is an irreversible process. The rate of afforestation has barely crawled to the 2 million hectare mark, falling short of the target set by the National Wasteland Development Board of at least 3.5 million hectare mark every year till the year 2010 A.D.
The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 enacted to check indiscriminate deforestation/ diversion of forest lands was amended in 1988 to make it more stringent by prescribing punishment for violations. Guidelines have been prepared for working plans.
Some salient features are:
(i) Working plans should be up-to-date and stress conservation;
(ii) Preliminary working plan should have multi-disciplinary approach;
(iii) Tribal rights and concessions should be highlighted along with control mechanism;
(iv) Grazing should be studied in detail and specific prescriptions should cover fodder propagation;
(v) Shifting cultivation and encroachments need to be controlled;
(vi) clear-felling with artificial regeneration should be avoided as far as possible and clear-felling blocks should not exceed 10 hectares in hills and 25 hectares area in plains and
(vii) Banning all felling above 1000 metre altitude for a few years should be considered to allow these areas to recover. Critical areas in hills and catchment areas prone to landslides, erosion, etc. should be totally protected and quickly afforested.
The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) were created in 1987 under the Central Ministry of Environment and Forests. Later on it was constituted into an autonomous body on the pattern of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research with its headquarters at Dehra Dun.
Following forestry research institutions are working under this organisation:
(i) Forest Research Institute, Dehra Dun
(ii) Institute of Arid Zone Forestry Research, Jodhpur
(iii) Institute of Rain and Moist Deciduous Forests, Jorhat
(iv) Institute of Wood Science and Technology, Bangalore
(v) Tropical Forestry Research Institute, Jabalpur
(vi) Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore
(vii) Temperate Forest Research Centre, Shimla
(viii) Centre for Forest Productivity, Ranchi and
(ix) Centre for Social Forestry and Environment, Allahabad.
The future welfare and prosperity of India would very much depend upon our ability, effort and success in conserving, developing and proper utilisation of our forest resources. It is, therefore, high time that the nation as a whole awakens to this burning problem for the sake of a better future.