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ENVIRONEWS

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF ENVIRONMENTAL BOTANISTS

Newsletter
LUCKNOW (INDIA) VOL. 24, No. 2 April, 2018

IN THIS ISSUE World Environment Day 2018: Fight against Plas c Pollu on
Letters 02 This year, the World Environment Day is planned to be organized all over
the world with the theme 'Beat Plas c Pollu on'. 'Plas c' is a major
environmental pollutant present as a micro-, meso- and macro debris. Due
News Flash 03
to their chemical nature, they are highly durable and inexpensive to
produce. In last decade the plas c produc on has surpassed the total
produc on reaching 335 million metric tonnes in the year 2016. China
alone produces a quarter of total plas c produced in the world.
Indian Agriculture: Tradition in Its' produc on and usage has broad range i.e. packaging wrappers,
Transition
biomedical devices, toys, sta onery material and storage containers.
Dimple Khatri, A. Arunachalam Millions of tons of plas c finds its way into water reservoirs, public places
& K. Arunachalam (India) 04 and marine regions through irresponsible disposal and public li ering. Its
fumiga on evolves harmful dioxins, vola le organic chemicals (VOCs),
nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, polycyclic organic ma er (POM) and
heavy metals. It consists of 10% of the total waste generated by humans.
Issues related to Sustainable
Management of Forests of UN wants to spread awareness against plas c pollu on due to its
Northeast India hazardous nature, affec ng millions of people and environment. About
one lakh living organisms die because of this environmental pollutant
B.K. Tiwari (India) 07 alone. Around 11.1 billion plas c items were found poisoning marine
environment along with damage due to high temperature resul ng into
deple on of 50% of coral reefs (World Environment Day-Global).
Therefore, the world plas c produc on is a poten al nemesis of life on
News & Views 10
Earth.
UN recommends government agencies, industry and municipal
commi ees to promote Green Social Responsibility (GSR) and spread
Conferences 12 awareness to avoid li ering plas c material and always try to use plas c
bags and ar cles manufactured from biodegradable and recyclable
material. Many programs are planned to be launched in India, which has
Books 12 the highest plas c recycling rate in the world. Thus, our Environment is our
responsibility and we should take the responsibility for our sustainable
future.

ICPEP-6
Registra on of ICPEP-6 has been started. Please visit our website
(www.isebindia.com) for detailed informa on.

ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 1
LETTERS

I ndia, being a mega-biodiversity na on has huge natural resources and rich biodiversity with spectacular species of
flora and fauna. However, ll date a significant part of the na on is either under explored or unexplored in terms of
comprehensive surveys with significant details about her natural resources. This is quite unacceptable in lieu of advanced
technology and tools now being made available for various survey works for iden fying, loca ng and mapping natural
resources. India's vast land borders adjoining Pakistan, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Myanmar are grossly under
developed with poor infrastructure even seven decades post independence. As a consequence, several rich biodiversity
hotspots along these sensi ve border areas have always remained vastly under explored with respect to surveying and
mapping.

I t is necessary for the major natural resource survey agencies (ZSI, BSI, GSI, ASI) of India to cooperate and coordinate
with Central, State and Union Territory governments, intelligence agencies, border security forces and the highly
capable Indian armed forces to join hands in exploring border regions for conduc ng comprehensive land and aerial
surveys with modern technological gadgets. Vast sec ons of Kashmir Himalayas, Ladakh Plateau, Kumaon and Garhwal
Himalayas, Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spi districts of Himachal Pradesh, the Nepal Himalayas, Bhutan Himalayas,
Darjeeling Himalayas, Sikkim Himalayas; and the en re NE India with specific emphasis to Arunachal Pradesh, the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, all small and big offshore islands of India, the Sunderbans are grossly
neglected in terms of comprehensive natural resource and biodiversity survey data.
Even within the country, the Eastern and Western Ghats, the Deccan peninsula, vast areas of Madhya Pradesh,
Chha sgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa need detailed survey and mapping. Several unexplored premier habitats rich in
biodiversity, massive virgin forests and wildlife together with trapped natural resources could thus be iden fied and
mapped for future use for the purpose of ecological conserva on and economic development.
Coopera on and coordina on with adjacent na ons will be necessary too for collec ng informa on during the survey;
but, the prize will be none the less in iden fying huge natural resources for the na on that is hiding from modern science.
Such surveys will enrich the biodiversity and natural resource map of India in future; if conducted sincerely and diligently
and with proper planning and management. The survey agencies will need central budgetary alloca ons for this massive
task, but will pay back the country in terms of rich dividends for future. The ini a ves is necessary to make this happen.
Dr. Saikat Kumar Basu
UFL, Lethbridge AB Canada
saikat.basu@alumni.uleth.ca

S pi ng “Pan” is a common prac ce in all parts of India. Walls, and the stair case corners, of most public buildings are
full of red spits. At some places les with pictures of different gods and goddesses are fixed to dissuade people from
spi ng. It may interest the readers to know that spi ng saliva with tobacco was common even in the United States of
America in the eigh es. Charles Dickens travelled in America in 1842 and published his observa ons on the habit of
saliva. For him the prac ce of chewing and expectora ng were most offensive and sickening. He further says that “In the
hospitals, the students of medicine were requested by no ces upon the wall, to eject their tobacco juice into the boxes
provided for that purpose and not to discolor the stairs.” Spi oons were provided at public places. This filthy custom was
officially recognized in courts, the judges, prisoners, witnesses and the jury and spectators were provided with their own
spi oons.
Dr. C.R. Bha a
Former Secretary DBT, Government of India
New Mumbai, India
crbha a.bha a@gmail.com

ISEB Fellowship
th
Nomina ons for ISEB Fellowship for the year 2018 are invited. Last date for nomina on is 30 June, 2018.
Please visit our website (www.isebindia.com) for detailed informa on.

2 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018
NEWS FLASH

Dr. D.K. Upre , a Life member and Academic Affairs & Professor, Janki Ammal Na onal Award for Plant
Treasurer of Interna onal Society of Department of Environmental Taxonomy. Currently he is President
Environmental Botanists has been Science, Babasaheb Bhimrao of Indian Lichenological Society.
awarded the pres gious Fellowship Ambedkar University (A Central Dr. Seema Mishra, Life Member of
of Indian Na onal Science Academy, University), Lucknow and Execu ve ISEB has been conferred the “Young
New Delhi. Dr. Upre has recently Councilor of ISEB has been Women Leadership Award 2016-17”
re red as Chief Scien st at CSIR- nominated as Chairman, Ecology and from PHSS Founda on for Science
Na onal Botanical Research Ins tute, Environment Research Commi ee and Society, Lucknow. The award was
Lucknow. He is one of the foremost for 41 Social Science Congress, 2017 given by Prof. Asis Da a, FNA,
and interna onally acclaimed plant held at Periyar University, Salem, Dis nguished Scien st, NIPGR, New
taxonomists. He has published more Coimbatore (TN) during 18-22 Delhi in the Inaugural Ceremony of
than 350 research papers and 13 December, 2017. It provided him a Na onal Conference on Impact of
books on different aspects of rare opportunity to bring the fellow Climate Change on Indian Agriculture
L i c h e n o l o g y. H i s p i o n e e r i n g scien sts from Natural Sciences, and Plant Produc vity at JNU, New
contribu on on pollu on monitoring, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences Delhi.
p a r c u l a r l y h e av y m e t a l a n d at one pla orm which will help to Dr. Sanjay Dwivedi, Life Member of
polycyclic aroma c hydrocarbons, develop the true inter discipliners in ISEB received First Prize by the
biodeteriora on and bioprospec on the field of Environmental Botany. Hon'ble Mayor of Lucknow Dr.
u lizing lichens is widely recognized. Dr. Upre has guided more than 35 Sanyukta Bha a for Best Educa ve
He has also shown the impact of doctoral scholars in different aspects Stall on “Role of Plants for Mi ga on
environmental pollutants on the of Lichens. He has earned several of Environmental Pollu on” during
lichen flora of Antarc ca. fellowships and awards including Flower Show of Nagar Nigam at E-
Dr. Rana Pratap Singh, Dean, FNASc, K.S. THIND, B.A. Razi and E.K. Park, Mahanagar, Lucknow.

WELCOME NEW LIFE MEMBERS
Dr. Deepa Srivastava, Post Doctoral Fellow, UGC, Department of Botany, D.D.U. Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur.
drdeepasrivastav@gmail.com
Dr. Meetu Gupta, Assistant Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
mgupta@jmi.ac.in, meetu_gpt@yahoo.com
Dr. Charu Lata, Scien st, Plant Microbe Interac on, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
charulata14@gmail.com, charulata@nbri.res.in
Dr. Naser Anjum Aziz, Scien st-D, Department of Botany, Faculty of Life Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University,
Aligarh, India.
g0216@myamu.ac.in, dnaanjum@gmail.com
Dr. Poonam C. Singh, Senior Scien st, Plant Microbe Interac on, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
poonamnbri@gmail.com, pc.singh@nbri.res.in
Mr. Saurabh Verma, Research Scholar, Plant Genomics Laboratory, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
saddybiot@gmail.com
A Plant Genomics Laboratory, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
Dr. Mrs. Smita Kumar, DST-Inspire Faculty,
smitabiochem@gmail.com
Prof. Naveen Kumar Arora, Professor, Department Environmental Science, BBA University, Lucknow.
nkarora.bbau@gmail.com
Mrs. Rekha Kannaujia, Technical Assistant, CSIR-NBRI, Lucknow.
rekha.nbri@gmail.com; rekha.nbri@nbri.res.in

D E
ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 3
Indian Agriculture: Tradition in Transition
Dimple Khatri1, A. Arunachalam1 and K. Arunachalam2
1
Indian Council of Agricultural
B Research, Krishi Bhawan, New
C Delhi 110001
2
School of Environment and Natural Resources, Doon University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand
kusumdoon@gmail.com
Introduc on o en undula ng and with fragile or to be a primi ve form of Green
India is second most populous problem soils. Tradi onally, the third Revo l u o n a g r i c u l t u re . T h e s e
country in the world, next only to category of agriculture in Asia is systems are associated with
China. According to 1950 Census, prac ced by groups that reside in the irriga on, some mes with local
popula on of India was 1.02 billion hills and on the fringes of the deserts, water li ing, and cons tute the
and as per the 2016 census, its at the edges of the main lowland produc ve base for the indigenous
popula on rose to 1.34 billion. India civiliza ons. In South-east Asia these civiliza ons. Not all the lowlands are
h a s 1 7 . 2 % o f t h e to ta l wo r l d groups are mainly ethnic minori es; i r r i gate d , w i t h t h e i m p o r ta nt
popula on (so one in every six people in the Indian subcon nent they are excep ons of China and India.
in the world is an Indian), but in terms known as tribes (Wangpan et al., The Green Revolu on
of land area, India holds the seventh 2017). Some of these groups may
The introduc on of high-yielding
place with only 2.42% of total land have been the original inhabitants of
varie es of seeds and the increased
area of the world, while land area of the lowland areas, and may have
use of fer lizers and irriga on under
U.S.A. is about 4.8%. Nonetheless, been driven into the forested
the 'Green Revolu on' ini a ve in
India's popula on is about three highland by more dominant
late 1960s resulted in rapid expansion
mes that of U.S.A., twenty-one civiliza ons. The type of cul va on
of agricultural land and boost in
mes that of Canada and about six associated with these areas is either
agricultural produc on. The Green
mes that of Japan. The popula on of rainfed or swidden cul va on that
Revolu on con nued with the policy
India con nues to grow rapidly and involves the clearing of new forest
of expanding cul vable land. The
great pressure is being placed on the plots every 2-3 years when the
striking feature of green revolu on
natural resources. Most parts of India natural fer lity on the old plots,
was the plan ng of two crops per year
have subsistence agriculture. This derived from the burning of the
on the same agricultural land
type of agriculture has been prac ced forest, is exhausted. Agriculture in
(double-cropping). The earlier
in India for several hundreds of years Asia also falls in the above three
prac ce of one crop per year was
and is being prac ced even now in a categories. Industrial agriculture that
dependent on monsoon rainfall. For
large part of India in spite of the large was alien to the region emerged in
the second crop huge irriga on
scale change in agricultural prac ces the context of the poli cal
facili es such as dams were created.
a er independence. Despite increase coloniza on by the European powers.
Dams were built to arrest large
in urbaniza on and industrializa on, Un l World War II it was largely
volumes of natural monsoon water
about 70% of popula on is s ll manifested in the region in the form
which were earlier being wasted as
directly or indirectly dependent on of large planta ons, par cularly in
run-off. Simple irriga on techniques
agriculture. We had experienced a the rela vely land-rich areas of
as the digging of tube- wells for
“Great Bengal Famine” due to equatorial South-east Asia. Green
extrac ng groundwater were also
shortage of food grains. revolu on agriculture is found in
adopted on a massive scale. The
well-endowed areas of the
Indian Agriculture: from Evolu on to Indian Council for Agricultural
developing world and in areas that
Revolu on Research (ICAR) under the Ministry of
are either irrigated or receive
In the eighteenth and nineteenth Agriculture played a crucial role in the
adequate and reliable rainfall. It
centuries, agricultural growth in the Green Revolu on era of the late
includes large and small farms and
region was slow compared to the 1960s. ICAR developed new strains of
uses high-yielding varie es with
rates achieved in the past thirty years. high yield value seeds, mainly wheat
complementary inputs. The
The agriculture of India has moved and rice, millet and corn. The most
tradi onal subsistence rice
from evolu on to revolu on. It is noteworthy seed was the K68 variety
cul va on in the riverine
associated with unfavorable or for wheat which pushed up food grain
lowlands of Asia could be considered produc on significantly during the
difficult areas that are mainly rainfed,
4 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018
subsequent decade. The 'Green (using more than 80 per cent of that have allowed the full expression
Revolu on' resulted in a record grain usable freshwater) and a large of the yield poten al of new crop
output of 131 million tons during propor on of the popula on derives varie es. The Green Revolu on has
1978-79. This established India as one its livelihood directly or indirectly indeed transformed the agriculture
of the world's biggest agricultural from it, we need to build efficient scene and provided the impetus for
producers. No other country in the irriga on systems and water agricultural development in the
world which a empted the Green conserva on strategies, especially in region. The produc vity gains in Asia
Revolu on recorded such levels of semi-arid regions, through due to Green Revolu on is obvious
success. India also became an conjunc ve use of surface and from the fact that between 1965 and
exporter of food grains during the groundwater. Three decades ago, the 1990 the cereal produc on increased
same me. Yield per unit of farmland collec ve response to the spectra of by an average of more than 3%
jumped by more than 30% between hunger resulted in what became annually in many of the high-
1947 -1979 when the Green known as the Green Revolu on. In popula on countries. In some it was
Revolu on was considered to have Green Revolu on agriculture, the 4% or more (e.g. Pakistan and
delivered its goals in the short term. major change has been the Indonesia), whereas some tradi onal
However, the thrust on policy improvement of irriga on systems, agricultural systems had been able to
approach to agriculture since the with upstream storages allowing the sustain only 0.5-1.0% increases in
1990s has been to secure increased extension of cul va on into the dry produc on in the past. For the most
produc on through subsidies on season. This has enabled part, the high growth rates did not
inputs such as power, water and intensifica on and specializa on, bring new land into produc on. With
fer lizer, and by increasing the typified by the introduc on in the only a few excep ons, growth in area
minimum support price (MSP) rather 1960s of improved high-yielding under agricultural produc on was
than through building new capital varie es that require large inputs of less than 1% annually in most
assets in irriga on, power and rural chemical fer lizer. At their most countries of the region. In fact land
infrastructure. This has shi ed the intensive, such systems have been area under agricultural produc on
produc on base from low-cost producing two or three crops per actually declined in a few countries,
regions to high-cost ones, causing an year, o en incorpora ng a short such as People's Republic of China
increase in the cost of produc on, dura on legume between cereals. and Japan. This implies that the
regional imbalances, and an increase Because of the excellent resource p ro d u c v i t y ga i n s ca m e f ro m
in the burden of storage and base of the Green Revolu on increases in yields per hectare, which
transport of food grains. Besides, agriculture, smallholders who have is what the Green Revolu on was all
ground water par cularly in northern expanded their enterprises have about. People's Republic of China and
Indian states of Haryana and Punjab achieved a size of opera on difficult Indonesia had yield increases
and in western U ar Pradesh is being to d i s n g u i s h f ro m i n d u st r i a l averaging nearly 4% annually from
rapidly depleted. The situa on in the agriculture. The resul ng expansion the mid-1960s to 1990, and annual
state of Punjab is alarming. It has of food produc on has brought increases greater than 2.5% were
e x h a u s t e d i t s u p p e r l ay e r o f Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, achieved in several other countries
groundwater and farmers are now India, the People's Republic of China, including India, Republic of Korea,
using high-horsepower pumps to get the Philippines and others from the Pakistan and the Philippines (Doobs
groundwater from the deeper layers. brink of starva on to the threshold of 1994). As stated above, increased
Agricultural scien sts have advised Na onal food-grain self-sufficiency. It land under irriga on was part of the
against growing water intensive has s mulated industrial growth and Green Revolu on story. Several large
paddy in Punjab and Haryana. fostered poli cal stability. And, unlike countries (India, Indonesia, and the
Scien sts agree that Indian many previous rural development Philippines) increased their areas
agriculture must move to a more efforts, the majority of the under irriga on by more than 2% per
sustainable way as far as water usage- beneficiaries of the Green Revolu on year. In addi on, the effec veness of
based ecosystems are concerned to have been small-scale producers. The irriga on was substan ally enhanced
meet the food and non-food needs of Green Revolu on has been based on on many already irrigated tracts when
a growing popula on. As agriculture a package of technological inputs- tube wells were installed to augment
is the largest user of water in India fer lizers; pes cides and irriga on - or replace irriga on supplies from

ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 5
tradi onal dug wells, tanks and for sustaining the economies of these movement of surplus popula on
reservoir-fed canals. The real yield co u nt r i e s . H o weve r, fo r m o st from such areas onto more marginal
payoff, however, came from the countries, the exis ng plan ngs, lands. Third world agriculture has
combina on of be er irriga on notably of coconuts and tea, are figured out the swidden cul va on
facili es, improved cereal cul vars, characterized by low produc vity, a and rainfed farming (Arunachalam
and fer lizer use. Many countries in consequence of the large age of the and Maithani, 1995; Arunachalam,
Asia experienced average annual stands, their inferior varie es, the 2011). Rainfed areas cons tute over
growth rates in fer lizer use in excess non-op mal plant density, minimal 70% of the cul vated land in the
of 10% in the last three decades. input use and poor agronomic region and support nearly two-thirds
Increasing fer lizer use, o en by prac ces. Op miza on is being of its farmers. Yield increases s ll
subsidizing farm-level prices, was a achieved through rehabilita on and depend on the subtle interac on
major part of the agricultural replan ng of the crop concerned, and between soil, water, seeds, and
development strategy in many of through inter-cropping with other sunlight, but the process is not as well
developing countries of Asia during crops; it depends on available understood in rainfed condi ons as it
t h e 1 9 7 0 s . P ro d u c v i t y ga i n s technological innova ons, the crop's is for irrigated land. Local condi ons
associated with the Green Revolu on responsiveness to improved prac ces vary so much that to find solu ons is
in Asia have been greatest in wheat and the extent to which the increased o en costly, and they can seldom be
and rice areas with well-developed output will lead towards substan al replicated elsewhere. Even with the
irriga on systems; produc vity gains income gains (Arunachalam, 2014). current state of knowledge, however,
in the un-irrigated arid and semi-arid Land use considera ons have played there is scope for growth. New
areas of Asia have been limited. an important role in decisions to methods of lling, new crop
Transi on in Tradi onal Pa erns expand the cul va on of planta on rota ons, increasing use of fer lizers
crops. Many countries have areas and pes cides, soil conserva on and
Popula on growth and economic
with severe terrain constraints (steep drainage all have a part to play. Soil
development that have occurred in
slopes) and high rainfall, which will erosion and declining fer lity are the
the region have brought about
suffer extensive ecological damage if main threats to rainfed agriculture in
considerable changes in the pa ern
planted to annual crops (Ayyappan the humid and sub-humid areas
of agriculture. The first one is the
and Arunachalam, 2015). (Lama et al, 2017). The tackling of
industrial agriculture, which existed
Consequently, planta on crops such these challenges has required
as enclaves at the beginning of the
as rubber, tea, coffee, cocoa, nutmeg, protec on of the soil by con nuous
colonial period, has disappeared, and
cloves and cardamom, which require crop coverage and minimum llage,
the spa al separa on between the
minimal cul va on and provide as well as by drilling seeds and
second and third categories of
con nuous ground cover, have been controlling weeds. This has been
agriculture also has been eroded by
successfully established in such considered to provide a systema c
the expansion of cul va on fron er
areas. Expansion of certain crops has approach that is being promoted in
into the forests.
been based on their ability to most countries. Increases in yields
Changes in Industrial or Planta on overcome specific environmental from rainfed land will therefore be
Agriculture constraints (Du a et al., 2014), e.g. rela vely slow, and concentrated in
O v e r t h e ye a rs , i n d u st r i a l o r cashews, mangoes and cinnamon in regions with be er rainfall and soil,
planta on agriculture in the region dry and sandy areas, cardamom at but the gains could be considerable. If
has become diverse (Conway and high al tudes, and pineapple and rainfed land could increase its yield by
Barbeier 2013). Today, planta on coffee in organic soils (Arunachalam 500 kg/ha, the total increase in
crops are the mainstay of several and Gohlani, 2013). produc on would exceed what could
economies in the region, contribu ng C h a n g e s i n t h e T h i r d Wo r l d be achieved by a rise of 2 t/ha in the
s u b s ta n a l l y t o t h e i r fo re i g n Agriculture yield of all irrigated land. Some
exchange earnings and providing formidable obstacles, such as
To con nue the planta on pa ern in
e m p l o y m e n t fo r a s i g n i fi c a n t flooding, stand in the way of such
the country it has been the need of
propor on of their popula on. achievements: in many parts of Asia,
third world agriculture.
Con nued viability of these crops has normal rains cause widespread
Consequently, there has been
been recognized as being important

6 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018
floods. Standing water o en more The importance of off-farm inputs to closely integrated in the interna onal
than 30 cm deep makes many paddy produc on has grown steadily in economy, following the rising share of
fields of Asia unsuitable for high- developing countries. Ins tu onal output which is traded
yielding dwarf varie es of rice. Small- credit has become more important in interna onally and the increased
scale flood protec on and effec ve the financing of farm opera ons. Off- links to the monetary economy.
drainage have enabled modern rice fa r m s o u rc e s o f i n co m e h ave Exchange rates, interest rates and the
technology to expand into parts of provided a rising share of the total availability of capital are strongly
Bangladesh, Myanmar, India and income of farm families, reaching a ffe c t e d b y t h e i n t e r n a o n a l
Thailand. some 40-50% for very small farmers environment. The la er, therefore,
Closer integra on of Agriculture in and landless labourers in developing influences directly or indirectly the
the Overall Economy countries in the early 1980s and later. cost of finance to the sector, the
As developing country agriculture has prices of imported inputs and those
A change of considerable importance
become more mone zed, its linkage of the commodi es exported or
which has gathered pace over the
with industry also has become more compe ng with imports in the
past two and a half decades is the
prominent. Rural purchases have domes c market. Economic and
increasing integra on of agriculture
provided a significant - o en the financial developments, especially in
in domes c economies and in the
largest part - of the market for goods recent years, have thus meant that
i n t e r n a o n a l e c o n o m y. Fa r m
produced by domes c manufacturing agriculture too, has become more
families' sales and purchases of their
industries, while the processing of affected by macroeconomic policies
food produc on or requirements
food and agricultural raw materials and general economic condi ons,
have steadily encroached on largely
has typically been the basis of both within the country and
subsistence agriculture, although
developing country industrializa on interna onally. However, the full
produc on for home consump on
(Ayyappan and Arunachalam, 2014). bearing of this increasing
s ll remains a basic part of
At the same me, the food and interdependence has not been
developing country agriculture
agricultural sector has become more widely appreciated un l recently.
(Arunachalam and Ayyappan, 2013).

Issues related to Sustainable Management of Forests of Northeast India
B.K. Tiwari
Professor, Department of Environmental Studies
North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong, Meghalaya, India
bktiwarinehu@gmail.com
Introduc on services provided by forests are non- predominance of Mongoloid
Forests of India are a source of a commercialized and non-marketable. elements. The states of the region
variety of goods and services, which The north-eastern region of India have some other common
range from medicinal herbs and leafy comprises eight states (Arunachal characteris cs: the infrastructure is
vegetables for the rural poor to P r a d e s h , A s s a m , M a n i p u r, poor; agriculture is subsistence and
mber for the construc on purposes; Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, tradi onal; and except for Assam, the
from sources of drinking water for the Sikkim and Tripura). The region is region has no large industries. The
rural communi es and megaci es to considered a geographical en ty as it region is hilly or mountainous and
sequestra on of carbon contribu ng shares many commonali es of predominantly inhabited by tribal
to mi ga on of global climate. geographical features, poli cal people. Except for Assam, all the
Environmental economists are history, and culture of the people. The states have very high forest cover and
increasingly realizing that, in regions region is joined with the rest of India they together account for about 25
with high forest cover, forests play an through a 20 km wide passage called percent of India's forest cover. The
important role in the livelihoods of the Siliguri Corridor, or chicken's region is very rich in biodiversity and
local communi es even more than neck. As a result, the region appears as much as 50 percent of India's
es mated by conven onal methods to be geographically separated from biodiversity can be found in these
of economic survey, because a the rest of India. North-east India is states. The region is also rich in
significant por on of goods and primarily inhabited by people having endemic flora and fauna but the

ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 7
biodiversity is experiencing severe control of State Forest Department, customary laws for forest
anthropogenic pressure. and the remaining forest areas are conserva on. Further, external
In the northeast India the forests are under the control of ADCs. This poses support in the form of financial and
under severe pressure due to a great challenge for management of technical assistance to indigenous
popula on growth, encroachments forests by the states. The irony is that community ins tu ons from
on forest lands, loss of forest cover for the government, which has ample government agencies will help
non-forest uses, shi ing cul va on exper se and resources, has less area conserve the forests under
prac ces and degrada on caused by under its control, and ADCs with community ownership for many
illicit felling, lopping for fuelwood and scarce resources control most forests years.
fodder, removal of forest cover for of these states. It poses a challenge to iii. Scheduled Tribes and Other
li er, forest fires, and expansion of t h e s u sta i n a b l e a n d s c i e n fi c Tr a d i o n a l F o r e s t D w e l l e r s
human habita ons. Given the rich management of forests under the (Recogni on of Forest Rights Act)
biodiversity of the region, control of ADCs. The District Councils 2006
dependence of people on the forests o en exercise their authority through
The Scheduled Tribes and Other
and the ecological services tradi onal ins tu ons. At least two-
Tr a d i o n a l F o r e s t D w e l l e r s
emana ng from the forests`, as well thirds of the region's forests are
(Recogni on of Forest Rights Act)
as forest conserva on and officially under the legal authority of
(FRA) 2006 was no fied on December
sustainable management are prime the ADCs and maximum degrada on
29, 2006. The FRA extended to the
concerns. A number of strategic of forests is taking place in these
en re country except the state of
ac ons are required at various levels forests.
Jammu and Kashmir. The FRA seeks to
to address the underlying causes of ii. Forest Governance and re co g n i ze a n d ve st r i g ht s fo r
forest degrada on and to ensure that Community Ins tu ons habita on and occupa on in forest
important environmental services Forest administra on in northeast land for forest-dwelling Scheduled
are sustained and the livelihoods of India sharply differs from the rest of Tribes, as well as for Other Tradi onal
45 million people of the north-east India because vast area of forests are Forest Dwellers who have been
are not undermined. Some important under “community control” and residing in such forests for
issues that come in way of sustainable “community ownership”. It is difficult genera ons but whose rights could
management of forests of northeast to generalize the capacity of local and not be recorded. The Act was
India and need to be addressed are indigenous resource management considered an enabling legisla on to
discussed hereunder. ins tu ons in northeast India. Not all undo the historical injus ce done to
i. Sixth Schedule of Cons tu on of forests under the control of these communi es.
India communi es are in good condi on; In the northeast region, the Act has
The states of Assam, Meghalaya, however, not all are experiencing been implemented in the states of
Mizoram, and Tripura enjoy certain deforesta on and degrada on. It has Assam and Tripura. Large areas of
rights and concessions provided to been observed that the weakening of forest lands have been allo ed,
the tribal people of the region under local community ins tu ons is through pa a, to the forest dwellers
Sixth Schedule of the Cons tu on of occurring in many places across the in these states. While this may have a
I n d i a . M o st o f t h e i m p o r ta nt region due to changing values and posi ve impact on the livelihood of
provisions in the Cons tu on rela ng belief systems. Other major changes the people, this has resulted in
to forest management have been have been the commercializa on and further encroachments, along with
given to Autonomous District priva za on of land resources once conversion of forest land into
Councils (ADCs), which have power to held by the community, both of which agricultural fields and human
formulate and implement Acts and have led to unsustainable forest habita ons. The Act contained
Rules rela ng to forest management. management. To ensure sustainable provisions with noble objec ves and
The ADCs have control and management of community forests, it included language about sustainable
jurisdic on on all forests of the states i s n e c e s s a r y t o g ra n t fo r m a l management of forests by involving
that have not been no fied under the recogni on to all the community the forest dependent people in the
Indian Forest Act, 1927. For example, forest areas and to enhance their process; however, it has emerged as a
in the state of Meghalaya, less than growth by suppor ng and tool for giving pa a of forest lands to
10 percent of the forests is under the strengthening the tradi onal and people living in and near the forests.
8 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018
The Rain Forest Research Ins tute, (Assam Forest Regula on 1891, eastern region is the ongoing dispute
Jorhat, revealed in a study that the 1995). At the same me, the laws related to inter-state borders, which
Act has not achieved its objec ve enacted by the Autonomous District affects forest management. It is
rela ng to conserva on of forests. Councils considered shi ing reported that the forests on the
iv. Shi ing cul va on cul va on as a right held by the d i s p u te d l a n d o n t h e A s s a m -
communi es. Thus, the two law- Mizoram, Assam-Nagaland, Assam-
According to MoEFCC, 600,000
making bodies look at shi ing Arunachal Pradesh, and Assam-
families are prac cing shi ing
cul va on differently. Conflic ng Meghalaya borders are degrading
cul va on on 3.8 million hectares of
laws and policies affec ng land and due to improper management.
land (Kishwan et al. 2007). According
forests are numerous in the north- According to some es mates, about
to FSI (2015), shi ing cul va on was
east due to its complex legal history. 2,500 sq. km. forests exist within
the major cause of loss of forest cover
There is a need to bring greater those disputed lands.
in north-eastern states during 2013 to
consistency to the legal framework vi. Smuggling of Forest Produce and
2015. Even in areas such as Sikkim,
opera ng in the region. Nevertheless, Insurgency
where shi ing cul va on has not
in recent mes the policy makers and
been officially reported, the reason The north-east region contains 4,500
researchers have felt that, in addi on
for loss of forest cover has been km of interna onal border land,
to encouraging farmers for se led
determined to be shi ing cul va on. which is s ll open in large stretches.
cul va on, it is important to adopt
It is o en described as “cafeteria Illegal trade and smuggling of forest
technology, such as site-specific
system of cul va on” where dozens products drain the scarce resources
innova ons and inven ons, to
of varie es of cereals and vegetables, of several states. This is par cularly
enhance produc vity of land under
together with tree crops, are grown in serious in the states bordering
shi ing cul va on. Several na onal
a single field. Shi ing cul va on Bangladesh. In addi on, the
and interna onal agencies have
con nues to remain an important insurgency prevailing in several states
implemented schemes and provided
food produc on system in the hill interferes with proper management
funds through the state governments
regions of north-east India. Through of forests; there are many examples
and non-government organiza ons
their experien al knowledge gained w h e r e m i l i t a n t s h av e c a u s e d
to enhance produc vity in shi ing
over thousands of years, people of destruc on to forest resources. Also,
cul va on areas and to control the
the region have found that in their militant hideouts are mostly found in
degrada on of lands. However, li le
clima c, edaphic, topographic, and forest areas, inhibi ng movement of
has been done to collate and compile
socio-economic se ngs, this form of forest officials in such forests.
the policies and alterna ve op ons to
agriculture was the most Forests of northeast India are the
shi ing cul va on being promoted
a p p ro p r i ate . F u r t h e r, s h i i n g most valuable asset of the country
and presently being prac ced in
cul va on is prevalent because the and deserve greater a en on of the
north-east India. To summarize, in
modern agriculture, characterized by governments and public at large. The
most cases, two departments of state
high input of energy and extraneous India State of Forest Reports of 2015
governments look at shi ing
materials, does not fit into the socio- and 2017 have revealed that the
a g r i c u l t u r e d i ffe r e n t l y : w h i l e
ecological system of the region. region has lost 1258 sq km of forest
agriculture department considers
Since independence, the government jhum fields as a “jungle growth on cover during past 4 years. While in
of India, as well as state governments a g r i c u l t u ra l l a n d ”, t h e fo re st several states outside the region, the
of the region, formulated policies and department considers the same land forest cover has increased during the
enacted laws to reduce areas under use as “agriculture on forest land”. same period most states of India's
shi ing agriculture. Shi ing Thus, for sustainable management of northeast region are steadily losing
cul va on has been a conten ous forests of northeast India, the issue of the forest cover. A serious analysis of
issue in forestry management in the shi ing cul va on needs to be causes and consequences and
north-east. The government resolved. mi ga on measures is required. The
considers shi ing cul va on as “a above analysis of issues rela ng to
v. Encroachments
privilege subject to control, sustainable management of forests of
restric on and aboli on by the state Another issue hampering sustainable the region puts the problem in
government and not to be a right” forest management in the north- perspec ve.

ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 9
NEWS AND VIEWS
Arc c clouds highly sensi ve to air the poles. Once in the Arc c, the Par culate ma er is an airborne
pollu on pollu on becomes trapped under a pollutant that can be controlled
temperature inversion, much like the rela vely easily, compared to
A study by atmospheric scien sts has
inversions that Salt Lake City pollutants like carbon dioxide.
found that the air in the Arc c is
experiences every winter. In an Controlling current par culate
extraordinarily sensi ve to air
inversion, a cap of warm air sits over a ma er sources could ease pollu on
pollu on, and that par culate ma er
pool of cold air, preven ng the in the Arc c, decrease cloud cover,
may spur Arc c cloud forma on.
accumulated bad air from escaping. and slow down warming. All of those
These clouds can act as a blanket,
gains could be offset, other
further warming an already-changing Scien sts have studied which regions
researchers have suggested, if the
Arc c. contribute to Arc c pollu on.
Arc c becomes a shipping route and
Northeast Asia is a significant
In 1870, explorer Adolf Erik sees industrializa on and
contributor. So are sources in the far
Nordenskiöld, trekking across the development emissions from those
north of Europe. They have far more
barren and remote ice cap of ac vi es could have a
direct access to the Arc c, Pollu on
Greenland, saw something most dispropor onate effect on Arc c
sources there don't get diluted
people wouldn't expect in such an clouds compared to emissions from
throughout the atmosphere.
empty, inhospitable landscape: haze. other parts of the world.
Scien sts have been interested on
Nordenskiöld's record of the haze The Arc c is changing incredibly
the effects of pollu on on Arc c
was among the first evidence that air rapidly, much more rapidly than the
clouds because of their poten al
pollu on around the northern rest of the world, which is changing
warming effect. In other parts of the
hemisphere can travel towards the rapidly enough?
world, clouds can cool the surface
pole and degrade air quality in the
because their white color reflects Source: University of Utah (UNews)
Arc c. Now, in a study from University
solar energy back out into space. In
of Utah atmospheric scien st finds No more pancake syrup? Climate
the Arc c, the cooling effect isn't as
that the air in the Arc c is change could bring an end to sugar
large because the sea-ice at the
extraordinarily sensi ve to air maples
surface is already bright, Just as
pollu on, and that par culate ma er
clouds reflect radia on efficiently, The trees that make maple syrup used
may spur Arc c cloud forma on.
they also absorb radia on efficiently in the pan-cakes will struggle to
These clouds, can act as a blanket,
and re-emit that energy back to warm survive climate change, a new study
further warming an already-changing
the surface. Droplets of water can reveals. Researchers had thought
Arc c.
form around par culate ma er in the that pollu on from cars, factories,
The Arc c climate is delicate, just as air. More par cles make for more and agriculture might buffer sugar
the ecosystems present there. The droplets, which make for a cloud that maples against an increasingly warm
clouds are right at the edge of their warms the surface more. and dry climate by supplying soils
existence and they have a big impact with fer lizing nitrogen. But the new
The research team found that clouds
on local climate. It looks like clouds analysis, which examined 20 years of
in the Arc c were two to eight mes
there are especially sensi ve to air tree and soil data, finds that extra
more sensi ve to air pollu on than
pollu on. boost of nitrogen won't be enough.
clouds at other la tudes. They don't
Early Arc c explorers' notes show know for sure why yet, but Instead, the researchers report, lack
that air pollu on has been traveling hypothesize it may have to do with of water will stunt the trees' growth.
northward for nearly 150 years or the s llness of the Arc c air mass. T h ey ra n t wo c l i m ate c h a n ge
more. This pollu on would naturally Without the air turbulence seen at scenarios specific to the region. In
get blown northward because that's mid-la tudes, the Arc c air can be one case, driven by a decrease in
the dominant circula on pa ern to easily perturbed by airborne carbon dioxide emissions,
move from lower la tudes toward par culates. temperature would change

10 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018
moderately, by less than 1°C over the trees, crops, and flowers we are most alone emit as much carbon dioxide as
next century. In the second, more familiar with—came along some me nearly seven million cars, a study has
extreme case based on current a er liverworts, hornworts, and found.
emission trends con nuing into the mosses. Yet the order in which those
Researchers from University of
future, temperature would rise by three other groups appeared has
Manchester in the U.K. have carried
more than 5°C, and 40% less rain been a mystery and has stymied
out the first ever comprehensive
would fall in the summer. In both molecular clock studies. The new
study of the environmental impacts
scenarios, the trees didn't grow as analysis shows that the first land
of microwaves, considering their
much as they do now, but tree growth plants arose earlier than we thought,
whole life cycle.
in the second scenario nearly regardless of current uncertain es
stopped, even with a bump from about which land plants evolved first. The study found that microwaves
extra nitrogen. The researchers say emit 7.7 million tonnes of carbon
Plant scien sts once considered
s u ga r m a p l e s w i l l e v e n t u a l l y dioxide equivalent per year in the
liverwort the most primi ve exis ng
disappear if condi ons from the E u ro p e a n U n i o n ( E U ) . T h i s i s
plant because it lacks roots and pores
second case hold true. equivalent to annual emissions of 6.8
for gas and water exchange, but a few
million cars.
Source: Science recent studies had suggested that
liver worm-like plants were not the The study used life cycle assessment
Land plants arose earlier than
earliest land plants. Liverworts are (LCA) to es mate the impacts of
thought—and may have had a
most closely related to mosses and microwaves, taking into account their
bigger impact on the evolu on of
once had roots and pores but lost manufacture, use and end-of-life
animals
those traits over me. waste management.
We have land plants to thank for the
The assump on has been that the Altogether, the research team
oxygen we breathe. And now we have
ancestral plant is physiologically like a inves gated 12 different
a be er idea of when they took to
liverwort. But recent analysis environmental factors, including
land in the first place. While the
suggests that ancestor likely had climate change, deple on of natural
oldest known fossils of land plants are
rudimentary pores and roots, and resources and ecological toxicity. The
420 million years old, researchers
thus might grow be er, process more research shows that the main
have now determined that pond
soil and more carbon dioxide, and e nv i ro n m e n ta l ' h o t s p o t s ' a re
scum first made landfall
therefore, have been more influen al materials used to manufacture these
almost100million years earlier. This
in Earth's biogeochemistry than microwave ovens.
study has important global
researchers have thought.
implica ons, because we know early The manufacturing process alone
plants cooled the climate and This changes the en re me line for contributes more than 20% to
increased the oxygen level in the the origin of terrestrial life and the deple on of natural resources and to
Earth's atmosphere, condi ons that subsequent pace of evolu onary climate change. However, it is
supported the expansion of changes in plants and associated electricity consump on by
terrestrial animal life. animal (and fungal) groups. Also, microwaves that has the biggest
these earlier dates would mean that impact, taking into account its whole
For decades biologists have been
changes to the Earth happened at a life cycle, from produc on of fuels to
trying to come up with a reliable birth
slower pace than we might otherwise genera on of electricity.
d ate fo r l a n d p l a nt s . L a c k i n g
think.
backbones and hard shells, plants Microwaves across the EU consume
leave rela vely li le behind in the Source: Science an es mated 9.4 terawa s per hour
fossil record, so researchers suspect of power every year. This is equivalent
Microwaves as bad as cars for
even the oldest plant fossils don't to the annual electricity genera on
environment
represent the first flora. by three large gas power plants.
Microwave ovens across Europe
Vascular plants—which include the Source: PTI

ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018 11
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12 ENVIRONEWS, April, 2018