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Deforestation Shailesh Mane 09-824 Case study

40. Degraded forest constitutes a considerable portion of forestlands here. widespread poverty. Total area under forest has nearly stabilized at around 64 million ha. The present paper analyses change in forest composition because of selective overexploitation.11 The forest comprises four major types and sixteen subtypes. productivity and also because of the current initiatives at the government and non-government levels dealing with deforestation and forest degradation.29.34 India contributes about 8% of species to world’s biodiversity. 28 India with a national territory of 329Mha in South Asia contains 63.4%. loss of natural regeneration.73 Mha of forest cover.20 However these do not represent all biogeographic zones. Realizing the need for conservation and regeneration. In India. low growing stock. forests are increasingly subjected to deforestation and degradation with adverse socio-economic and environmental impacts.8 From 11. Introduction Deforestation has occurred in the tropics throughout history. The agriculture land is fragmented into uneconomic parcels and overused.600Mha. several programs have been implemented at the government and nongovernment levels.2% of population below US$1 (1993 PPP) per day. Widespread forest degradation in developing countries remains poorly understood and quantified.32 A network of 586 Protected Areas (PAs) has been established.16.1 India is a poor country. limited employment opportunities in agricultural and industrial sector has resulted in heavy . Thus restoration of degraded lands assumes priority in planning and implementation.39 Accelerating recently.31. diversion of forestland declined drastically to around 15 500 ha per annum from 150 000 ha per annum prior to 1980. particularly in areas of seasonally deciduous tropical forests. degraded forests constitute 41% of the total forest cover.5 Tropical forests account for 86% of the total legally defined forest area in the country. with 44.24 Growing population.Abstract In tropical areas. Following the enactment of the Forest Conservation Act in 1980. the tropical rain forest reduced to 938 Mha by 1975 amounting to a reduction of 41.37 About 60% of the population is engaged in agriculture.13.

nearly 80% of India was forested.18 Grazing was also reported in 67% of the national parks and 83% of the wildlife sanctuaries. 32 Trends: Around 3000 B. Degradation refers to reduction in productivity and/or diversity of a forest due to unsustainable harvesting (removals exceeding replacements. sustainable level being 31 million. state custodianship and permanent cultivation. being removed from the forests.g. 14 Subsequent invasions changed entire landscape. As per wood budget for 1996. In addition. removal of nutrients and pollution/climate change (changes in productivity. Forests have five times more pressure than they can withstand. developmental refugees were resettled in forest areas. 1970 to 1980 witnessed acute shortage of fuel wood and fodder in rural areas resulting in further exploitation.36 The National Forest Policy 1952 envisaged increasing forest areas to one third of the total land area. but was difficult to implement. sustainable production of fuel wood from the forest was 17 million tones and 98 million tones from farm forestry and other areas. fire (except for fire dependent forest systems). which as a compulsion.pressure on forests.33Additionally. pastures. Data for post 1980 period (Fig 1) shows that rate of diversion of forest to non-forestry activities declined to around 15. croplands. First era in deforestation was shortly after absorption into British Empire.5000 ha per annum post 1980 . pests.38. In late 1950s and early 1960s diversions occurred for farming under the ‘Grow More Food’ programme.C.36 The 1894 British Forest Policy accorded priority to commercial exploitation. An estimated 100 million cow units graze in forests annually.30 Deforestation And Forest Degradation Deforestation is conversion of any forest to other uses e. graziers collect an estimated 175-200 million tonnes of green fodder annually.25 There was a net deficit of 86 million tones of fuelwood. Forestland had to be used for development. total organic matter. changes in species composition). or urban land. diseases. Second major deforestation was in 1940s with demands of World War II and transition to independence for India and Pakistan in 1947. primarily due to unsustainable extraction of fuel wood and over-grazing resulting in forest degradation. and forest composition).

32 Table II depicts changes in area of different forest types from 1987 to 1995. disregard for its regeneration and its extreme sensitivity to fire and grazing. 2000.27 Bamboo has been wiped out from many parts of central India because of overexploitation. Thus restoration of degraded lands assumes priority in planning and implementation. Forest degradation: Widespread forest degradation in developing countries remains poorly understood and quantified.23 important parameters indicating degradation are analyzed: Change in forest composition: Shifting cultivation. Conversion of evergreen and semi-evergreen forests to deciduous and thorn indicates increased human disturbance leading to secondary forests formation. fires and over-grazing have resulted in elimination of susceptible species and abundance of selected tolerant species.32 Concentration of human settlements in mid-mountain region (about 1000-2000 m elevation) and fire spreading from chir forests have reduced area under banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora) in Central Himalayan region. Source: Compendium of Environment Statistics. Government of India. 18 Total area under forests has nearly stabilized at around 64 Mha.3 Depicted increase in overall area under different forests is . Figure I Forest Land Diversion (Post 1980).000 ha per annum prior to 1980 (Table-1). Preponderance of teak (Tectona grandis) and sal (Shorea robusta) in the deciduous forest and chir (Pinus roxburgii) in the sub-tropical regions of India is attributed to their inherent gregariousness and resistance to injuries from fire and compared to 150.

9) 18.2 (0.6) 1.1) 0.54 (12. Extent and change of different forest types from 1987 to 1995 Area in m ha (% of total) 1987 1995 5. facilitating collection of minor .5) 2.0) 1.7 (0.6) 0.6 (3.1 (0.17 (566.6) 0.7) 0.40 (1.6 (4.68) +0.2 (0.3 (30.02 (7.4) 4.2) 1.74 (31.14) -0.2 (6.2) 3.30 (75.0) 23.40 (19.04 (28.2) 0.3 (3.50 (205.73) -1.19) Source: Ministry of Environment and Forest 1999.03) -0.9) 64.primarily due to inclusion of private forests in Uttar Pradesh and community owned forests in northeast.2 (6.40 (18.6 5.4) 3.57) +0.0) 4.22) +3.74 (28.88) -0. Over-grazing and repeated fires eventually affect relatively hardy species and their ability to regenerate.3 (4.5 (5.3) 77 Forest type Tropical wet evergreen Tropical semi evergreen Tropical moist deciduous Littoral and Swamp Tropical dry deciduous Tropical thorn Tropical dry evergreen Sub-tropical broad-leaved hill forest Sub-tropical pine forest Sub-tropical dry evergreen Montane wet temperate Himalayan moist temperate Himalayan dry temperate Sub-alpine and alpine Total Change (%) -0.0) 0.7 (2.9 (2. Fertility is also adversely impacted due to organic matter destruction.0) -0.3 (0.10) -0. Severe impounding from hooves of animals result in soil compaction and imperviousness.6) 2.2) 1.62 (12.1 (0.4 (38.44 (77.4) 0.00) +10.7 (5.67) +1.70 (57.3 (0.1) 1.3(2.42) +12. Loss of natural regeneration: Adequate natural regeneration indicates well-managed and healthy forest. Majority fires are deliberate.7 (28.6) 29.9 (2.4) 0.2 (3.3) 0.62) +0.1 (8.7 (37.5) 23.05 (84.6 (2.18) +0.0) 2.4 (0.8) 2.0 (0.

calculated based on net annual increment of 87. 40-70% and 10-40% indicate that forest with canopy density of 40-70% and 10-40% show average growing stock as 74. Current forest productivity (1. It also promotes new flush of grass or ‘tendu’ leaves (Diospyros melanoxylon) used for rolling ‘bidis’ (country made cigarettes).19 Further.2 percent occasionally. Source: Forest Survey of India 1995.37 cu m/ha. An FSI sample survey in 1995 found annual fires affecting 5354 percent of forest areas. Growing Stock under different canopy density. Of this. 10 Low growing stock: FAO estimates 73 t/ha of woody biomass in natural forests in India.32.62 million cu m and forest cover of 63.2% respectively. 9% of the area is frequently affected and 44. of the growing stock with canopy density of more than 70% (Fig II). 11.10 This shows that forest degradation lowers growing stock significantly and is important in any forest management strategy.1% and 28. Fig II. Low productivity: Forest productivity is net annual increment per unit forest area.7 Calculation of biomass densities for various forest types/strata for 1995 for canopy densities of >70%. the number of states in which the extent of regeneration was high decreased between 1987-1995 indicating progressive degradation.7 M ha) is . low as compared to 82 and 109 t/ha in tropical Asia and World respectively. Natural regeneration is either absent or inadequate in 53 percent of the country’s forest.forest produce such as ‘mahua’ (Madhuca indica) and ‘sal’ (Shorea robusta) seeds.

18 Private sector plantations and farm forestry: NFP 1988 altered government strategy regarding raw material supply to wood based industry. Remaining 15. envisages the following: Firstly rehabilitating and increasing the productivity of 31Mha of degraded forests. additional area of 29.26 Unable to meet demands of a growing population. providing a new approach for growing raw materials through an industry farmer nexus.5 ha) of farmers opting for farm forestry and Land Ceiling Act limiting the area under control by a private entity are constraining expansion of these arrangements. This includes 25.1 cu m/ha/yr. This requires afforestation of 60Mha in the next 20 years at the rate of 3Mha against current rate of 1.4Mha of degraded non-forestlands and 4-5Mha of farmlands.7Mha) to 33% of the total. Smallholdings (<1. Leasing forestlands to industry without creating stakes in their future productivity developed indifference for sustainable extraction. unsustainable usage of forests is further lowering productivity and growing stock. For meeting raw material requirements. Out of the 31Mha degraded forestlands about 15.66 cu m/ha/yr in humid regions.low in comparison to global average of 2. 1999. which can be regenerated by proper protection and thus ideally suited for management under Joint Forest Management systems (JFM). Since late 1970s subsidy to the industry has been gradually reduced. require technology-based plantation.5Mha.5Mha have natural rootstocks.18 Removal of subsidies: High subsidies caused indiscriminate exploitation of forests. Based on Paterson’s index and accounting for biotic interference. secondly increasing area under forest and tree cover (29. with depleted rootstocks. These need addressing to enhance private investment.7Mha has to be brought under plantations.33 . productivity of these forests would range from 1. industry promoted partnership initiatives expanding agro forestry and farm forestry on nonforestlands with credit to farmers provided by National Bank for Agricultural and Rural Development. Eco restoration Initiatives Government initiatives: National Forestry Action Programme.2 Mha annually.35 cu m/ha/yr in arid regions of India to 7. For national objective of 33% area under forest/tree cover.

Rajasthan.25Mha of degraded forests. SIDA-Sweden. Creation of new categories of reserves viz.2 billion in 1990’s with major funders being World Bank. Karnataka.19 Media and judiciary: India enshrined in her constitution {Art 48A and 51A(g)} a commitment to environmental protection. Uttar Pradesh and making available research. .12 Media has been an active player in all these. UNDP and Germany. financial and extension facilities to them. Voluntary Participation: Successful examples of voluntary involvement in eco-restoration are available from different parts of the country. Conservation and Community Reserves is on the anvil. 42. Gujarat.Establishment of protected areas: Currently 4. OECF-Japan. T. GandhiVan.20 External aid in JFM has been about Rs. Orissa. which in densely populated India is not easy. DFID-UK. JFM involves institutional arrangements involving local people for jointly protecting and managing forest with government agencies on a benefit-sharing basis. The National Tree Grower’s Cooperative Federation is an example. stresses community participation in conservation. Joint Forest Management NFP 1988.N Godavarnam Supreme Court judgement resulted in banning all unregulated ‘green fellings’ in northeast India.7% of total geographic area is under PA network. revival of river Aravari are other instances. made possible by organizing village level Tree Grower’s Cooperative Societies in states of Andhra Pradesh. EEC. India Ecodevelopment project is currently being implemented in seven PAs.1 National wildlife Action Plan 2002-2016 proposes to increase it to 10%. Ecodevelopment approach has been adopted for promoting symbiotic relationship between forest dwellers and resource. About 63. though small but impacting people’s lives in a big way. but is not representative of all biogeographic zones.000 JFM Committees in 27 states are protecting about 14. judiciary delivered judgements linking Right to Life (article21) to clean and healthy environment.2 In recent times.

Conclusions Policy changes and legislations brought down diversion of forests and total area under forests has nearly stabilized at around 64 million hectares. Most remaining forests in India (45. Restoration of degraded lands assumes priority in planning and implementation. This would go a long way in achieving national objective of maintaining one third of total land area under forests. promote sustainable use of remaining natural forests. arising after significant disturbance through large and small-scale extraction activities. industrial and urban demands. regeneration and development of degraded lands. .8%) are secondary. rehabilitation. deforestation is not an important consideration while formulating policy. As such. These continue to be subjected to increasing local extraction pressures with growing population. Urgent need to develop appropriate management strategies exists to reduce pressure.

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