Deforestation refers to the process of clearing forest cover. It leads to a reduction in the level of oxygen in the air, soil erosion, climate change and global warming. The given figure provides an overview of the three main causes of deforestation in India.
Causes of Deforestation in India
The following is a detailed discussion of the main causes of deforestation.
River valley projects: Multi-purpose river valley projects such as the Bhakra dam project and the Damodar river valley project are being developed at the cost of forest cover.
Increasing population and urbanisation: The ever-growing population with its ever-growing demands has increased deforestation. The population explosion has triggered an excessive demand for housing. Trees are increasingly being cut down to meet this demand. Consequently, the forest cover is gradually reducing. Though a high degree of urbanisation indicates a high standard of living, the adverse impact that it has upon the environment is a cause for concern. The deforestation caused by urbanisation has resulted in a drastic fall in the land-per-man ratio.
Industrialisation: In the blind rage to achieve economic development, the process of industrialisation acts as an important catalyst. In order to speed up the process of industrialisation, natural resources are being exploited at a rapid pace.
Industrialisation, on the one hand, enhances our living standards; however, on the other hand, it leads to deforestation and the depletion of other natural resources.
Deforestation has resulted in serious problems such as soil erosion, changes in climatic conditions, fall in the level of rainfall and drying up of rivers. The need of the hour is to discourage deforestation and promote afforestation.
The Chipko Movement and the Appiko Movement were launched for the same purpose. These movements were characterised by volunteers hugging trees, thereby, preventing the cutting down of trees. The volunteers wanted forest officials and contractors to follow certain rules and regulations with regard to the cutting down of trees. Similar movements, awareness drives and plans and policies are needed to help rectify the environmental problems created by deforestation.
Wildlife sanctuaries and national parks such as Jim Corbett National Park must be set up. People must be made aware of the dire consequences of deforestation and must be encouraged to plant new trees. Also, moves such as the free distribution of saplings by the government should be increasingly followed.
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