Forests play an important role in controlling humidity, temperature, and precipitation but the rapid growth of population has resulted in clearing land for cultivation activities. So, the Conservation of Forests is necessary to protect wildlife and promote biodiversity.
Importance of Forest
- They play an important role in controlling humidity, temperature and precipitation.
- They help in maintaining the purity of air by absorbing carbon dioxide.
- They control soil erosion, soil degradation and prevent droughts and floods.
- Forests help in water percolation.
- Decayed leaves of plants provide humus to the soil and increase its fertility.
- They provide habitation to plants and animals.
Factors Responsible for the Deforestation
- The rapid growth of population has resulted in clearing land for cultivation activities
- Many forests have been cleared to convert them into pasture lands
- Increasing demand for timber for industrial expansion and urbanization
- The construction of multipurpose river valleys has led to the submergence of lands and the destruction of forests
Conservation of Forests
Some forest conservation methods are
- Afforestation or special programs like ‘Van Mahotsav’ should be launched and celebrated on a large scale. This will create awareness among the people regarding the protection of forests. One of the other ways of making people aware is the celebration of festivals should begin with a tree plantation.
- The government should cautiously give permits to contractors for the cutting of timber.
- One of the ways in which tribals protect the forests is by declaring a large patch of forests as ‘sacred groves’. Because these are worshipped by the government, trees in the sacred groves are considered sacred and are not allowed to be cut.
- An important factor that contributes towards the conservation of forests is the Joint Forest Management (JFM). Local communities are involved in the management of degrading forests.
- This program has been in existence since 1998. Because local communities undertake the responsibility of forest protection, they are given rights to use non-timber products and get a share in timber harvests by successful protection of forests. States such as Odisha and Gujarat have been practicing forest conservation through JFM.
- Developmental activities should be environment-friendly. If timber is required for any project, then the same or more number of trees which are felled should be planted.
- The building of many multipurpose dams also leads to the submergence of land and forest area. The building of small check dams and reservoirs goes a long way not only in providing water to farmers for irrigation but also in recharging the groundwater. This will ensure that forest cover is not depleted because of the building of large dams.
- Using alternative sources of energy such as solar energy, wind power, and tidal energy results in saving wood which is commonly used as a source of energy in rural areas.
National Forest Policy for Conservation of Forests
The National Forest Policy was adopted in 1952 by the government of India. The policy gives importance to sustainable forest management for conservation of forests.
Objectives of the National Forest Policy
- To maintain the stability of the environment by preservation and restoration of ecological balance
- To check soil erosion and denudation in the catchment areas of rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. To increase the productivity of forests to meet essential national needs
- To create people’s movement on a large-scale involving woman for preserving forests
- To conserve the natural heritage of the country by preserving natural forests, flora, and fauna.
Also, Read What is Agroforestry?