Forests are natural umbrellas for ground surface because they protect the ground surface from erosion by falling raindrops and control radiation balance of the earth and the atmosphere by consuming increased amount of carbon dioxide released from ever increasing human volcanoes (chimneys of the factories) and thus prevent the earth from becoming too hot. Removal of forest cover exposes the ground surface to the atmospheric processes.
If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!Essay Writing Service
Forest is a living resource. A large number of people of the hills and plains depend on forest resources especially in the North-Eastern Region of India. It is a renewable resource if properly managed. Deforestation can take place in no time but generation of forest takes a long time to develop into a self contained viable ecosystem.Today, there is a great awareness of the problems of forests in our country as well as in North East India. During the last one decade the forest cover of the region got depleted at an alarming rate, hence, preservation of forest is a heavy task for the region.
Comprising of eight states, viz. ArunachalPradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura; Northeast India is a mega-biodiversity centre and a hotspot. The region contains more than one third of the country’s total bio-diversity and is one of the 18 recognised bio-diversity hotspots of the world. It occupies 7.7% of India’s total geographical area supporting50% of the flora of which 31.58% is endemic. It is a transitional zone between the Indian, Indo-Barman-Malaysian and Indo-Chinese regions. The region supports a rich biodiversity spanning from tropical rainforests to alpine scrubs. This rich biodiversity has a significant role in the maintenance of the ecosystem.
The region is rich in orchids, ferns, oaks bamboos, rhododendrons; magnolias etc.With the shrinkage of green cover everywhere, the region is also experiencing an impact on its ecological system. The major threats to the rich biodiversity of the region are expansion of agricultural activities, over-exploitation of forests for firewood, shifting cultivation, extensive timbering, grazing, urbanization, man-made forest fires, introduction of exoticplants, ill-managed road construction, mining, etc. which lead to habitat loss and habitat fragmentation that ultimately results in biodiversity loss. Natural calamities such as landslides, floods and forest fires also result in biodiversity loss to some extent. The region is known for its age old institutional mechanisms on cultural and social values for biodiversity conservation, namely sacred groves or forests in Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland; sacred landscapes in Sikkim and sacred hilltops in Arunachal Pradesh.Conserved as the abode of local dieties, these ecosystems represent remnants of ancient forests, but these practices are rapidly vanishing due to modern education and conversion of religion, which have led to the giving up of traditional and ethnic beliefs. India has strengthened its hold on biodiversity conservation by implementing the Indian Forest Act, 1927; the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972; the Forest (Conservation)Act, 1980; the Environment(Protection) Act, 1986; the Biodiversity Act, 2002; the Biodiversity Rule, 2004,etc.
The northeastern part of India, known for its diverse and most extensive lush forest cover, is sadly one of the major regions facing severe deforestation. Forests of this region are unique structurally and species composition. It is a meeting region of temperate east Himalayan flora, palaeo-arctic flora of Tibetan highland and wet evergreen flora of south-east Asia and Yunnan forming bowl of biodiversity. One of the states of this region viz., Arunachal Pradesh occupies a significant place as a crucible for the evolution of flora in north-east India and for speciation. The Brahmaputra valley sandwiched between Eastern Himalaya in the north, Garo/Khasi/Jaintia and Mikir/Cachar/Barail hills ranges in the south; is a meeting ground of the temperate east Himalayan flora and the wet evergreen and wet deciduous floristic elements. The Khasi-Jaintia hills function as a corridor of the south-east Asia floristic elements into the Indian subcontinent through the Arakan arc. The altitudinal variation and rainfall patterns of southwest and northeast monsoon play a significant role in the development of ecological niches in this region of India.
The forest cover of north-east India has been assessed by the government at 1, 64,043 sq. km of the total geographical area of 2,55,083 sq.km. In the states of north-east India the heaviest demand on forest is for fuel wood and agricultural lands. The precise of deforestation cannot be accurately assessed due to the remoteness of many areas from which forest is removed and the lack of written records for deforestation. The forest area of the states like Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Mizoram has been reducing at an alarming rate. It is to be noted that the forest areas of the plains of the north-east India are considerably below national norm. In fact during the last few decades, there has become a rapid degeneration of forest resources in the region which threatened the economy and ecology of north-east India requiring the intervention of the supreme court of India.
According to an official estimate based on satellite images (survey report of FSI), northeastern region has 1, 63,799 sq.km of forest, which is about 25% of the total forest cover in the country (Anon., 2000) The management of the forest has suffered in the recent past due to pressure on land, decreasing cycle of shifting cultivation, exploitation of forest for timber and lack of scientific management strategy. The age-old practice of shifting cultivation has been a single factor responsible for the forest and land degradation, thereby changing the landscape extensively. About 0.45 million families in northeastern region annually cultivate 10,000 sq.km forests whereas total area affected by ‘jhumming’ is believed to be 44,000 sq.km (Singh, 1990). Degraded secondary forests, bamboo thickets and weeds or simply barren land dominate today’s ‘jhumscapes’ (Toky and Ramakrishnan, 1981; Roy and Joshi, 2002)
Further, the problem has been getting worse through the indiscriminate felling of trees to satisfy the ever-growing hunger of industries surviving on forest products such as paper and pulp, plywood, match stick, etc. There is an urgent need of policy measures to undo the massive losses to the green cover of this region. Unlike other regions of the country administrative control regimes of forest cover in Northeast is different. A large part of the forests in this area fall under the category of open forests with a crown density of 10-40% and only few areas qualify as dense forests i.e. of crown density of 40% or higher. According to 1995 estimates, these states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim accounted for a loss of 791 sq. km forest area in two years viz. from 1993 to 1995 (FSI, 1996).
Administrative classification of the forest cover in Northeast India
Shifting Cultivation (1987-97)
Land Use/Land Cover in Northeast India. (Source: Anon., 2002a)
Land cover (Vegetation Type)
Tropical Evergreen Forest
Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam
Tropical Semi-Evergreen Forest
Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram
Moist Deciduous Forest
Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura
Hollock (Terminalia sp.)
Sal (Shorea robusta) forest
Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura
Teak (Tectona grandis) Plantation
Subtropical Evergreen I
Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya
Subtropical Evergreen II
Sub-Tropical Broad leaved Forest
Broad-leaved Hill Forest
Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya
Mixed Temperate Forest
Wet Temperate Forest
Temperate Coniferous Forest
Sub-alpine and Rhododendron
Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh,
Associated vegetation type
Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura.
Open Bamboo Brakes
Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura
Subalpine and alpine Scrub
Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim
Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim
Orchards (including tea gardens)
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam
Non-forest/Current shifting cultivation/Fallow/Barren/ Alpine Barren/Agriculture/ Settlement/Others
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram, Tripura,Nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur, MeghalyaArunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Manipur
Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Mizoram,Tripura,Nagaland, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalya
Statewise area under forest(sq. km.) in 2001:,
Percentage of forest area to geographical area
Source: state of forest report 2001. Quoted in statistical abstract, India, 2002,
Forest cover in northeast India
A review of the forest cover statistics of northeast India reveals some unexpected and contradictory trends. Data from the Forest Survey show an increase in forest cover of 3,398 square kilometers, an annual rate of 0.5 percent, for northeast India between 1987 and 1991, and a steady reduction in forest cover of 2,443 square kilometers, an annual rate of 0.15 percent, during the 1991-2001 periods. This increase between 1987 and 1991 seems to contradict the general perception of steady forest loss during the last decades (Barik and others 2005; Roy and Joshi 2002).
North East India: Changes in Forest Cover 1987-2001
Annual rate of loss of forest cover due to shifting cultivation in north-east India:
Area affected by shifting cultivation in sq. km per year
Population dependent on shifting cultivation(000)
Source: report of the forest survey of India,2001
Percentage Annual Change in Forest Cover in North East India 1987-2001
:Ministry of Environment and Forest
State-level data provide a clearer indication of the regional trends. The data reveal, for the period 1987-1989, a near 4 percent and over 5 percent increase in forest cover in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim respectively. This seems implausible since natural regeneration processes are typically considerably slower. Equally improbable is the annual growth rate for Tripura, which is recorded at almost 11 percent between 1999 and 2001.The reasons for this sudden expansion in forest cover are unclear, though it is suggested that the data reflect changes in methodology and scale. For instance the 2001 data include all lands with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent, irrespective of land use.
Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.View our services
Thus tea plantations, agro- forestry plantations, and fruit orchards are all defined as forests. In addition, a number of districts previously ignored have been included in the assessments, which probably leads to some increases. Hence the Ministry of Environment and Forests cautions against temporal comparisons as “technique and scale of interpretation were both different” (Ministry of Environment and Forests 2001).
Open and Dense Forest Developments in North East India 1997, 1999 and 2001
THE MAJOR CAUSES OF DEFORESTATION:
Conversion of forest land in agricultural land: Due to the increasing population and subsequent food pressure over limited agricultural land, forest land is been brought under cultivation so that agricultural production may be substantially increased and food may be provided to hungry human population.
Shifting or jhuming cultivation: Shifting cultivation is a major cause of forest lost in north-east India. The loss of forest cover due to shifting cultivation is increasing every year
Overgrazing of forest of moderate cover by animals has resulted into large scale degradation of natural vegetation if not the complete destruction of forest. The deforested areas has been worst affected by grazing animals because no fresh regeneration of plant has been allowed by large herds of grazing animals.
Forest fires: Forest fire whether natural or man made is effective destroyers of forest covers. Atmospheric lightning is the major source of natural forest fires besides man causes forest fire through his intentional/advertent and unintentional actions. Besides destroying vegetations, forest fires harden the ground surface which decreases the porosity of the soils and consequently there is a little infiltration of rain water.
Lumbering: Lumbering for domestic and commercial purposes is the real cause of large scale destruction of forest cover. Ever increasing demand of timber for various purposes due to industrial expansion, urban growth and rapidly increasing human population has done great damage to natural forest covers.
Multipurpose river projects: Multipurpose river projects require larger areas to be submerged for the storage of huge volume of water in the reservoirs constructed behind the dams. Thus, submergence of forested riverine areas completely destroys the natural forest.
Steps taken by the government:
The national forest policy of India, 1998, is now in force. Its formulation has been timely and certainly a marked improvement over the policy of 1952, which emphasized on increasing the area under forest cover to 33% or 1/3rd of the country total geographical area and 60% in the hills of north-east India.
Forest development agency (FDA) is a central agency which provides financial help to the state government for the planting of trees and conservation of forest area.
The government of Assam has of late formulated a forest policy, developing a common approach to manage both environment and biodiversity. The new policy, 2004, which is first of its kind, seems to be a comprehensive thoughtful one fuel, because the policy has considered almost all the major environment concern like flora and fauna, wildlife, soil fertility etc. the policy provides a comprehensive strategy for environmental conservation and improved support system for livelihood for the people living in the fringe areas of forests and thereby seeks to overcome the two major environmental problems- degradation of biodiversity and forest cover.
CONSERVATION STRATEGY of FOREST RESOURCES IN NORTH EAST:
Management of Biosphere Reserves, National Parks, Sanctuaries etc. in the region.
Regulation of Sacred Groves.
Introduction of more programs on Afforestation.
Possible Replacement of areas under Shifting Cultivation by alternative economic activities.
Ecosystem based forest management has to be adopted to maintain ecological balance.
Reforestation in the deforested areas must be regulated to restore the ecological balance.
Plantation of trees and vegetation should be made a compulsory feature in educational institutes, Youth clubs and in communities.
Areas of water-shed should also be managed through afforestation programs.
Alternative Livelihood must be provided for forest dwellers.
Over-exploitation, habitat loss and fragmentation are the three major factors that threaten the biodiversity of this region. Forest is the vital components to sustain the life support system on the earth.Forests are playing an important role in the socio-economic development of a country or region. The role of forest in ecological balance,
Last but not the least, serious efforts will have to be made to protect and conserve forest both at government as well as public level. Due attention should be given to forest management. Some of the useful steps for the conservation of forest are as follows:
A proper ratio between forest cutting and plantation of trees should be maintained.
Actual growth of trees is supervised.
Strict prohibition of the cutting of trees for fuel is imposed.
Protection from forest fire.
Development of Natural Park and sanctuaries.
Social forestry is developed.
Forest survey, be conducted and classification be done accordingly.
Plantation of trees according to local ecological condition.
Long term master plan for forest conservation and development is prepared.
Environmental stability, bio-diversity conservation, food security and sustainable development has been widely recognized at many aspects of conservation strategies. The key role of the forest has been recognized in their ecological, cultural, commercial and aesthetic aspects, yet rapid shrinkage of forest cover is threatening to tilt the ecological balance in the North Eastern Region. A sizeable disappearance of forest cover is causing serious damage to forest ecosystem of the region. The fast dwindling of forest cover is attributed to rampant encroachment and unchecked habitat expansion in the forest land. Encroachment is more aggressive in forest areas located along the inter-state boundary with Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Meghalaya. For the Northeast the CDM funding potential can be maximized if the definition allows for high crown density and height. Appropriate areas can be readily identified through comparative assessments of forest cover changes using the widely available aerial maps of the region. However, in the absence of an agreed definition it is impossible to quantify the financial opportunities that could emerge from the CDM. Further assessments must await government decisions
Man has always had an integral association with nature, and thereby with forest. He has gradually changed the aspect of natural ecosystem into man-made ecosystem. Thus it can be said that man has the power too to control the further degradation of our natural environment if he desires to do the needful action and it would be possible only through the participation of man in respect of the preservation and conservation of various natural resources where, forest resource is one of the vital one. Hence it is worth mentioning that conservation of forest resources in North East India is need of the hour.
Cite This Work
To export a reference to this article please select a referencing stye below:
Related ServicesView all
DMCA / Removal Request
If you are the original writer of this essay and no longer wish to have your work published on UKEssays.com then please: