Forests and Wildlife

Introduction

Forests are the biodiversity hotspots helping in preserving the rich heritage of nature including birds, flora, fauna and many other resources. Biodiversity refers to the presence of a diverse variety of plants, microorganisms, and animals (bacteria, fungi, ferns, flowering plants, nematodes, insects, birds, reptiles and so on) in a specified geographic area. This, in turn, help the forest ecosystem to gain equilibrium.  Damage to the ecosystem`s biodiversity results in the loss of ecological stability. Hence, it is the duty of every individual and government to preserve these hotspots.

Tree exposed to sunlight

 

Table Of Content

1. Introduction

2. Sustainable forest management strategies

3. People’s Participation in the Management of Forests

    3.1 Stakeholders of forest and wildlife conservation

    3.2 The local people and their role in forest management

    3.3 The Forest Department and their influence on the diversity of  plant life

    3.4 Industries and their influence on forest destruction

    3.5 Role of nature lovers in forest management

 

Sustainable forest management strategies

Sustainable forest management is a practice in which we all have to adapt a conservative way of the forests. This will help to maintain their environmental, social and economic values and benefits sustainably for our future generations. The strategic operations and agenda of forest management must aim at long-term benefits. Many individuals, groups, and local communities have been working for the conservation of forests and other natural sources. You might have heard of the dedication from Saalu marada Thimmakka who planted thousands of trees. She was well known as an environmental enthusiast to save roadside trees. Magsaysay Award recipient Sunderlal Bahuguna who gave momentum to the Chipko Andolan also played a major role in preserving our rich heritage of forests. The Andolan was started in Reni in Garhwal by women residents of the village who tried to stop the commercial wood contractors from cutting the trees by hugging the trunk of the trees. The campaign has gained the attention of the government substantially. Forest management strategy is the group effort, and some of the common strategies to save forest areas noted below.

  1. Applying the principle of 3Rs, reduce, reuse, and recycle while managing the wastes.

  2. Use of renewable resources such as clothes, and paper wisely. Because excessive use of these sources mounts a high pressure on the trees.

  3. Policy parameters from the government must be stringent so that if someone cuts the tree they must be seriously punished.

  4. All the office furniture, stationery, and other reusable materials must be wisely borrowed, shared and donated, for example, books, papers, files, etc.

  5. A strict self-discipline of planting a tree in the neighbourhood is definitely helpful to grow the rich heritage of greenery.

  6. Teaching school kids about the importance of natural sources through awareness camps by visiting the forest.

  7. Natural fire by friction of dry trees is another issue, forest department must take care of the issue.

  8. We all must encourage silviculture. In this method, trees are grown and cultivated on a large scale.

  9. Red Data Book has to be developed: It is a document for recording the list of the endangered and rare species of animals, plants and some indigenous species also.

 

People’s Participation in the Management of Forests

The acceptance of locals who live in harmony with natural resources is vital for the conservation of forests. In 1972, the West Bengal forest department found that they have failed in maintaining the degraded Sal forests. Surveillance and policing had led to the complete alienation of the people which led to clashes between forest officials and villagers. So, to overcome this, the department was forced to change the strategy. Forest officer A.K. Banerjee involved villagers in the protection of 1272 hectares of badly degraded Sal forests in Arabari forest range of Midnapore district. In return he allowed villagers to collect fuel-wood and fodder on payment of a nominal fee.  Also, 25% of the final harvest was given to the village community.

 

1. Stakeholders of forest and wildlife conservation

  1. People who live nearby the close vicinity of the forest and who are dependent on forest produce for livelihood.

  2. The forest department of the respective Government which owns and controls all the resources from forests.

  3. Industrialists who use various forest produce for their business, but are not dependent on the forests in any one area.

  4. Wildlife and nature enthusiasts who want to conserve nature in its pristine form.

 

2. The local people and their role in forest management

The local people need construction material for houses, wood for fire and bamboo for various purposes. On the other side, they use a lot of medicinal plants, fruits, honey, and cattle for their daily needs which would put a lot of pressure on the natural sources. There may be a chance of exhaustion of these resources if the government fail to form a regulated legal framework against exploitation. However local culture and their sentiment are still helping to preserve some sources in the forest. For example, the Bishnoi community living in Rajasthan, for whom conservation of forest and wildlife has been a religious practice.  But many times people can revolt against the government and they might fight each other for resources which need to be taken care of by the government.

 

3. The Forest Department and their influence on the diversity of plant life

The Forest Department has a huge role to play in preserving forests. Unfortunately, they alone cannot stop exploitation as many industries and jobs deepens upon our forest-based products. Industrial purpose material such as woods of pine, teak or eucalyptus has been under a lot of pressure. Even though many new plants are being planted to escape the extinction of these plants, this has resulted in a dominant monoculture that destroyed the biodiversity. Hence it is the duty of the concerned authorities to conduct awareness campaigns that help in changing the attitude of people. 

 

4. Industries and their influence on forest destruction

Some of the industrial owners are lobbying the governments to misuse the forest resources. Industries such as papers, clothes, bags, shipyard companies, and some construction industries are actively involved in exploiting the forest sources to supply the raw materials to their factories. Although it is mandatory to cut trees for these industries, the owners must be given a responsibility to grow them on the other end.

 

5. Role of nature lovers in forest management

Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts are not depending on the forests, but who may have considerable say in their management. They work hand in hand with local people and governments to report the actual scenario and also to run awareness campaigns related to the effects of deforestation and other harmful activities.

 



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