After reading this essay you will learn about:- 1. Reasons for Conserving Forests 2. Scope of Conservation of Forests 3. Classification 4. Perspectives 5. Role of Forest Conservation in an Ecosystem 6. India’s Rich Forest Resources 7. Importance 8. Latest Environmental Afflictions and the Significance 9. Deforestation and the Hydrologic Cycle.
- Essay on the Reasons for Conserving Forests
- Essay on the Scope of Conservation of Forests
- Essay on Classification of Forests
- Essay on the Perspectives in Forest Conservation
- Essay on the Role of Forest Conservation in an Ecosystem
- Essay on India’s Rich Forest Resources
- Essay on the Importance of Forests
- Essay on Latest Environmental Afflictions and the Significance
- Essay on Deforestation and the Hydrologic Cycle
Essay # 1. Reasons for Conserving Forests:
There are three major reasons for the conservation of the forests.
1. A dense forest is like an umbrella. It is the home for many of the members of the flora and fauna.
2. The trees provide shade and prevent the soil from drying up, thereby maintaining the moisture content of the soil.
3. Forests lower the temperature and reduce sunlight.
Essay # 2. Scope of Conservation of Forests:
Conservation is a term that is used to define any care and management effort that is taken towards protecting Nature. Conservation does not mean non-usage of the resources. Contrary to this, conservation means using the resources in an efficient and optimum manner, so that the resources are safeguarded for the future generations.
The scope of conservation of forests has two major areas of action:
1. Prevention of deforestation consists of three areas:
(1) Controlling unregulated expansion of agriculture and cattle ranching at the expense of natural forests.
(2) Controlling unregulated grazing.
(3) Controlling unregulated fuel wood collection and timber harvesting.
2. Extension of forest resources can be carried out in the following ways:
(1) Soil conservation techniques can be followed.
(2) Trees can be grown on the outskirts and in the farm lands.
(3) Fallow lands can be used for growing trees.
To protect the forests and to safeguard the flora and the fauna of the forests, the Government of India has enacted a legislation called the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.
Besides the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the Central Government has been empowered since 1976 to take action against deforestation. But it was regularized only in the year 1980 after the passing of the Forests Conservation Act, 1980.
The Act provided that the reserve forests shall not be diverted for commercial purposes. The Act introduced the schemes for protection of forests from biotic interference. The said Act was amended in the year 1988 to be abreast of the changes in the economy. However, the amended act was dubbed ‘pro- industrial’, as the act ceased to materialize, being constantly under the pressure from the corporate sector.
The Unique Bio-diversity of India:
The Indian region is one of the most diverse biogeographic regions of the world, embracing a wide range of topography from perpetually snow covered high Himalayan ranges to plains at sea- level, low lying swamps and mangroves, inland systems, tropical evergreen rain forests, fertile alluvial plains, hot deserts and high altitude cold deserts. There are almost rainless areas, and the world’s highest rainfall areas.
The climate ranges from tropical and sub-tropical in Indo-Gangetic plains and peninsular regions to temperate and arctic in the Himalayan region. The habitat types vary from the humid tropical Western Ghats to the hot deserts of Rajasthan, from cold deserts of Ladakh to the long, warm coast line stretches, peninsular India.
A great variety of climatic and altitudinal variations coupled with varied ecological habitats have contributed immensely to the rich vegetational wealth and varied flora and fauna generating thus a very unique biodiversity.
Forest Cover in India:
The forest cover of the country, as per the present assessment, is 63.73 million ha. constituting 19.39% of the geographic area, out of which 37.74 million ha (11.48% ) is dense forest, 25.50 million ha (7.76%) open forest and 0.49 million ha (0.15%) mangroves.
Madhya Pradesh accounts for the largest forest cover of the country, i.e., 20.68% followed by Arunachal Pradesh (10.80%), Orissa (7.38%), Maharashtra (7.32%) and Andhra Pradesh (6.94%) The seven North- Eastern states together comprise 25.70% of the total forest cover.
The total recorded forest area of the country as reported by the State/Union Territory (UT) forest departments is 76.52 million ha. The forest cover as per the last assessment of the FSI (SFR, 1999) however, was 63.34 million ha. In most of the states, the forest cover is less than the recorded forest area.
However, in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and the union territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, the forest cover is more than the recorded forest area.
Essay # 3. Classification of Forests:
The forests of the world can be classified into three major divisions:
1. Boreal Coniferous Forests:
They are located around the Arctic Sea in the North. They extend from 55 degrees to 65 degrees latitude.
2. Forests of the Temperate Belt:
They are located in the region between 30 degrees to 55 degrees latitude on either side of the earth.
3. Tropical Rain Forests and Seasonal Forests:
India comes under this category. They are placed between 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south. The classification of forests in India vary widely due to its varied and highly differing topography. India has a diverse range of forests: from the rainforest of Kerala in the south to the alpine pastures of Ladakh in the north, from the deserts of Rajasthan in the west to the evergreen forests in the north-east.
Climate, soil type, topography, and elevation are the main factors that determine the type of forest. Forests are classified according to their nature and composition, the type of climate in which they thrive and its relationship with the surrounding environment. Forests can be divided into six broad types, with a number of sub types.
Essay # 4. Perspectives in Forest Conservation:
There are various perspectives in forest conservation both in India and in the world at large. These perspectives include both the ancient and the modern outlook towards forest conservation.
1. The Perspective of the Industrial Nations:
From the stand point of the industrial nations, the world’s most serious environmental problems are mainly the anticipated effects of global warming and the ozone layer depletion. They give lesser weightage to forest conservation as they already have a very good system in place for taking care of their forests.
2. The Indian perspective:
This includes both the ancient and the modem approach towards forest conservation:
(i) The Ancient Approach:
During the Vedic times, it was evident that the forests were the habitats of the people and that they took care not to destroy their homes, which eventually led to forest- friendly approach.
This protected the forests from hapless destruction. The hallmark of those times was that both the rulers and the people understood the significance of the forests and preserved them. Their approach was that of love and affection towards the forests and its inhabitants.
(ii) The Modern Approach:
Today, in India, the perceived environmental problems cannot be separated from their social contexts. They tend to be associated more with forest cover and their replacement, biodiversity loss, the contamination of the rivers and natural resource depletion. While the industrial nations look at global environment problems, the basic environmental hazards for India still come within its own boundary.
Essay # 5. Role of Forest Conservation in an Ecosystem:
An ecosystem is defined as the functional study unit of Nature, since it includes both biotic and abiotic components. An ecosystem is capable of self-maintenance, provided no extraneous elements are found to play in this system.
Moreover, there is an increasing demand from the masses. Forests are an important part of the ecosystem and a great source for fulfilling the demands of the people. Hence, a balance has to be struck between the growth of the economy and the maintenance of the forests.
It is of great importance to comprehend the two-fold functions of the forests, viz.:
(i) Long-term ecological security, and
(ii) Production of goods and services for the benefit of the mankind.
The first one is called the conservational forestry and the next one is called the exploitative forestry. This makes it conspicuous that there is a great dependence on the forests for various needs and it is imperative that they are conserved, not only for the future use of mankind, but also for the present eco-balance that forest conservation guarantees.
The Present Scenario:
The present scenario of forests in India is not a very encouraging one. It is very well known that there is a high scope for illegally denuding the forests of its possessions, thanks to the inordinate callousness shown by the Indian officials and politicians in this regard. This has, no doubt, endangered many a species of plants and animals. The Indian officialdom is yet to apprehend the gravity of the situation.
The Forest Cover in India:
Table reveals the forest cover in India as in 1999.
It is evident from the above table that the forest cover in India is very meagre when compared to the land area that is accorded to non-forest uses. The table also reveals that the superiority of dense forests over other types of forests, while the lowest area of land is occupied by the mangroves (0.15% of the total land area).
Land Use Patterns:
In the area of land use pattern, India has given a very insignificant weight- age to forests, as is evident from the following table. Table 2 expostulates the land use pattern in India.
Table 2 elucidates the poor condition of the forest department for maintaining 33% of the land area as forests. But, to our dismay, we find that only 22.55% of the land area is allocated for forests, while the net sown area (agriculture) occupies a large area of 142.82 million hectares (46.84% of the total reported land area).
Per Capita Forest Area:
Per Capita Forest Area refers to the availability of forests (in hectares) for each person. It is arrived at by dividing the total forest area of the region by the population of the region, i.e.,
This is shown in Table 3, which briefs us on the per capita forest land in two developed nations and two developing nations for two different periods of time, viz., 1987 and 1995. Of the nations under consideration, it is India which portrays a dismal picture, during both the periods of study.
The above table makes it evident that though USA and Japan boast themselves as industrially developed nations, the attention given by them to forest conservation is worth noting, while India paints a very discouraging picture, when compared even with Nepal.
This brings to light the need for and effective forestry programme. This meagre per capita forest land also throws light on need to confine our population at an optimum level and simultaneously increasing our forest cover.
The Health of the Forest Sector in India:
After analyzing the three areas relating to the forest sector in India, viz., the forest cover in India, the per capita forest cover and the land use pattern, it is no exaggeration to say that the health of the forest sector of the nation is very poor, with very little room for recuperation, provided the same attitude prevails among the officials and the people at large.
According to the land utilization statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, the area under cultivation and the area under forests have increased for some time during the plan periods, but other non-governmental data reveal that the area under forests have actually declined significantly over the years.
So, will an institution established exclusively for this purpose guarantee a more speedier and efficient functioning of the forest sector in India. But, this view is considered to be ineffective, as mere establishment of institutions will not guarantee that the localized natural resources will be managed in a sustainable manner. Ultimately, the answer lies in the participation of the local people.
The Benevolent Role of Forests:
The role of forests in any ecosystem is of great importance and it is highly significant for human civilization to compare and the gravity of situation. In India, which was once a paradise for all nature lovers, has turned deaf to the calls and place of nature to understand the importance of forests to human civilization and the fauna and flora of the country.
Essay # 6. India’s Rich Forest Resources:
The forests of India are unique, in the sense that the types of forests found in the various regions of the country, vary widely, thus forming a conglomeration of forest types within the nation. There are various varieties of trees, from sal to pine and from neem to teak.
In the area of proving habitat to the fauna and the flora, India has a covetable position among the nations of the world. McNeely et al. (1990) estimated that 70% of the world’s total flowering plants occur in 12 countries and these have been designated as the Mega-diversity centres or Mega-diversity countries.
India is one of the 12 mega-diversity countries. With only 2.4% of the global land area, India possesses more than 45,500 plant species, representing about 11% of the world’s biota. This is only a rough estimation, since many of the organisms, especially in lower groups like-bacteria, fungi, algae, lichens, bryophytes, etc. have yet to be described and many remote geographical areas have to be adequately surveyed.
In terms of plant diversity, India ranks 10th in the world and 4th in Asia. Nearly 32% of India’s bio-wealth is constituted by fungi (18H23%) and angiosperms (13H50%). It is estimated that over 45,500 species of plant species are accounted for in India which represent more than 10% of the known plant species of the world.
The flowering plants of India comprise about 17,500 species, which represent more than 6% of the world’s known flowering plants. About 315 families of higher plant groups (of about 500 now- recognized ) and more than 4000 genera of flowering plants are known to occur in India in different ecosystems from the humid tropics of Western Ghats to the alpine zones of the Himalayas and from mangroves of tidal Sundarbans to the dry desert of Rajasthan.
A significant feature of the Indian flora is the present of species from surrounding countries like – Malaya, Tibet, China, Japan, Europe, Africa, etc., and even from far widely separated countries like – U.S.A. and Australia. India possesses little more than 7 per cent of the total animal species of the world. This percentage is higher than that of the plant species.
Forest Resources in the States of India—a Comparison:
There are many differences between the states of India and it is possible to expect that all the states have the same area of forests or for that matter the same type of forests. The following table illustrates the forest cover in the four states from the year 1989 to 1997.
The basis of selection of the states has been done with regard to the position of the states in the nation, i.e., one state each from the eastern, northern, western and southern parts of the nation. Table 4 shows that of the four states, the forest cover has declined in the states of Assam and Jammu & Kashmir, while the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu were found to possess .; more forest cover the year.
But when compared to the other States, Tamil Nadu was found to have the least forest cover area during the whole period of study. Except for the state of Assam, the remaining states are of almost equal area, which makes it imperative to point out that in spite of this similarity, Tamil Nadu is yet to rise up to that level.
Essay # 7. Importance of Forests:
Forests play a very important role in the balance of the ecology and they also help in various other areas of bio-diversity. It is this context that it is deemed to be necessary to know and understand the benevolent role of forests to mankind.
The benevolent role of the forests can be summarized in the following points:
(i) Forests provide the largest canopy for innumerable species of the fauna and flora, not to forget that many groups of humans also live under the secure protection of the forests.
(ii) Forests are the sources of various rare and useful medicinal plants that are used in various purposes of human needs.
(iii) Forests are the only source of wood, with their highly varied and multifarious growth of trees.
(iv) Forests shape the environment by controlling the temperature, humidity, etc.
(v) Forests shape the soil of the place by affecting the soil’s composition, structure, etc.
(vi) Forests exercise their control over floods and prevent excessive flooding of regions.
(vii) Forests provide the workstation for millions of rural people, and
(viii) Forests help in public health by making people consider the evil effects of deforestation and also the use of chemical components for agriculture.
Essay # 8. Latest Environmental Afflictions and the Significance of Forests:
Forests and Greenhouse Effect:
(i) The burning-up of fossil fuels releases a lot of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. This CO2 acts as a one-way shield, which allows the sunlight to pass through it and is reflected by the surface of the earth back to the atmosphere. This is the Greenhouse Effect.
(ii) The CO2 shield does not allow this reflected light to escape and, thereby, warms up the atmosphere, leading to an increase in the global temperature.
(iii) This increase in temperature may cause the melting of the polar ice-caps, leading to a rise in the ocean levels, which can be catastrophic.
(iv) Forests and trees can greatly reduce this danger. As all of us know, trees absorb CO2from the atmosphere during the day time, use it for photosynthesis and give out oxygen. If the number of trees and forests increase, the CO2 levels will come down. Thus the Greenhouse Effect can be mitigated.
Essay # 9. Deforestation and the Hydrologic Cycle:
(i) Tropical deforestation also affects the local climate of an area by reducing the evaporative cooling that takes place from both soil and plant life.
(ii) As trees and plants are cleared away, the moist canopy of the tropical rain forest quickly diminishes.
(iii) Recent research suggests that about half of the precipitation that falls in a tropical rain forest is the result of its moist, green canopy.
(iv) Evaporation and evapotranspiration processes from the trees and plants return large quantities of water to the local atmosphere, promoting the formation of clouds and precipitation.
(v) Less evaporation means that more of the Sun’s energy is able to warm the surface and, consequently, the air above, leading to a rise in temperatures.
Thus, forests have a pivotal role to play in the ecological balance of a region.