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Forests as Biodiversity Hotspots
Transcript of Forests as Biodiversity Hotspots
Sometimes, we are overwhelmed by the extent of damage humans have caused, and we are not sure if an individual can make any impact.
Additionally, many governments, organizations and societies are making great strides in helping reducing deforestation, and encouraging forest plantations.
Forests as Biodiversity Hotspots
Minus One Project
Make a conscious effort to share information with others (friends at school and family members) on deforestation and the effects of it.
Join organisations, forest-preservation societies and pressure groups that aim to help preserve the rest of our natural resources. When more people work together, the impact is greater
Reduce the use of artificial items, recycle more and re-use items. Wood, paper, plastics and many other things we use everyday at home can be linked to natural resources being destroyed
What Happened ?
Some 40 years ago an experiment began in Arabari forest range of West Bengal that caught the fancy of the nation. The forest authorities roped in the people living in the area in regenerating degraded forests. In return they offered them a share in forest resources and revenue. It worked. Two decades later the Centre adopted the Arabari model to start the Joint Forest Management programme. The response was such that today it involves 25 million people.
West Bengal promised 25 per cent share in profit from the sale of timber after five years of protection, besides free access to grass. In southern parts of the state where forests were most degraded communities joined hands with the forest department. They volunteered to plant saplings, prune plantations and patrol the forests. It was a win-win proposition. The department got help in regenerating forests and the people got fuel wood, fodder and the hope of income from timber sale.
After nearly two decades of labour they have regenerated 400,000 hectares (ha) of sal forests in the state, according to Atanu Raha, principal chief conservator of forests, West Bengal. Their monetary value is immense. Nearly half of the total forest in the state is thus regenerated and ready to be harvested. Time for economic boom? Turned out participants in the joint forest management (JFM) have received just a few hundred rupees each for a year of labour.
Arabari or Arabari Forest Range in full, is the name of a forest range in West Midnapore district of West Bengal, India contiguous with the Dalma range of East Singhbhum, Jharkhand.
The centre of the range is 30 km from Midnapore town.
The predominant tree of the forest is sal (Shorea robusta). A number of elephants also travel down from the Dalma range into Arabari and often encroach and attack villages in West Midnapore.
The forest can be classified as part of the Upper Gangetic Plains moist deciduous forests. Arabari is notable as being the location of the first Joint Forest Management scheme in Indian started in 1971 by the forest officer, A.K. Banerjee.
The Chipko movement or Chipko Andolan is a movement that practiced the Gandhian methods of satyagraha and non-violent resistance, through the act of hugging trees to protect them from being felled. The modern Chipko movement started in the early 1970s in the Garhwal Himalayas of Uttarakhand, then in Uttar Pradesh with growing awareness towards rapid deforestation.
The struggle soon spread across many parts of the region, and such spontaneous stand-offs between the local community and timber merchants occurred at several locations, with hill women demonstrating their new-found power as non-violent activists. As the movement gathered shape under its leaders, actions inspired hundreds of such actions at the grassroots level throughout the region
Surviving participants of the first all-woman Chipko action at Reni village in 1974 on left jen wadas, reassembled thirty years later.
More Importantly ...
In India forests are home to some traditional communities.Destroying forests destroys the home of these people and other living creatures.
Nature and Wildlife enthusiasts.
The local communities who live on the fringes of the forest depend greatly on the forest for thatch, timber and pasture.
Yet their ways did not damage our forests as they had methods to replenish the forest.
The greatest damage was inflicted on our forests during the colonial period.
Even after independence The Forest Department who took over after independence too ignored the traditional methods.
A large amount of biodiversity in the area when vast tracts of forests where converted into monoculture of teak, eucalyptus e.t.c.
Nature and Wildlife enthusiasts
Nature and forest enthusiasts are no way dependent on forests but they do have a say in the conservation of forests.
At first they were only involved in the conservation of large animals like tiger, rhinoceros e.t.c. .
But after the Eighties they have been involved in the conservation of insects and plants.
Industries consider forests as merely a source of raw material.
Huge interest groups lobby the government for access to raw materials at low rates.
These industrialists have a greater reach than the local people, they are not interested in the sustainability of the forest.