Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Protected Areas: Government Effort In India To Conserve Its Forest

Forests need conservation, which is a large responsibility. Various Government agencies carry out this work. Here we see some of these institutions and learn more about the forests of India.

Forests of India

In India, there are 16 major forest types and a further 221 minor subtypes1. Other than those on the islands of Andaman and Nicobar, the main chunk of Indian forests occur in Western Ghats in South India, greater Assam region in the North Eastern India and Orissa in Northern India. The nodal agency for coordinating, promoting, overseeing and planning of programmes and policies regarding forests and environment is Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)3.

Protected areas in India

Protected areas in India include the following areas:
a)    Biosphere reserves
b)    Animal sanctuaries
c)    Conservation and community reserves
d)    Reserved and protected forests
e)    Private protected areas
f)     Village and panchayat forests
g)    Conservation areas
h)   National parks

Regarding National Parks
India has over 120 National Parks. They cover an area of 39,876 square kilometers. First among these, today called Jim Corbett National Park came into existence in 19352. Reserved and protected forests could fall between IV to VI categories depending on the level of protection that exists. In reserved forests, grazing, hunting or logging activities require permission, without which they cannot enter the land.

Important trees and research institutes
Main trees having commercial viability include Malabar Kino Pterocarpus marsupium, Terminalia crenulata, and Indian rosewood among others. Forest resources undertake surveys and assessments by the Forest Survey of India (FSI)3. They give real time information regarding forest fires, forest inventories, mapping and training and access Geo portal they can interact with regularly. Institute of Wood Science and Technology conducts training programmes in forestry research and wood sciences. They have extensive timber plants for preservation and seasoning, machinery for processing wood, modern laboratories, clonal propagation mist chamber, insect museum and Xylarium.  Students and interested entrepreneurs enroll in courses under categories such as Wood Protection, Important Timbers – Field Identification and Phytochemical Analysis involving Instrumental Techniques.

History of conservation
Scientific forest management bodies undertook massive afforestation programmes between 1926 and 1947 in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. In 1952, the Forest Policy aimed at bringing one-third of the land area under forests. The main focus of afforestation lies in these main objectives:
a)    Preserving biodiversity
b)    Conserving forest resources
c)    Preventing soil erosion
d)    Increasing economic viability of forests
e)    Identifying areas where afforestation has maximum impact
Forests help by fixing the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This decreases the greenhouse effect vastly. They bind the soil especially along the coasts of seas and rivers. This length of coastline is 7517 km5. Length of all major rivers sum up to 12,763 km4.

India is the land of the tiger. It has many species of birds and animals that are unique to the area. So also with trees and the plants that now lie within the focus of the Governmental agencies that seek to implement the policies through most economic means. 


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