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Deforestation is a matter of serious concern

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By: Sahil Manzoor

Deforestation refers to the cutting down of different tree species on a large scale and the phenomenon leads to soil erosion, flash floods, risk of high intensity natural calamities, and decrease in the concentration of oxygen (o2) level in the atmosphere as well as an increase in the co2, which causes increase in temperature during summers. In fact forests play a necessary role in balancing natural phenomena. It includes co2 & o2 this very phenomenon is necessary for the survival of life on this earth and there are no second choices.

One has to see the data prepared by the scientific community to measure the severity of damage already done to the forests and the impact it has on our environment. There is no doubt that human race can actually disappear if the conditions for life to thrive are weakened. And forests are a major contributor for survival of human race on this planet.

Forests have been suffering the onslaught of greed for several decades as the smugglers are damaging, destroying the green gold for their personal gains. Similarly, there are numerous so called ‘developmental’ projects that require cutting down of large number of trees and therefore amount to a great loss to the entire human race. The problem is that environmental changes are subtle and cannot be noticed by commoners easily. It is only when situations like flash floods, soil erosions etc happen that people are alarmed and begin thinking about the environment. But the reality is that we are digging our won grave by not paying any heed to the signs that indicate a catastrophe on its way if environment isn’t protected at the earliest.

Forests are the gold like assets for any country and play an immense role in the environmental balance. Government administration or the concerned forest department should come out from their nests and should initiate counseling programmes for the general folks, advertisement should be issued for the awareness of masses.

For last couple of years, I have visited several forest areas in different districts and it is heart wrenching and painful to see that deforestation has taken place at a very large quantum and many patches in certain forests look like deserts.

In India 7, 12,249 Sq. Km of the total geographical area is under the forests and in Jammu & Kashmir 20,230 sq. km of the total geographical area is under forests. PirPanjal forest range in Jammu and Kashmir is rich in different kinds of forest trees and plays a pivotal role in terms of the economy of Jammu and Kashmir and provides shelter to several animal species as well. PirPanjal is a group of mountains in the lesser Himalayan region, running from east-southeast to northwest across the Indian territories of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir and then Pakistan’s Administered Kashmir. The average elevation varies from 1400 m to 4100 m. The Himalaya’s show a gradual elevation towards the Dhauladhar and PirPanjal ranges.

PirPanjal is the largest range of the lesser Himalayas, near the banks of the Sutlej River it dissociates itself from the Himalayas and forms a divide between the Beas and Ravi rivers on one side and the Chenab on the other. The renowned Galyat Mountains are also located in this range. The region is connected to the valley of Kashmir via Mughal road and used to be the historical connection of Kashmir with other states of India.

Since centuries forests have been explored and visited for the recreational activities including summer camps during the scorching heat of the July-August, trekking, mountaineering and also hunting etc (though hunting is banned now). Forests have been a great source for the researchers and students concerned with environment. Deforestation takes place when there is an external involvement that disturbs the forest-curbed areas for the means of smuggling, constructional purposes, urbanization, timber demand for the bridges, buildings, etc. Planting more trees is the best alternative and the authorities must make utmost efforts to ensure that no deforestation takes place.

The writer is pursuing M.Sc. in Environmental Science.  [email protected]

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