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Indian Geography / Natural Vegetation

Threats to Forests in India

    Deforestation, heavy exploitation of forest resources, barren quality of forests, construction of roads and projects inside the forests, etc. are some of the threats to forests in India.

    Dangers to Forests

    • Deforestation - Deforestation is nothing but cutting the forests for some other purpose. Huge amounts of forests are cut down every year by the state governments for agriculture, settlements, constructing multipurpose projects, etc. Some contractors even do illegal deforestation for monetary benefits. As a result of deforestation, the quality of soil also gets degraded because of soil erosion which in turn cannot sustain forests further.
    • Barren Quality - Nearly half of the forests in India are there only for the namesake. Only the remaining half of the forests have green cover. If we remove the barren forests from the list of forests, the ratio of forests to lands in India will be around 11%, which is far short of the current estimate. So, it is important to grow forests in order to increase the ratio further.
    • Construction of Multipurpose Projects - Forests are being cleared by the State Governments for constructing multipurpose projects and their associated canals. To support these projects, additional infrastructure is provided like constructing roads, buildings, etc. Similarly, roads are constructed for transportation facilities which in turn leads to fragmentation of forests.
    • Cutting Trees for Firewood and Overgrazing - Many people in India still use firewood for cooking purpose which leads to deforestation of forest areas. Similarly, overgrazing by cattle leads to deforestation.
    • Overexploitation by Forest Contractors - Generally unprincipled contractors cut more number of trees than that are actually marked. This decreases the regenerative capacity of forests leading to deforestation.
    • Jhumming or Shifting Cultivation - The tribal people generally practice shifting cultivation where agricultural crops are grown for one or two years after clearing the forest areas and when the fertility of the soil gets exhausted, they move to newer forest areas. Similarly, in order to earn livelihood, tribal people exploit the forest wealth.
    • Forest Fires - Forest fires that happen either due to natural or man-made causes destroy forests and hence cause deforestation.