Indian Geography / Natural Vegetation
Threats to Forests in India
Some of the threats to forests in India include deforestation, overexploitation of forest resources, barren quality of forests,
construction of roads and projects inside the forests, forest fires, etc.
Forest Problems in India
One of the major challenges faced by forest ecosystem is deforestation. Deforestation is nothing but cutting the forests for some
other purpose other than for forest use.
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.
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 lead 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
Overexploitation of Forest Resources by Contractors
Generally unprincipled contractors cut more number of trees than that are actually marked. This decreases the regenerative capacity of forests leading to
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.
Though forest fires are not major threats to forests in India but they are a common phenomenon the world over. Forest fires that happen either due to natural
or man-made causes destroy the forests and hence cause deforestation.