With increasing population, the need for forest products, such as, fuel, timber, bamboo grasses etc. increased dramatically for habitation. Hence deforestation becomes a permanent feature of our normal life. The single largest problem faced by the developing world for dwindling in their forest resources is deforestation.
Causes of Deforestation:
The main cause of the present day crisis is increasing population. Majority of people living in rural areas depend on forest for their firewood for cooking. Plant derivatives such as leaves; saw dust, charcoal etc. play an important role in providing domestic energy.
Timbers, bamboos for thatched houses are main ingredients of rural areas. Bullock-carts and agricultural implements are still largely manufactured out of timber and poles: As our population is increasing in a geometric progression, the pressure of population brings more and more area under cultivable land, the total deforested area may gradually increase.
Another area of utilization of forest products, such as bamboo, is in paper industries. For establishing big industries, refuge settlements, construction of railways, dams, mining etc. we clear up the jungle ruthlessly. The unplanned, unscientific and careless exploitation of forest resources bring immense miseries.
Effects of Deforestation:
Deforestation causes frequent floods. Every year about 30 million people and 10 million hectares are affected and the property lost may run into thousands of corers of rupees. The annual loss of top soil is estimated 6000 million tonnes; its value in terms of money is enormous. Soil erosion also causes siltation of lakes and rivers.
Felling of trees and destruction of forests cause imbalance in forests ecosystem. That reflects in the loss of varieties of flora and fauna. Forest loss is a threat to wildlife survival.
In Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and northeastern States about 50 per cent of family income in tribal areas comes from selling of forest minor products.
Thus, the importance of forest to mankind is unimaginable. We must have good forest to cater to our various needs on a sustainable basis.
The following few points should well deserve to be mentioned.
(i) Forests conserve soil, water and air.
(ii) Forests are rich in medicinal plants.
(iii) They offer biotic check for pests and diseases,
(iv) Forests are rich sources of biodiversity and gene pools.
(v) They serve as sanctuaries for wildlife.
(vi) They prevent frequent floods and droughts.
(vii) They induce rainfall.
(viii) They provide fuel to millions and raw materials to industries.
(ix) They generate employment and income.
The list is endless. So the forests must be maintained properly and conservation approaches are adopted for upkeep of forests.