After the World War II, the concern about environment, natural resources and biodiversity took almost two or three decades to emerge, from the minds and writings of scientists, as a public concern. In a democratic society once the public is motivated it does not take much time to translate the general concern into effective action.
Many governments all over the world have now in acted laws to stop reckless over exploitation of natural resources and degeneration of biodiversity These measures are not yet adequate as the situation appears to demand. Moreover in man; localities though the conservation laws have been brought into force they are enforced only half heartedly.
About 1.8 million hectares of the forests of all tropical Asia have already been set aside as nationally protected parks and nature reserves. However, this area, which amounts to about 6% of the Tropical Asia’s forests, is not sufficient to ensure the preservation of the unique germ plasm and wild life resources which occur in the region.
At the same time, another 50 million hectares of deforested land lies useless in tropical Asia in urgent need of rehabilitation. This land if intensively utilized can provide plenty of resources to the people of the area. This will not only relieve the the pressure from natural forests but the area allocated to the wild life can also be expanded.
Raising political awareness and mobilizing support for conservation of natural habitats (forests and wild life shall achieve little unless and until the fundamental policy needed to ensure the conservation is well defined. People may be prepared to act but they should know what to do. The more important needs for immediate future are:
1. A strong political commitment to land reforms, and redistribution policy, particularly in areas adjacent to the threatened habitats. This will encourage shift to more sustainable agriculture and relieve pressure of demand from natural ecosystems. ‘ ^
2. A strong commitment by agricultural sector to the diversion of resources to the development of intensive agriculture in buffer zones around threatened forest land and rehabilitation of degraded water shed.
3. A strong commitment for curbing logging operations, fuel wood collection and providing alternatives by planting fast growing species on degraded land-scape. This can be done by imposing higher taxes on timber export which will in turn encourage the use of alternative materials.