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West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
the much-awaited State of Forest Report 1995 , brought out recently by the Forest Survey of India ( fsi ), puts the total forest cover in India at 639,600 sq km, which is 19.45 per cent of the total land area -- 507 sq km less than the 1993 figure. According to environment watchers, this fifth assessment of forests -- while recording a few disturbing trends -- leaves a few loopholes.
The depletion is concentrated in the north-eastern states -- a total loss of 783 sq km from a regional forest cover of 165,142 sq km noted in the fourth assessment (1993). No north-eastern state has had an increase in forest cover; Assam has lost a record 447 sq km.
Fifty-three per cent of the total inventorised forest area is affected by fire, 78 per cent by grazing and there is no regeneration in 74 per cent.
What could offset to some extent the huge losses in the north-eastern states as well as Madhya Pradesh (232 sq km loss) and Andhra Pradesh (144 sq km loss), was an apparantly healthy picture in Gujarat (276 sq km increase) and Rajastan (181 sq km increase).
fsi cites shifting ( jhum ) cultivation as a major reason for the forest loss in north-east; Assam, for instance, has lost 224 sq km of forests due to it. Commentators and environmentalists are, however, skeptical about the fsi 's reasoning. Environmentalist Ashish Kothari notes that the previous assessments had showed a decline in the area covered by jhum . The ministry of environment and forests ( mef ) contends that the north-east does not represent a major shift. But in the previous report, the erstwhile fsi director Jagir Singh had noted: "The state of forests in the north-east has become a matter of concern."
The increase in forest cover in Gujarat and Rajasthan have been explained curiously. As for the former, the fsi has an interesting theory: 297 sq km of non-forest area mainly in the Rann of Kutch and Bhavnagar has regenerated with mangrove vegetation. Kothari points out that this kind of regeneration withing two years is improbable, "unless there has been a massive plantation". In Rajastan, the gain has been attributed to "the appearance of young plantations". Says conservationist Valmik Thapar: "The forest department has planted Prosopis juliflora in large tracts of degraded forests in the Aravalli hills in Gujarat and Rajasthan. It is an environmental crime." P juliflora is an exotic tree species that spreads uncontrollably. It is likely that such plantations are being shown as forests.
In Andhra Pradesh, despite the huge losses, 315 sq km of non-forest scrublands have been converted into forests. The fsi maintains the characteristic silence, except with regard to 14 spots where inventories have been done on the status of forest plantations. Says an mef official, "Yes, we could not give the break-up of forests. It requires much more work." Clubbing plantations and natural forests makes a mockery of statistics, according to former mef official N D Jayal. Says Jayal: "Minus the plantations, the forest cover would become much less. Nobody seems to know how much real forests are left." Plantation forests do not fall within the classical definition of forests; nor do they cater to the livelihood needs of forest-dependant communities.
Media commentator Praful Bidwai notes that of late, fireguards have been withdrawn and several forest departments have stopped managing degraded forests. fsi estimations often border upon the incredible. According to it, in Jammu, over 90 per cent of the forests face grazing problems. But in Upper Subasari (Arunachal), where incidents of fire are lowest and grazing is almost nil, the regeneration rate is just two per cent. Environmentalsits are, naturally, baffled by these data.