Vanishing green

Published: Friday 15 May 1998

a new report by the World Watch Institute, a Washington-based research organisation, suggests that deforestation in the Ganga Valley has been causing floods and damaging us $1 billion worth of property annually, in recent years. Over the last 30 years, half the forests have been lost, especially in developing countries like India and China, which feed half the demand for paper and wood products.

In India, much of the forest wealth has been lost due to malpractices in management by the government, which took control of the forests a century ago. The report, "Taking a Stand: Cultivating a Relationship With the World's Forests", adds that in India half the trees are cut for fuelwood and for industrial applications like brick making and tobacco-curing. There has also been a growing demand for wood panels, including plywood and particle board.

Deforestation causes dramatic climatic changes, erosion and floods. Habitat and watershed protection create a ripple effect on the environment and food production and supply management.

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