Monday, 30th October 2017

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Threat to forests in focus at meet in Ranchi

Convergence of funding and work done by various agencies may help achieve the aim

By Achintya Ganguly in Ranchi
  • Published 21.09.19, 3:14 AM
  • Updated 21.09.19, 3:14 AM
  • a min read
Siddhanta Das, the country’s director-general of forests, addresses the meeting in Ranchi, on Friday. Picture by Manob Chowdhary

India’s forest cover is the subject of intense discussion at a two-day eastern regional meeting that began at the Palash auditorium of the state forest department here on Friday.

Senior forest officials from eastern Indian states and researchers are participating in the meeting, which aims to discuss regeneration of associated species in sal forests for augmentation of ecosystem services, climate change resilience, and wildlife management.

Around 100 senior forest officials including principal chief conservators of forests of Bihar, Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh are attending the meeting that is particularly focused on sal forests as that is the major forest type extending over half of the total forest cover of these states.

Now sal shoots do not always come from healthy root stock and show signs of reduced vigour and disease susceptibility which coupled with climate change and incidence of forest fires have increased the threat to the forests, the meeting was told.

“The forests that were initially thought to be inexhaustible suppliers of timber are actually expected to recharge groundwater level, help make rivers and other water bodies perennial, and also accommodate wildlife,” said Siddhanta Das the country’s director-general of forests, adding that the ecosystem had now been affected.

Climate change has started taking its toll and it's high time a proper management system is developed for promoting growth of forests, he cautioned.

“Jal-van-jan (water, forests and people dependent on forests) are closely knit elements of the forest ecosystem which needs to be protected and promoted,” said Saibal Dasgupta, additional director-general of forests.

Convergence of funding and work done by various agencies may help achieve the aim, Dasgupta said.

“Even the quality of water available in forest areas matters a lot,” Sanjay

Kumar, Jharkhand’s principal chief conservators of forests, said while welcoming the guests.

He cited the example of Porhat forest of the state where aquatic fauna had flourished when the water was soft and now forest dwellers have to burn more fuel wood for cooking when the water has turned hard.

“The forest department works under tremendous pressure from various authorities that want quick implementation of projects and also addressing environmental concerns at the same time but it has limited capacity to do so,” said I.S. Chauturvedi, Jharkhand’s additional chief secretary, forests.

Four technical sessions have also been planned for discussing related issues during the meeting.