The Forests

Forests are considered to be an important source in the growth of the economic, social, and environmental welfare of a country. In a developing country like India, their function is even more prominent because our country is primarily agricultural. The forests guard and enrich the layers of the soil by reducing the soil erosion and nutrient loss and by enriching nutrient recycling and microbial actions. They guard the water system and control the flow of rivers, thus making the availability of water for agriculture purposes. Forests are a unique storehouse of plants and animals. Their input into the country's biological diversity is very important. The biological diversity acts as an assurance against any crisis in the production of food. We get nearly 40 percent of the energy needs from the forests. Most of the people of India are largely dependent on forests for their livelihood.

The forests of India are rich and protect a wide range of fauna. The fact that they have existed for a very long time is proved from the ancient texts all of which have mentioned that the people regard forests sacred as the great number of religious ceremonies are based on trees and plants.

Even today, in some parts of India the sacred groves can be found and are worshipped. The view of Indian forests ranges from evergreen tropical rain forests in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the Western Ghats, and the north-eastern states, to dry up alpine scrub high in the Himalayas. Between the two boundaries, the country has semi-evergreen rain forests, deciduous monsoon forests, thorn forests, subtropical pine forests in the lesser mountain zone, and temperate mountain forests.

Forests also provide fodder and goods which are essential for the rural and tribal economy of India. Where wood is the main forest product, resins, gums, lac and khus are a few of the minor forest products used extensively. The forests provide homes to more than half of all species living on land. It also helps to slow global warming by storing carbon.

They help to control the local and regional rainfall. They are important sources of food, medicine, clean drinking water, and immense recreational and spiritual benefits for millions of people. Forests play a decisive role in influencing the Earth's climate.

However, in many parts of the world, forests are being quickly cleared for agriculture or pasture, for mines, and for other purposes. When forests are cleared, their stored carbon is released back to the atmosphere during yield through respiration, thus these forests are web contributors of carbon to the atmosphere.

Inspite of all the above-mentioned benefits, roughly half of our country's forests have been ruined. Many innovative reforms are being introduced to improve the productivity, to reduce rural poverty, and to increase government revenues.

Internationally, Governments of many countries are giving more importance to forest communities in order to manage forest resources. This has raised communities' income and has improved forests.