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Deforestation, clearance or clearing is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter
converted to a non-forest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches,
or urban use.
More than half of the animal and plant species in the world live in tropical forests.
The term deforestation is often misused to describe any activity where all trees in an area are removed. However
in temperate climates, theremoval of all trees in an areain
conformance with sustainable forestry practices—is correctly described
as regeneration harvest. In temperate mesic climates, natural regeneration
of forest stands often will not occur in the absence of disturbance, whether
natural or anthropogenic. Furthermore, biodiversity after regeneration
harvest often mimics that found after natural disturbance, including
biodiversity loss after naturally occurring rainforest destruction.
Deforestation occurs for many reasons: trees are cut down to be used or sold
as fuel (sometimes in the form of charcoal) or timber, while cleared land is
used as pasture for livestock, plantations of commodities and settlements. The removal of trees without
sufficient reforestation has resulted in damage to habitat, biodiversity loss and aridity. It has adverse
impacts on biosequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Deforestation has also been used in war to
deprive an enemy of cover for its forces and also vital resources. A modern example of this was the use
of Agent Orange by the United States military in Vietnam during the Vietnam War. Deforested regions
typically incur significant adverse soil erosion and frequently degrade into wasteland.
Disregard or ignorance of intrinsic value, lack of ascribed value, lax forest management and deficient
environmental laws are some of the factors that allow deforestation to occur on a large scale. In many
countries, deforestation, both naturally occurring and human induced, is an ongoing issue. Deforestation
causes extinction, changes to climatic conditions, desertification, and displacement of populations as
observed by current conditions and in the past through the fossil record.
Among countries with a per capita GDP of at least US$4,600, net deforestation rates have ceased to increase
Looking at the importance of forests and trees in the previous pages, you can deduce the
massive effects of deforestation and tree-cutting activities. Let us see a few below:
• Soil erosion destruction:- Soils (and the nutrients in them) are exposed to the sun’s
heat. Soil moisture is dried up, nutrients evaporate and bacteria that help break down
organic matter are affected. Eventually, rain washes down the soil surfaces and erosion
takes place. Soils never get their full potential back.
• Water Cycle:- Smaller lakes, rivers and streams that take water from these larger
water bodies when re deforests astroyed, the atmosphere, water bodies and the water
table are all affected. Trees absorb and retain water in their roots. A large part of the
water that circulates in the ecosystem of rainforests remains inside the plants. Some of
this moisture is transpired into the atmosphere. When this process is broken, the
atmosphere and water bodies begin to dry out. The watershed potential is compromised
and less water will runs through ry up.
• Loss of Biodiversity:- Many wonderful species of plants and animals have been lost,
and many others remain endangered. More than 80% of the world's species remain in
the Tropical Rainforest. It is estimated that about 50 to 100 species of animals are being
lost each day as a result of destruction of their habitats, and that is a tragedy.
Many methods are being used across the world to maintain the forest cover.
Conservation of Forest
Preventing Forest Fires
A forest fire destroy standing timber and consumers the seeds and young trees
of the future forest. A large fire may even burn into the rich humus of the
forest floor and destroy a number of wild animals. Lighting is a natural cause
of forest fires. Humans carelessness in another cause .often these fires
continue until it rains. To prevent and control forest fires, the following
methods are used.
• Fire lines, which resemble roads, are made in a forest at which a fire can be
• Fire extinguishing solution are sprayed from airplanes to put out the fire.
• Fire fighters equipped with trucks, water tanks and chemical fire
extinguishers can often brings a fire under control before it become
Wildlife is one of the most gracious gifts of nature to this land, which is as rich in its variety and colors as its number.
The majestic lion, the grateful yet fearsome tiger, unproductive leopard, powerful elephant, the nimble deer, attractive antelope, the picturesque peafowl, the gorgeous pelican, the
beautiful parakeets, wood-pecker and the elegant flamingo are some of these of which any country might be proud. There are 312 species of mammals, 1175 species of birds,
399 species of reptiles, 60000 species of insects and 181 species of amphibians and 46610 species of plants. Over the past 2000 years about 106 species of animals and about
140 species of birds have become extinct because of climate and geographic changes and also by over hunting by man for food, medicine, fur and many other reasons.
According to ecologist more than 600 species of animals and birds are expected to be extinct if not protected by wildlife management. Wildlife management is an ancient
phenomenon. Vedas contain hymns in praise of animals. Sanatana dharma has linked some animals with the specific god or goddess as the best way of conservation of
wildlife. For example, python has been associated with god vishnu, snake with god shiva, swan with goddess saraswati, and lion with goddess durga rendering the animal
pious and protected. In mahabharata, rishis and munis have been indicated to conserve wildlife fauna such as deer and birds around ashrams. In arthashastra, chanakya had
imposed severe penalties for killing, entrapping and molesting birds, fishes and deer, etc. In protected areas.
About 250 species of animals and birds have become extinct due to several factors including the human population, which has reached the pinnacle of progress and prosperity
ignoring the other forms of life. Human activities pose the biggest threat to wildlife because expanding human population results in expanding needs of man. With scientific
progress and technological development man has started utilizing natural resources at a much larger scale. Continuous increase in population caused an increasing demand
for resources. Wildlife is considered a renewable resource and hence its conservation is essential if we desire sustainable yields. Nature has endowed India with such
abundant and varied flora that it compares favorably with that of any country in the world whether it is developed, developing or underdeveloped.
India has large geographical size and variety of climate and habitat, wild animals constitute great national resources. These wild animals form important resources because they
provide food (meat), skin, etc. Which are used in research as experimental animals and for education. They are also used for recreational purposes. The niche requirement of
these animals is different. Their scientific and rational explanation is not being answered. Conservationists are often expected to justify their concern about the extinction of
species. Preservation and protection of wildlife is important from the ecological point of view. The role of individual species in ecosystem (for example in food chain) cannot
be undermined. Today amphibians are under a threat their population has declined. This is cause of ecological concern because some habitats and biomass of amphibians can
exceed all other large animals combined.
Their role in food chain is crucial; they eat both plants and small animals like insects including mosquitoes and amphibians themselves constitute food for birds, mammals, man,
reptiles and fishes. Wildlife, besides its crucial role in preventing ecological degradation has other values like serving as a genetic pool for livestock improvement, for
pharmaceutical industry and other commercial value like providing furs and wools. Taking example of amphibians again, it has been discovered that many species of these
animals have been found containing compounds that are being used in pain killing medicines and for treatment of burns. It is documented fact that tribal in Ecuador have
been using secretions from the skin of frogs for killing pains. A pharmaceutical company is engaged in research to developing a drug from a secretion of frog.
There are many management plans to conserve wild life such as:
1. The Indian board of wild life was set up in 1952, to ensure protection and scientific management of the diminishing wildlife in the country.
2. Countrywide uniform legislation in the form of the wild life (protection) act was enacted in 1972 with object of ensuring stricter protection to wildlife and its better management.
3. The 'project tiger' was launched in 1973 in the Corbett national park today; there is 28 per cent tiger reserve in all over the country, covering an area 1.5 per cent of the total area
4. The forest (conservation) act was passed 1980, to impose a severe restriction, on the diversion of forestland to non-forest use.
5. In order to preserve the inviolate, 7fragile ecosystem on hilly and mountainous areas, a ban has been imposed since 1983 on the felling of trees at an elevation of 1000 m and
6. As against 19 national parks and 205 wildlife sanctuaries in 1980, now their number is 95 national parks and 500 wildlife sanctuaries.
7. With the launching of the crocodile project, three endangered species of crocodilians have been saved.
8. A wildlife institute at the national level has been set up in 1982, to provide scientific training in wildlife management.
9. A national wildlife action plan was launched by the then prime minister in November 1983, to impart tempo, scientific direction and completeness to wildlife manage~ and
10. New scheme has been formulated for captive breeding and for rehabilitation endangered species.
National parks (IUCN Category II): India's first national park was Hailey National Park, now Jim Corbett National Park, established in 1935.
By 1970, India had 5 national parks; today it has over 120 national parks All national park lands then encompassed a total 39,919 km2 (15,413 sq mi)
km², comprising 1.21% of India's total surface area. many species of animals residing in its world famous forests.
Animal sanctuary (IUCN Category IV): India has over 500 animal sanctuaries, referred to as Wildlife Sanctuaries. Among these, the
28 Tiger Reserves are governed by Project Biosphere reserve (UNESCO designation roughly corresponding to IUCN Category V): The Indian
government has also established Biosphere reserves, which protect larger areas of natural habitat, and often include one or more national parks
and/or preserves, along buffer zones that are open to limited economic activities.
Reserved and protected forests
Reserved forests and protected forest (IUCN Category IV or VI, depending on protection accorded): These are forested lands
where logging, hunting, grazing and other activities may be permitted on a sustainable basis to members of certain communities. In reserved
forests, explicit permission is required for such activities. In protected forests, such activities are allowed unless explicitly prohibited. Thus, in general
reserved forests enjoy a higher degree of protection with respect to protected forests.
Conservation and community reserves
Conservation reserve and Community reserve (IUCN Category V and VI respectively): These are areas adjoining
existing protected areas which are of ecological value and can act as migration corridors, or buffer zone. Conservation reserves are designated
government owned land from where communities may earn a subsistence, while community reserves are on mixed government/private lands.
Community reserves are the only privately held land accorded protection by the government of India.
Village and panchayat Forests
Village and panchayat forests (IUCN Category VI): These are forested lands administered by a village or a panchayat on a
sustainable basis, with the habitat, flora and fauna being accorded some degree of protection by the managing community.
Private protected areas
Private protected areas: These are regions which are owned by an individual or an organization / corporation not affiliated to the
government or a communal body. Even though Indian legislation does not provide for protection of such areas, some NGOs are using land trusts to
help in the conservation effort, and providing limited means of protection.
Conservation areas: Conservation areas are large, well-designated geographical entities where landscape conservation is undergoing,
and usually contains different kinds of constituent protected areas, as well as privately owned land. Tiger, and are of special significance in the
conservation of the tiger.
The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data List), founded in
1963, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the globalconservation status of biological
species. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world's main authority
on the conservation status of species. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or
organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit.
The IUCN Red List is set upon precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species
and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. The aim is to
convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the
international community to try to reduce species extinction. According to IUCN (1996), the
formally stated goals of the Red List are (1) to provide scientifically based information on the
status of species and subspecies at a global level, (2) to draw attention to the magnitude and
importance of threatened biodiversity, (3) to influence national and international policy and
decision-making, and (4) to provide information to guide actions to conserve biological diversity.
Major species assessors include Birdlife International, the Institute of Zoology (the research division of
the Zoological Society of London), the World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and many Specialist
Groups within the IUCN Species Survival Commission(SSC). Collectively, assessments by these
organizations and groups account for nearly half the species on the Red List.
The IUCN aims to have the category of every species re-evaluated every five years if possible, or at
least every ten years. This is done in a peer reviewed manner through IUCN Species Survival
Commission (SSC) Specialist Groups, which are Red List Authorities responsible for a species,
group of species or specific geographic area, or in the case of Birdlife International, an entire class
• A species or taxonomic group that is restricted to a particular geographic region because of such
factors as isolation or response to soil or climatic conditions; this species is said to be endemic to the
region (Allaby 1998).
Exotic species. This term is commonly used in publications and literature, and is similar to the terms
alien species, foreign species, introduced species, non indigenous species, and non native species
(Heutte and Bella 2003). Other definitions include: 1. An introduced, non native species, or a species
that is the result of direct or indirect, deliberate or accidental introduction of the species by humans,
and for which introduction permitted the species to cross a natural barrier to dispersal (Noss and
Cooper rider 1994). 2. In North America, often refers to those species not present in a bioregion before
the entry of Europeans in the 16th century, or present in later parts of that region and later introduced
to an ecosystem by human-mediated mechanisms (Cohen and Carlton 1988)
a species is defined as native (or indigenous) to a given region or ecosystem if its presence in that
region is the result of only natural processes, with no human intervention. Every natural organism (as
opposed to a domesticated organism) has its own natural range of distribution in which it is regarded
as native. Outside this native range, a species may be introduced by human activity; it is then referred
to as an introduced species within the regions where it was anthropogenic ally introduced.
• For example:- the Asiatic lion is only found in the Gir National Park area in Gujarat . Only about 300
lions still remains.