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Call for plan to protect forest cover

By STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 1 � The hilly regions of Assam have seen rapid degradation and fragmentation of forests in the past few decades, which has put at risk not just wildlife but a substantial population who directly or indirectly depend on forest resources. Experts are now calling for a comprehensive plan to protect the hills involving the Forest Department and other line departments.

According to the National Forest Policy, ��it is required to have minimum 60 per cent of geographical area in the hilly terrain under forest cover to maintain proper ecological balance.� However, this is hardly the case with Assam, where forests in hill areas are disappearing fast. �

A senior Forest Department official, based in Karbi Anglong, said that there is an acute need to �protect the existing forest cover, and at the same time to promote extensive plantation.� Karbi Anglong and the Dima Hasao districts have some virgin forest tracts, which now have experienced human interference, requiring �improvement and restocking.�

Compared to the understanding on forests in the plains of Assam, forests covering the hill districts are yet to have extensive studies at the ground level. But it is acknowledged that there is a vast range of rare and endemic fauna and flora, which have great economic potential.

Some natural forests, experts believe, have been damaged beyond repair, and others have been converted into settled areas. The effects have been observed on several fronts as in agriculture for which people have to depend on rainwater or local water bodies. Depletion of water in streams and tanks has been reported from some areas where green cover has been lost in recent times.

Conservation groups which have monitored the developments believe that an immediate survey of the forests of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills is a must in order to identify the threats which already exist, and how to build a strategy. Organisations like WWF-India and WTI have also called for better protection of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong contiguous landscape so that wildlife of the Kaziranga National Park can have a safer habitat enabling their natural movement.

Continuing destruction of forest cover in the hilly areas is likely to cause an increase in human-animal conflict in the days ahead. In recent times, timber smuggling in the two hill districts has also been reported in the media. It appears that a nexus involving a section of local elements with tacit support of some politicians, businessmen and even militants is carrying out the illegal activity.

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Call for plan to protect forest cover

GUWAHATI, Feb 1 � The hilly regions of Assam have seen rapid degradation and fragmentation of forests in the past few decades, which has put at risk not just wildlife but a substantial population who directly or indirectly depend on forest resources. Experts are now calling for a comprehensive plan to protect the hills involving the Forest Department and other line departments.

According to the National Forest Policy, ��it is required to have minimum 60 per cent of geographical area in the hilly terrain under forest cover to maintain proper ecological balance.� However, this is hardly the case with Assam, where forests in hill areas are disappearing fast. �

A senior Forest Department official, based in Karbi Anglong, said that there is an acute need to �protect the existing forest cover, and at the same time to promote extensive plantation.� Karbi Anglong and the Dima Hasao districts have some virgin forest tracts, which now have experienced human interference, requiring �improvement and restocking.�

Compared to the understanding on forests in the plains of Assam, forests covering the hill districts are yet to have extensive studies at the ground level. But it is acknowledged that there is a vast range of rare and endemic fauna and flora, which have great economic potential.

Some natural forests, experts believe, have been damaged beyond repair, and others have been converted into settled areas. The effects have been observed on several fronts as in agriculture for which people have to depend on rainwater or local water bodies. Depletion of water in streams and tanks has been reported from some areas where green cover has been lost in recent times.

Conservation groups which have monitored the developments believe that an immediate survey of the forests of Karbi Anglong and NC Hills is a must in order to identify the threats which already exist, and how to build a strategy. Organisations like WWF-India and WTI have also called for better protection of the Kaziranga-Karbi Anglong contiguous landscape so that wildlife of the Kaziranga National Park can have a safer habitat enabling their natural movement.

Continuing destruction of forest cover in the hilly areas is likely to cause an increase in human-animal conflict in the days ahead. In recent times, timber smuggling in the two hill districts has also been reported in the media. It appears that a nexus involving a section of local elements with tacit support of some politicians, businessmen and even militants is carrying out the illegal activity.

More in Entertainment
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