Cutting of the natural forest cover is called deforestation. Forests are being cut for various purposes, such as for growing crops and grazing cattle, meeting the demand of wood and paper.
Cutting down of forests may result in the following:
- Destruction of habitat for wild plants and animals leading to loss and disappearance of many species leading to loss of biodiversity
- Reduced rainfall
- Lowering of water table affecting water cycle and resulting in drier climate
- Soil erosion, loss of fertility of soil and lack of vegetation leading to desertification
- Increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere leading to global warming
Preventive Measures and Management
The cutting and felling of trees should be banned through appropriate legal provisions as replenishment of forests in nature takes a long time. This can be done by planting trees in place of cutting down of forests, known as reforestation. A reforestation program may include the following:
- Enforcement of strict environmental laws against felling of trees.
- Growing of more -plants to substitute for every single tree that has been cut.
- Celebrating Van-Mahotsava enthusiastically. This involves mass plantation in the first week of July.
- Practising silviculture, the cultivation of forest trees, as it provides wood for industries and also increases area under the forest cover.
- Social forestry or planting rows of trees, by groups of local people is a means of ‘afforestation’ or building new forests.
Reforestation is the reestablishment of the forest cover naturally or artificially soon after the forest is removed.
Afforestation is the establishment of a forest in an area where the preceding vegetation or land use was not a forest.
Silviculture is the practice of controlling the establishment, growth, composition, health, and quality of tree to meet diverse needs and values.