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Deforestation become dangerous trend in North East

Kohima, Dec 27 (Agencies)
Published on 27 Dec. 2015 10:06 PM IST
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Increasing population, need of more space for habitation, heavy and continuous deforestations in the entire states of North East is not only leading to heavy atmospheric carbon emission but also the region towards heavy impact of climate change and unknown diseases.
According to a report from the India State of Forest Report 2015 on the decrease of 628 sq km forest cover in the North East region of India is more than a cause for worry. The report said there has been a net decline of 628 Sq. Km. in the forest cover since 2013 in the North East. The loss is more than the total area of Mumbai city.
This alarming report released by the Environment and Forest Minister Prakash Javadekar comes at a time when nearly 200 nations across the world approved a first-of-its-kind universal agreement to wean Earth off fossil fuels and slow global warming at the recently held Paris Climate Change conference.
According to current assessment, the total forest cover in the North East is 171,964 Sq. Km, which is 65.59 per cent of its total geographical area, in comparison to the national forest cover of 21.34 per cent. Very dense, moderately dense and open forest cover constitutes 14.81 per cent, 43.85 per cent and 41.34 per cent, respectively, the report said.
The main reason for this decrease is attributed to the biotic pressure and shifting cultivation in the region. Among the North Eastern States, Mizoram has recorded the highest decrease in forest of 307 sq km, followed by Nagaland 78 sq km, Arunachal Pradesh 73 sq km, Tripura 55 sq km, while Sikkim recorded a forest cover loss of 1 sq km.
On the other hand, nationwide, the forest cover has increased by 3,775 sq km as compared to 2013 assessment, the report said. A recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change said tropical forests can be the bridge to this transition by causing uptake of atmospheric carbon, provided, astute forest management combined with fossil fuel use reduction are effected in a speedy manner. The study is especially significant because forest management can be much more easily and quickly implemented than development of alternate renewable energy technologies and would account for much of the reduction in atmospheric carbon until reliable and efficient renewable energy technologies are put in place.
The forest of North East region is known around the world for their rich biodiversity and dramatic scenery. It has been identified as one of the 18 biodiversity hot spots of the world. The region is broadly classified as six major forest types: Tropical moist deciduous forest, tropical semi evergreen, tropical wet evergreen, subtropical, temperature and Alpine. Largely closed to the outside world for the last fifty years, in recent decades, deforestation and watershed deterioration has progressed rapidly due to land clearing by migrants and local people and high timber demand from Bangladesh and urban centers in India. Illegal logging and forest clearing is made easier where the occupational rights to forest are weak and unclear. According to a paper on the Forest sector review of North East India, the watersheds of the region are critical catchment that regulates hydrological flows to some of the worlds most densely populated agricultural land and cities, including nearly 250 million people in Bangladesh and eastern India.
An intensive scientific study by Indias North East Climate Change Adaptation Programme (NECCAP) in 2012 confirmed that the region is suffering from the impacts of climate change and the impact on people, fields and livestock is devastating and set to get worse. Due to its unique location and topography, the study found the region has distinct precipitation and drainage patterns. From March to May, thunderstorms contribute about 20 per cent of annual rainfall. From June to September, monsoon rains supply another 70 per cent. The monsoon season is marked by frequent floods, as melting Himalayan snow and torrential rains feed the Brahmaputra River. Because of climate change, moreover, rainfall is becoming more unpredictable and erratic, it stated.

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