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What is the cause for decrease in the forest cover in India?

Our, father of the nation, Pujya Mahatma Gandhiji, was of the view that ‘nature has enough for man’s need, but not for his greed’. Thus, human being's, this insatiable and self-annihilating greed which in the long run is responsible for disturbing his ecological balance as well as a reason for the decline of especially forest cover in our country India. Nature’s bounty in the form of forest gives us food, fodder, fuel, flora, fauna as well as habitat to most of the wild animals and birds species of the world. Most importantly forest is responsible for maintaining the ecological balance and helps us in giving us fresh oxygen to human beings which is the pivot of life for we human beings.

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India is the second most populated country of the world next only to China. Geographically, it is the seventh biggest country in terms of area in the world. As India occupies 2.4 percent of the land area of the world and approximately its population’s increase is equivalent to the population of Brazil every year. Thus, India is adding another Brazil in terms of population numerically every year. Doesn’t this statistic show that India’s huge and ever increasing population visa-a-vis its shrinking land-man ratio is also a pointer towards the fact of decreasing forest cover of India. In India of today, the three primary requirements of life, that is, food, clothing and shelter for the common masses as far as acquiring them is a great challenge. In this regard, for all these three, i.e., food, clothing and shelter we must depend mostly on nature.

Man, is a slave of nature. In every step of his life he must depend on nature. Anything done contrary to the forces of nature by man is certainly going to boomerang on him/her itself. The present situation in which wild animals from forest venture into human habitat is also a pointer towards not only the fact of loss of habitat of these wild animals but also indirectly reminds us, human beings, the fact, how due to our insatiable lust and thereby illogical damage to our forest cover has led to a situation of man-animal conflict.

In the India of today, atmospheric pollution is a grave issue. Morning and evening fog during winter has been replaced by smog in most of the cities of our country. Today’s Indians are the victims of pollution induced diseases mostly of breathing, heart, lungs, etc. All these diseases may be termed as originating from human beings unending and insatiable meddling with the surrounding environment as well as decrease in greenery in India. If India is to survive as a healthy nation, then we must put a break on the destruction of forest. On the contrary it is going to have more graver consequences then now for us Indians soon.

What is the way out of this menace of decreasing forest cover in India? The simple answer to this question seems to have a 'live and let live' approach towards our surrounding environment including our forest resources for the common masses. If we Indians hope to sustain as a healthy nation, then co-existence with greenery in terms of more forest cover for the countrymen is a must. The more greenery we spread in the country via, social forestry, the more viable the environment for the human beings become. It, in the long run, is going to have a positive impact on the ecological balance. All these will not only put all the components of nature in its right place by providing the needs that we Indians demand from nature. Thus, in this regard, what we Indians need to remember is that our cohabitation with nature must be need based, rather then based on greed.

-Jnandeep Bora