The Importance of Forests in India
India’s forests cover about 23% of total geographical area of the country. Forests play a vital role in the economy of the country. They give fuel wood to poor people for cooking purpose.
Forests also provide material for industry. Those who build houses get timbers for house building and for various other purposes. Besides forests please the attracts rains and stops erosion of the soil.
Evergreen forests are found where the rainfall is heavy. There are such forests in the Western Ghats and the Sub-Himalayan regions. The category of the forests yield hard wood such as teak rose wood and bamboos. The monsoon forests are found in large areas of Deccan plateau. They provide teak, sal wood (Shorea robusta), sandalwood, etc. The hill forests found at places above 500 feet above include the best timber and other trees. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of fast growing eucalyptus trees have been planted along the roadside to attract rain.
India’s forest wealth has been reduced as a result of senseless cutting of trees. People need firewood. Even official agencies clear vast jungle areas for constructing dams, roads and buildings. The axe and bulldozer have been in common use. Grazing causes another problem in large parts of the country. So the annual rate of the loss of forests is a serious threat to the country’s economy.
Nobody would be able to escape adverse effect of this destruction. The disappearance of forests results in changing rainfall pattern and causing drought conditions in large areas. There is a report that about 25 per cent of all the drugs are derived from trees. Trees also yield vital industrial oils, resins and dyes.
Now we understand the importance of forests in the country’s economy. We also realize their value in maintaining the ecological balance. Now the government tries to save the forest land and reserve forest in the country. But the destruction of forests continues. Though, millions of new trees are planted every year in India but they perish, for lack of care.
A forest consists of large number of trees. These trees purifies the air and releases oxygen into the environment. Thus, forests helps us in combating the problem of pollution. Further, forests helps in preserving the earth by shielding against the winds, and also slows down the process of desertification.
We get many things from the forests. They include bamboos of different kinds. We get grasses of various types. Medical plants gum and lac are provided by forests. It is also widely used for medicines. In India there are over 20000 types of medicinal plants. So forests are of great value. They deserve much greater practical attention than they are getting now. Large scale afforestation and reforestation programs should be implemented in a systematic manner.