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Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Need for Management of Natural Resources

Forests are rich in biodiversity, and are also a very important resource for human beings. Various life forms such as bacteria, fungus, ferns, flowering plants, insects, birds, reptiles etc. are abundantly found in forests. If the biodiversity of forests is lost, then it will have a negative impact on the ecological balance of our environment. We also use many products obtained from forests to meet our day-to-day needs.

The following table shows how forests are used in several ways to meet our needs.

By individuals People who live in and around forests depend on forests for their day-to-day needs.
Many people in villages still use firewood from forests to light fires for cooking food and other purposes.
People use products made from timber, jute, teak, etc., which are obtained from forests.
Nature and wildlife enthusiasts enjoy visiting forests for its wildlife and scenic beauty.
By the government The government owns forest land and makes regulations for the use of valuable resources such as timber, sandalwood jute, etc.
Forests are a high source of revenue for the government.
By industries The wood pulp used in paper industry comes from forests.
Tendu leaves are used in the tobacco industry.
Timber, bamboo etc. are used as raw materials for making furniture.
Natural rubber or latex obtained from the rubber tree is used for making many products.

Thus, individuals, governments, and industries are rightly called the stakeholders of forests as they are the main users of forests.

As a result of such a huge dependence on forest resources, forests are increasingly being exploited by humans for their needs. This is leading to a fast depletion of the forest cover. The exploitation of forest resources causes a loss of biodiversity, which adversely affects the balance of the ecosystem.

Biodiversity includes all marine and terrestrial organisms living in an area.

The biodiversity of an area is measured by counting the number of species found in that area. All organisms found in an area form an important part of the biodiversity of that area.

If the biodiversity of a forest is disturbed, then it can lead to serious consequences such as the extinction of valuable plant and animal species, soil erosion, flood, drought, and climate changes. These can lead to an ecological instability.

Do You Know:

The Pink-headed duck is a possibly extinct bird that was found in eastern India, Northern Myanmar, and Bangladesh. Its habitat was lowland, marshy pools in tall grass jungles. It was last seen in 1935. The cause of its possible extinction is the destruction of its natural habitat.

Another factor responsible for the loss of biodiversity is the period of British rule in India. During their stay in India, the British over-exploited and depleted the forests.

After independence, Indian government started developing monoculture forests (a forest which has only one plant species). Such forests do not have biodiversity and cannot fulfill the varied needs of the people who live in and around these forests.

The over-exploitation of forests has resulted in the depletion of this valuable natural resource. The resultant loss of biodiversity affects the balance of our ecology. Therefore, conservation of forests is very important.

Conservation of forests

Government and local people are now working toward the conservation of the depleting forests. Initially, environmentalists took up the task of conservation of large animals such as lions, tiger, elephants, and rhinoceros. Later, the need was felt to protect and conserve biodiversity as a whole.

There are various organisations that are set up across India to save forests and preserve wildlife. Some such organisations are

  • Wildlife First
  • Centre for Wildlife Studies (CWS)
  • Tropical Research and Development Centre (TRDC)
  • Sahyadri Wildlife and Forest Conservation Trust (SWIFT)
  • Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE)

The vast tracts of forests and wildlife in the 80 National Parks and 441 Wildlife Sanctuaries across India have been conserved with the effort of the Indian Government.

Every national park has been conserved along with the native flora and fauna. For example, the Kaziranga National Park is famous for th…

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