Tribal shelters shrink as forest cover drops
Jharkhand has registered a shrinking living space for its aboriginals. A study has found that very dense and moderately dense forest cover proportion in the State have seen a slash during the last two-year period, driving the tribals way out into open.
As per the report of the India State of Forest- 2017, habitats for the forest dwellers concentrated mainly in 17 districts of Jharkhand have seen just 28 kilometer 2 rise of green cover but that coming in the form of open forest, replacing denser versions, i.e. moderate and very dense.
In comparison of 2015, the present satellite data suggest that area under tribal dominated district is 58677 km2 where 1869 km2 is under very dense forest, 7254 km2 as moderately dense forest and 8296 km2 in the form of open forest in 2017. Total area under forest in these 17 districts has been recorded as 17419 km2 which is 22 km2 more than the 2015 figures.
“Very dense and moderate forests have been safer and actual habitation of tribals. Unfortunately, these are shrinking. This shows that interference of outside world is growing into natural habitats of tribals in the State,” said a sen7ior forest official decoding the voluminous report released on Monday.
Facts show that the State lost at least three squire kms of very dense forest in two years of which two km2 is degraded into moderate forest and one km2 into open forest. The fall is not just limited to very dense forest cover in the State.
“The depletion has been recorded in moderately dense forest as well which is measured as eight km2, coming down from 9692 km2 to 9686 km2. Five squire kms of this has become open forest, one as scrub and dangerously, two km2 in non-forest, in other words losing the green cover completely,” he added with great deal of concern.
Overall, the State has gained net 29 km2 forest cover during the last two years but entire growth is recorded in open forest which is not a healthy sign. The report nevertheless attributed the ‘rise’ to plantation and conservation efforts undertaken by the Government but with a rider.
Jharkhand during the period has seen its forest cover within the reserve forest area going up by 314 km2. That means overall figure reflecting in just 29 km2 indicates to unabated felling of trees outside the protected area. Ironically, most of the plantation drives under various initiatives from the Government and also under compensatory afforestation CAMPA have undergone without much effect.
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