So far as human knowledge goes life exists only on this plant. It is our moral duty to see that we do nothing which hinders its growth. The role and importance of forests in a developing society like India burdened with enormous population pressure, poverty, pollution and yet trying to implement ambitious development project needs no elaboration. But we have been continuously exploiting our natural resources.
The consequences of such continuous and wreck less use of trees and other natural resources would be disastrous. Over the past decade or so, more and more attention is being paid, all over the world, to forests, on which human existence depends and the maintenance of which is now increasingly being considered as essential for mankind.
The question remains that how would you define a forest? Are Forests just large areas of land covered with trees? No, a forest is much more than just trees. It also includes smaller undergrowth plants such as mosses, shrubs and bushes and flowers in addition to many kinds of birds, insects and other animals, who make their homes in the forests.
Forests have always been of great importance to human beings. Prehistoric people found their food mainly by hunting and by gathering wild fruits and animals. With the development of civilization, people settled in towns and cities. But they still returned to the forests to get timber and to hunt. Today, people depend on forests for their economic value, their environmental value and the valued culture and recreation.
Forests provide many important products such as wood, various fats, gum, oils etc. In some tribal society, forest plants and animals make up a large part of the people’s diet. We cannot deny them of their food.
As long as there are forests, people can count on a steady supply of forest products. Forests also regulate the climate directly. They provide a home for many plants and animals that can live nowhere else along with those which are on the verge of extinction. By eliminating these forests, we are not only jeopardizing our future, but theirs as well.
Today, great expanses of forests have been eliminated because of logging activities, industrial pollution and for mans own selfish needs. Rapid forest destruction is often a symptom of social unrest. Large numbers of poor landless families move into the forests and clear the trees in order to grow crops and for other purposes. More forests are stripped to provide wood for fuel. In the commercial timber industry, trees are also felled for export. But can not we save these trees? Yes! We can with a joint effort take the example of Himachal apples growers- they use cardboard cartons for packing their produce and thereby avoiding the wastage of wood. India’s unique chipko movement is also exemplary.
We need to generate a massive public awareness and concern for our forests we must restrict the use of wood to an absolute minimum. A tree for every child should be our slogan. Then and only then will our planet become worth living.
[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leoffreitas/332360959/]