Losing Green Gold

April 12, 2018 EDITORIAL 171 Views
Losing Green Gold

Hundreds of trees are cut by the timber smugglers across Kashmir. However not much is done by the government at this front. We are losing our green gold on a massive scale. Jammu and Kashmir’s Forest Minister, Choudhary Lal Singh has been claiming that a massive plantation drive was carried across the State for justifying the felling of tress. For instance a notorious band of forest wood smugglers, which allegedly is plundering green gold from Shopian and Pir Panchal forest divisions of Kashmir, has kept two divisions of state’s forest department on tenterhooks. Deforestation is one of the main contributors to climate change. Forests cover 31% of the land area on our planet. It is the second largest anthropogenic source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, after fossil fuel combustion. Deforestation and forest degradation contribute to atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions through combustion of forest biomass and decomposition of remaining plant material and soil carbon. It used to account for more than 20% of carbon dioxide emissions, but it’s currently somewhere around the 10% mark. By 2008, deforestation was 12% of total CO2, or 15% if peatlands are included. Predicting rising numbers is usually good news in ecology, but not if they are forest fragments. Current rates of deforestation could cause a 33-fold increase in forest fragments over the next 50 years, shows a study published in Nature. Deforestation, fuelled by factors including habitat conversion and timber production, causes fragmentation. As large forests are cut into pieces, biodiversity suffers and carbon is also lost. To study patterns of tropical forest fragmentation, scientists at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (Germany) used remotely-sensed images to map more than 130 million forest fragments across 427 million hectares in the Asia, then America, Africa and Australia. They found that fragment sizes in three continents followed similar frequency distributions. The number of forest fragments smaller than 10,000 hectares, for instance, is similar in Central and South America (11.2 %), Africa (9.9 %) and south-east Asia (9.2 %). In Kashmir, many areas witness such massacre of trees. Residents of Anderwali and Sonabanjran, twin villages which fall on border line between Shopian and Pir Panchal forest divisions said that a group of 20 wood smugglers are making daily rounds into the forest to cut green trees for smuggling. Around 22 trees fell in last month in RI 24, RI 24C and RI 25 compartments of Romeshi sub-division. A gang after cutting trees in Pirpanchal division enter Shopian division treading through D-13, D24 and D 24 compartments. According to officials of forest department were informed a number of times about this gang of wood smugglers but they failed to check them.

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