Recently I came across a photograph showing local people clearing forests. On pondering over it, I realised how greedy and selfish we all are and how callously we destroy nature for our gains. The picture was a proof that we have no consideration for our future generations because if we did, we wouldnt be leaving them barren lands and polluted skies.
Forests are an essential resource as they maintain the ecological balance. Not only are they important because they provide the oxygen we breathe but also because they provide us with a wide array of services, timber, food, fodder, medicines etc. Most of these things are obtained from the same forests we are clearing at an alarming rate. Most important of all is that these forests are a home to various animals, insects and birds. When we rob them of their homes, they have nowhere to go and end up wandering into human settlements.
Forests are incredibly rich ecosystems that play a key role in the basic functioning of our planet. They help in maintaining the climate by regulating atmospheric gases and stabilising rainfall. They also play a critical role in mitigating climate change because they act as a carbon sink, soaking up carbon dioxide that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to climate change.
Due to wide spread deforestation in the past few years, our earth has become warmer and the threat of global warming that most of us believed to be just a tooth fairy, is proving to be real. It is estimated that 15 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions are due to deforestation. A study has revealed that from 2000 to 2012, about 890,000 square miles of forests were cut down. Some experts say that we are losing 80,000 acres of tropical rainforests daily.
In our valley, which was once famous for its lush green forests, around 200 hectares of forest cover has been lost to deforestation. If deforestation continues at the present rate, very soon forests will completely vanish from our valley. If we chop one tree and plant ten in its place, yet they wont be able to compensate for the loss. We have already lost many economically important plant species and many animal species have become extinct. By deforestation, we are not only destroying our flora but our fauna as well.
Even though the world has realised the importance of forests and most countries now have forest protection laws,more needs to be done. Due to deforestation tigers had almost become extinct but thanks to timely action, India is now home to the highest number of tigers. Every state of India needs to have forest conservation laws. Anyone found clearing forests needs to be punished strictly. Our state too is facing a serious threat in the form of deforestation. Even though we have a forest protection department, our forest cover is depleting by the day. Man-animal conflict is increasing. Every day we hear about people being mauled by animals. But only we are to be blamed. Someone has rightly said:
As You Sow, So Shall You Reap
And what we are reaping today are the rewards of being callous and greedy. It is time we stopped to consider the consequences of our actions. We need to stop before it is too late. We need to save our forests before no forests are left to be saved.
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