Between December and June 1975 I criss-crossed through most of India on buses, trains, and cars. My trips took me through dense vegetation and vast expanses of forests. It was sheer joy and excitement to see these verdant forests cover a large part of the country and specially the central part of India: Madhya Pradesh. In March 2000 I revisited some parts of my earlier trip. The journey through Madhya Pradesh was painful. Hundreds of miles of roads with moon-craterlike potholes cut through the areas which were once healthy forests. Population pressure, cement factories, and less than adequate rural housing have transformed the area. The lush forests have disappeared under human axe and chain saw. Withering sapplings tell us about the half- hearted attempts of the government-sponsored reforestation in some areas. The story is all too familiar in the Third World. Population pressure requires more land to build houses and acquire more agricultural land. Economic development—industrialization, road construction, increasing demand for domestic fuel—put pressure on scarce land. Forests are cut to provide this land. Forests constitute a very important part of the global economy and ecosystem, yet they are being destroyed at an alarming rate in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Between 1950 and 1999 the world lost half of its tropical forests. Each year at least 16 million hectares of natural forest disappears in developing countries. The size of Ireland disappears every year. While in- creased international concern and activism have considerably contributed to the adoption of improved management practices and a better environment for global forests, more is needed to protect forest resources. The destruction of forests is no longer the sole responsibility of shortsighted political leaders
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Deforestation, Environment, and Sustainable Development: A Comparative Analysis. Contributors: Dhirendra K. Vajpeyi - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2001. Page number: ix.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.