The UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has
defined deforestation as the conversion of forest to
another land use or the long-term reduction of tree
canopy cover below the 10% threshold
In 2016, a study from the Maryland University reported
that 73.4 million acres of the global tree cover were lost.
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4. Present scenario in India
Due to deforestation, the forest cover of India has fallen
below the minimum recommended level. According to
experts, forests should cover about one-third of the total
area of country. But in India forests covers around 24% of
the total area.
Satellite pictures show that India has gained a forest area
of 5,871 square kilometre during the period between 2010
and 2012. However, the increase in forest area is not even
throughout the country. In some places, forests land is being
used for various development projects like dams, industries,
roads and agriculture.
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The increase of mining on tropical forests is
further damaging due to the rising demand and
high mineral prices.
These projects are often accompanied by large
infrastructure construction, such as roads,
railways, and power systems.
This contributor to deforestation is putting
additional pressure on our forests and freshwater
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Another example would be forest
Hundreds of trees are lost each year
due to forest fires in various
portions of the world.
This happens due to extreme warm
summers and milder winters.
Fires, whether caused by man or
nature results in huge loss of forest
Manmade fire at para , BRAZIL.
Ecuador-northern western south
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7. Around 6.3 million hectares of forests in Australia and around
0.72 million hectares of forest and grass land in California were
destroyed by fires.
In February 2018, it took five days and the mobilisation of huge
resources including Indian Air Force choppers to douse the fire at
Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka. An estimated 4,800
hectares of forests were lost in the incident.
The very next month, in March 2018, a group of trekkers got
caught in a fatal wildfire at Theni, Tamil Nadu. The state went on
to impose a ban on trekking in forests between February 15 to
April 15, considered as fire season.
According to the India State of Forest Report 2019, over 30,000
incidents of forest fires were reported in India in 2019.
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America, China, Japan, and Canada make up more than
of the world’s paper production 400 million tons a year.
Approximately 640 million trees represent the paper
that’s thrown away each year, according to the
Environment Paper Network.
If we recycled, we could save 27.5 million tons of
carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere.
By using recycled paper, we allow the forests to remain
as an ecosystem and wildlife habitat.
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Due to overpopulation, more land is needed to establish
housing and settlements.
As well as many, many more roads and highways are
being built in order to accommodate a larger sum of
With more people that come with a large need for food
and farmland to grow on and raise livestock—resulting
Logging industries will cut down trees for furniture,
paper, building materials, and many more products.
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Wood-based industries such as paper, matchsticks,
and furniture need a substantial quantity of wood.
Lumber and charcoal are common examples of
trees being used as fuel. Cooking and heating all
around the world use these resources, and half of
the illegal removal from forests is thought to be
used as fuelwood.
Large areas are also cleared to construct roads in
order for large trucks to have entry to logging sites.
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11. Agriculture Expansion
A major cause of deforestation is agriculture plantations. An
increasing supply-demand for products such as palm oil and
soybeans are driving producers to clear forests at an unnerving
Farmers often clear the land for cattle by using slash and burn
techniques (cutting down trees and burning them).
Unfortunately, they will then use the property until the soil is
completely degraded and repeat the process on a new patch of
woodland. Eventually, it'll reforest, but it will take many years to
return to its original condition.
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13. Livestock Ranching.
Cattle ranching and deforestation are strongest in Latin
Over the past 40 years, forest area has reduced my
almost an astounding 40 percent.
During the same period, 40 years, pasture regions and
cattle population have grown significantly and rapidly.
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14. Climate Change.
Forests are essentially the lungs of our planet. All plants
take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
Trees are able to convert more carbon dioxide than a
regular plant, though. Forest loss is often caused by
Tropical rainforests are extremely humid due to the
water vapour released along with the oxygen.
But when a forest is cut down, the humidity levels
decrease and causes the remaining plants to dry out.
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16. Impacts on global climate
Clearing tree cover and vegetation leads to increase in albedo of
the region as bare soil reflects more solar radiation than
vegetation, which again is a factor for altering regional radiation
In a global scale, deforestation leads to warmer and drier
weather due to the synergistic effect of reduced
evapotranspiration, increased albedo and CO2 concentration
that triggers desertification, loss in biodiversity and melting of
polar ice caps, ultimately leading to food insecurity.
The estimated quantity of CO2 added to the atmosphere due to
deforestation in the tropics is roughly two billion tonnes
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17. N. Devaraju in 2015.
In his paper, using idealized climate model simulations, the
biogeophysical effects of large-scale deforestation on monsoon
regions was investigated and it was found that the remote forcing
from large-scale deforestation in the northern middle and high
latitudes shifts the Intertropical Convergence Zone southward.
This results in a significant decrease in precipitation in the
Northern Hemisphere monsoon regions (East Asia, North
America, North Africa, and South Asia) and moderate
precipitation increases in the Southern Hemisphere monsoon
regions (South Africa, South America, and Australia).
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18. The magnitude of the monsoonal precipitation changes depends
on the location of deforestation, with remote effects showing a
larger influence than local effects. The South Asian Monsoon
region is affected the most, with 18% decline in precipitation
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19. Further, the hydrological and atmospheric water cycle
gets weak because precipitation decreases. Thus any
form of deforestation and desertification happening over
tropical regions has a severe impact on Indian
summer monsoon atmospheric circulations and
precipitation (Abhishek Lodh 2017)
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20. CARBON EMISSION FROM FORESTS
ACTIVITIES ANNUAL EMISSION( GtCO2e/year)
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21. Impact on hydrology and soil quality
Forests play an important role in maintaining the watersheds .
The degraded or degrading watersheds can be recovered by
forestation, but once the forest or vegetation cover is lost, the
watershed becomes vulnerable to erosion.
This erosion leads to siltation in the downstream areas and
consequently reduces the depth of river bed increasing the
chances of flood.
In the absence of the forest cover and organic matter, soil could
not accommodate heavy precipitation, and the fertile layers of soil
used to be easily washed away ultimately reduces the long-term
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22. Impact on biological diversity
Forests are very rich in biodiversity and store a vast gene pool,
and the majority of species occur in the tropical forests.
It consists of two-thirds of all known species and 65% of 10,000
species that are recognized as endangered by the
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
The northern margin of West Bengal, India, forms a significant
portion of the Himalaya Biodiversity Hotspot.
There are reports of mortality of 20 elephants and 50 persons
annually from this area. It is also estimated that if deforestation in
the Himalayas continue at the current rate, the dense forest cover
(>40% canopy cover) will be restricted to 10% of land area in the
Indian Himalayas by 2100. This may lead to a significant loss of
366 endemic plants and 35 endemic vertebrates
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23. Impact on economic and social welfare
Forests contribute to the world economy in terms of timber production
and other forest produces. The loss of tropical forest cover annually
may account for about 45 billion US dollars .
Also, the destruction of forest increases the negative externalities in the
form of increasing CO2 concentration, risk of flood and human-
wildlife conflict. The proximity of settlements to protected areas further
intensifies the chances of human-wildlife conflict (HWC). It is reported
that settled households face high risk of HWC due to their close
proximity of the Kanha National Park in Central India .
In a study of household survey from rural areas of Madhya Pradesh
and Chhattisgarh state of India, it was found that the poorest of the
local community gained about 30% of their living from forest produce
which was claimed to be even higher than the returns from agriculture.
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26. SOURCE- ISFR 2013 and 2015,
Forest Survey of India,
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
Very Dense Forest - All lands with tree canopy density of 70% and above
Moderately Dense Forest- All lands with tree canopy density of 40% and
more but less than 70%.
Open Forest - All lands with tree canopy density of 10% and more but less
Scrub - Degraded forest lands with canopy density less than 10%.
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27. There are various estimates of deforestation in India.
From the regional analysis carried out, it can be seen that the overall
net rate of deforestation was relatively high in the North East region(–
0.90to–5.29) and Deccan Peninsula(–0.19to–3.2) followed by the
The rate of deforestation is unabated in the North-Eastern part of the
country, hill areas and most importantly the losses are more from the
VDF and MDF.
Out of the 29 states and 7 union territories (UT) 24 states and 4 UT
shave shown decline in forest cover and there is a huge decline in
MDF and it is to the tune of(-)3913sqkm (here only losses have been
added up).There has been a decline in very dense forest(VDF) also to
the tune of(-)201sqkm and so has open forest to the level of(-
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34. Chipko Movement – The movement against
“Chipko Movement” was the
movement against deforestation.
The parent organization of this
movement is ‘The Dasholi Gram
Swarajya Mandal’. The evil of
deforestation was highlighted by
environmental activists. They
embraced the trees which
were about to be cut and thus
created public awareness about the
need of forest preservation.
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35. Role of Indian government in forest
The Indian Forest Act, 1927
Forest Conservation Act, 1980
The establishment of the National Forest Policy
Wildlife Protection Act, 1972:
The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers
(Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006
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36. Apart from these laws, the Government of India has also
established Forest Survey of India (FSI), an organization under
the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, whose
primary work is to gather and evaluate the country’s forest
wealth through a nationwide survey to measure forest areas .
Another council, i.e. the Compensatory Afforestation Fund
Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), was
established by the Government of India in 2009 as a National
Advisory Council under the chairmanship of the Union Minister
of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for the monitoring,
technical assistance and evaluation of compensatory
afforestation activities. This was particularly meant to promote
afforestation and regeneration activities as a way of compensating
for forest land diverted to non-forest uses.
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37. Various other missions and programmes such as the National
Mission for a Green India (NMGI) and National Afforestation
Programme (NAP) were also being launched by the Government
of India where the main aim of NMGI was to improve the
quality of five million hectares of degraded forests and to
bring another five million hectares of non-forest areas under
forest cover through social and farm forestry.
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