Chapters :
  • Environment UNCCD – 02
  • Over – Exploitation of Forest and Its Related Issues
  • Timber extraction

Environment UNCCD – 02

Significance of forest and its functions 

Forest can provide prosperity of human being and to the nations. Important uses of forest can be classified as under

  • Commercial values
  • Ecological significance
  • Aesthetic values
  • Life and economy of tribal

Watershed protection: 

  1. Reduce the rate of surface run-off of water. 
  2. Prevent flash floods and soil erosion.
  3. Produces prolonged gradual run-off and thus prevent effects of drought.

Atmospheric regulation:

  1. Absorption of solar heat during evapo-transpiration.
  2. Maintaining carbon dioxide levels for plant growth.
  3. Maintaining the local climatic conditions.

Erosion control: Holding soil (by preventing rain from directly washing soil away).

Land bank:  Maintenance of soil nutrients and structure.

Local use – 

Consumption of forest produces by local people who collect it for subsistence – (Consumptive use)

  1. Food – gathering plants, fishing, hunting from the forest. 
  2. Fodder – for cattle.
  3. Fuel wood and charcoal for cooking, heating.
  4. Poles – building homes especially in rural and wilderness areas
  5. Timber – household articles and construction.
  6.  Fiber – weaving of baskets, ropes, nets, string, etc.
  7. Sericulture – for silk.
  8. Apiculture – bees for honey, forest bees also pollinate crops
  9. Medicinal plants – traditionally used medicines, investigating them as potential source for new modern drugs.

Market use – (Productive use)

  1. Most of the above products used for consumptive purposes are also sold as a source of income for supporting the livelihoods of forest dwelling people.
  2. Minor forest produce – (non-wood products): Fuel wood, fruit, gum, fiber, etc. which are collected and sold in local markets as a source of income for forest dwellers
  3.  Major timber extraction – construction, industrial uses, paper pulp, etc. Timber extraction is done in India by the Forest Department, but illegal logging continues in many of the forests of India and the world.

Over – Exploitation of Forest and Its Related Issues 

Forests contribute substantially to the national economy. With increasing population increased demand of fuel wood, expansion of area under urban development and industries has led to over exploitation of forest .At present international level we are losing forest at the rate of 1.7 crore hectares annually. Overexploitation also occurs due to overgrazing and conversion of forest to pastures for domestic use.


Forest are burned or cut for clearing of land for agriculture, harvesting for wood and timber, development and expansion of cities .These economic gains are short term where as long term effects of deforestation are irreversible. Deforestation rate is relatively low in temperate countries than in tropics If present rate of deforestation continues we may losses 90% tropical forest in coming six decades. Recently huge tracts of land is being burned down in tropical countries like Brazil, Indonesia etc resulting in huge ecological loss due for forest fires. 

Causes of deforestation 

  1. shifting cultivation
  2. commercial logging
  3. timber extraction
  4. construction of dams and research projects
  5. expansion of agriculture
  6. raw materials for industry

Major effects of deforestation

Soil erosion and loss of soil fertility

  • Decrease of rain fall due to effect of hydrological cycle
  • Expansion of deserts
  • Climate change and depletion of water table
  • Loss of biodiversity ,flora and fauna
  • Environmental changes and disturbance in forest ecosystems
  • Uprooting the tribal people from their traditional lives and resulting in marginalization, disease and poverty etc. 
  1. Timber extraction

There has been unlimited exploitation of timber for commercial use. Due to increased industrial demand; timber extraction has significant effect on forest and tribal people.

Logging – Poor logging results in degraded forest and may lead to soil erosion especially on slopes. New logging roads permit shifting cultivators and fuel wood gatherers to gain access to the logging area. Loss of long term forest productivity Species of plants and animals may be eliminated Exploitation of tribal people by contractor.


Major effects of mining operations on forest and tribal people are

  • Mining from shallow deposits is done by surface mining while that from deep deposits is done by sub-surface mining. It leads to degradation of lands and loss of top soil. It is estimated that about eighty thousands hectare land is under stress of mining activities in India
  • Mining leads to drying up perennial sources of water sources like spring and streams in mountainous area.
  • Mining and other associated activities remove vegetation along with underlying soil mantle, which results in destruction of topography and landscape in the area. Large scale deforestation has been reported in Mussorie and Dehradun valley due to indiscriminating mining.
  • The forested area has declined at an average rate of 33% and the increase in non-forest area due to mining activities has resulted in relatively unstable zones leading to landslides.
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