New Delhi, September 4 (IANS): The National Green Tribunal observed that the conservation of forest areas would not only be the protection of trees and greenery, but also the rich biological diversity, wildlife habitats and the whole ecology that has evolved over the centuries. and which supports a variety of flora and fauna and fauna, including the many tribal communities that inhabit the areas.
The NGT East Zone Bench recently made the observation while dealing with a plea alleging indiscriminate felling of trees in a reserved forest area that is part of the Papum Reserved Forest and Tiger Reserve. from Pakke in Arunachal Pradesh.
The petitioner alleged that the authorities have taken no action against the indiscriminate felling of trees which is likely to create human-wildlife conflicts and which may even affect the lives of tigers in this area. The plea also stated that this forest area is a breeding and nesting site for hornbills.
“There is no gain in saying that the state is the trustee of its natural resources and as such it is expected to discharge the responsibility which the Constitution of India has imposed on it under the Section 48A,” the Green Court observed.
He further directed a high-level committee of the Chief Secretary of Arunachal Pradesh to regularly monitor green coverage in the state, including the restoration of water bodies which showed a drastic decrease between 2009 and 2019. The committee, if necessary, can also deliberate on common issues with its neighboring states, such as Assam.
Shortage of staff
In 2019, after noting authorities’ failure to do so, the court ordered a high-level committee headed by the chief secretary to investigate illegal logging and ongoing deforestation.
Again in November 2020, noting the submission of the state government that the shortage of manpower to monitor the illegal logging of trees, the court ordered the urgent recruitment of forestry personnel and also identified the hotspots where illegalities run rampant.
In December last year, the state government said 33 newly recruited rangeland forest officers had been offered appointments. In addition, for 159 ranger posts and 10 ranger posts, a request has already been sent to the personnel selection committee to conduct recruitment and a new request for the establishment of 200 new ranger posts in the department has already been sent. been sent to the Department of Administrative Reforms for approval, he said.
Arunachal Pradesh forest cover
The total area comprising the entire forest cover of Arunachal Pradesh is divided into five classes which are water, non-forest, scrub, open forest, moderately dense forest and very dense forest.
A comparison between 2009 and 2019 in Arunachal Pradesh shows an overall decrease of 934.97 km2 in medium dense forest, an overall increase of 273.7 km2 in open forest and very dense forest. This indicates a net change of 661.27 km² in the negative.
The petitioner argued that the increase in non-forest area and decrease in moderately dense forest does not present a very encouraging picture for the state of Arunachal Pradesh, but an increase of 244.09 km2 in very dense forest. dense and 29.61 km2 in the open forest, which is certainly very encouraging, but the state must still take immediate and urgent measures to prevent the reduction of the moderately dense forest.