Tripura – Forests and Forest Department
Tripura situated at the north eastern region of India. The state has approx 50 to 60 percent of forest area which also includes reserve areas. The forest department of Tripura is committed to preserve and increase the forest area in order to meet the ecological and industrial requirements. The department has laid down the following objectives to fulfil its requirements
- Prevention of degradation of resources and improving their quality.
- Restoration of degraded forest land.
- Maintaining ecological balance and ecological restoration.
- Creation of livelihood opportunities through sustainable use of resources.
- Other topical issues like climate change and generation of synergy with other organs of the Govt. are also being addressed.
The strategies to be adopted includes:
- Quantitative and qualitative appraisal of forestry and biodiversity resources in the State for informed planning, execution and monitoring.
- Improving the natural resource base of the State and conservation of biodiversity for “Livelihood Support” and “Sustainable Economic Security” and prevention and mitigation of climate change effects.
- Ecological recovery/restoration through protection of ecosystems and strengthening of Infrastructure.
- Capacity building, Technological Interventions, Human Resource Development, Research and Development, Awareness and Education.
The forest department and the state govt. of Tripura are also facing several issues which are really required to be addressed to prevent the crucial flora and fauna of Tripura. The various sectoral issues that have been observed include the following:
Almost entire area of forests of the state has been subjected to severe degradation. During survey of forest resources in the state by FSI in 1989, it is shown that majority of forest areas (up to 72.73%) are heavily to moderately degraded.
Influx of people from Bangladesh
There had been large influx of people in Tripura from the neighboring country, the erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). The fast growth in population (density 304 per square km., 2001 census) in the State, coupled with poor infrastructure and lack of alternative livelihood options resulted in mounting pressure on forest and forestland. This has also led to reduction in per capita forest area from 0.97 ha to a present level of 0.18 ha. and encroachments and over exploitation of forest resources. Smuggling of forest produce through 856 km long porous border with Bangladesh has been a serious problem. Though now most of the border has been fenced, some gaps still remain. Smuggling through rivers still continues.
During implementation of The Schedule Tribes and other Traditional Forest Dweller (Recognition of Forest Right) Act, 2006, 116000 families have been identified as dependent upon forest land. Over 166000 ha of forest land rights have been recognized and necessary documents have been issued to the beneficiaries.
Encroachment of forestland is a serious threat to forests and its conservation. As per record maintained by the Forest Department, the position is alarming and needs special attention to tackle this problem. The position of encroachment up to 1991 is shown below:
|Period||Number of Families||Area Encroached (ha)|
Forest fires are common and frequent in the plains (around 20% of the total forest area of the State) as the villagers, at the end of winter, set fire to get flush of new grass for their cattle. Forest Survey of India (1993) has estimated that forest fire has led to heavy to moderate degradation of around 6.16% of the forests.
According to livestock census of 1992, there were 14.683 lacs of domestic animals (cattle, sheep and goat) in the state with 2.9% annual rate of increase. In a survey (1997) it is reported that the domestic animals are now 19.17 lacs. It is estimated that 60% of this animal population graze in the forest area and cause soil compaction and heavy damage to the forest plantations and natural regeneration areas. The intensity of such disturbances, especially near the habitation, is far beyond the carrying capacity of the forests.
There are no grazing grounds. The community lands for grazing purpose in villages have either been encroached upon or diverted to other land use. Thus grazing constitutes a threat to forest conservation in the State. Enforcement of strict control or imposition of restrictions on such disturbance under present socio-economic condition is practically impossible. A well designed interface with ARDD for rational livestock planning and augmenting fodder availability is urgently required.
Unrecorded Removal of Forest Produce
The adverse effect of unrecorded removal of forest produce is steadily increasing with increase in population, without corresponding increase in forest area. There is immense pressure on forests from fringe dwellers for basic requirements, as well as from miscreants involved in illegal felling and smuggling of forest resources across the border. This has lead to severe degradation of existing forest resources in the State. Simultaneously the forests are viewed as a source of livelihood by the millions living below poverty line.
The Forest Conservation & Rehabilitation Programme
The department has laid down several different projects in order to achieve the projected targets and strategies. These projects would help the forest department in to execute the task with better planning in a result oriented approach. The various projects of the govt. include the following:
Programme I: Natural Resource Appraisal and Inventorization.
Programme II: Consolidation and qualitative improvement of Resources.
Programme III: Capacity Building for Goal Realization.
Programme IV: People’s intervention in Policy making, Programme Implementation and Sustainable Utilization of Resources.