Forests have a great deal to offer in terms of resources that are imperative to our biologic and economic sustenance. However, these resources are not limitless and we must guard against wasting these.When the first forest policy was put into place in 1854, around 40 per cent of India was blanketed by thick forests. By 1980 we had just 12 per cent of thick forest cover.Since 1947 about 5.3 million hectares of forest area has been exploited for river valley projects, mining, industries, agriculture, townships, industries, roads and other such 'development' activities. Between 1991 and 1993, the northeast alone lost 783 sq. km. of its most unique forest habitats. And in the period between 1987 and 1989 Koraput in Orissa lost over 400 sq. km. of dense forests.The bridge between requirement for wood as fuel and the ability of forests to provide this on a sustainable basis was once as close as 106 million cubic metres and today, the difference is a glaring 207 million cubic metres.


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