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Forests and Forestry Practices: Biodiversity Conservation

Updated on September 3, 2014

Recommended forestry practices

Forestry is a set of practices used to conserve and replenish forest trees. It involves the following.

  • Cutting of overlapping tree branches in demarcated area
  • Clearing of land for afforestation purposes
  • Obtaining good quality seeds and saplings for planting
  • Overseeing the planting process
  • Care for new saplings

Threat of increasing pollution

Pollution is increasing and forests decreasing. With rising urbanization, more trees are being cut down and carbon dioxide levels increase. Biodiversity present in forests needs to be conserved and for this we must adopt new forestry practices.

Greenhouse gases are making global temperatures to increase to such an extent that polar ice cap is melting at higher rate than usual.

Biosphere consisting of plants and trees are integral part of evolution and existence of life. It forms an important link in the food chain. Animals need plants for food and for their habitat. Many animals live in forests and so depletion of forests will affect them adversely.

Forests are vanishing

Forests are also wiped out due to inefficient care and poor management of soil. Conservation of soils in and around river basins is possible if there is enough forest cover. The roots of trees bind soil and prevent it from being washed away by rainwater or river flow.

Tree roots bind soil effectively

Afforestation is most effective way to conserve soil
Afforestation is most effective way to conserve soil | Source

Price of progress

When urbanization takes place too fast, there is no time or space for reallocation or redirecting anything. Roads cut through prime forest areas that are home to unique species cutting off their habitat and thus destroying their lives. If there is time, these species could be reallocated or the roads could be diverted to avoid harming these delicate organisms.

Indiscriminate use of forest by products leads to destruction of integrity of forest. Forest loses some link in their evolutionary chain and thus forests are depleted. However, this can be offset to an extent, if one adopts afforestation. One should ensure that deforestation is curtailed through suitable legislation.

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Impact of lesser forest cover

Decrease in area of forest area has a negative impact on ecosystem. Other than leaching and soil erosion, it has a secondary effect of increasing global warming because there is less number of trees to trap the atmospheric carbon dioxide. Decrease in forest cover occurs commonly due to one of the following reasons.

i. Expansion of urban areas to those under forest cover

ii. Overutilization of forest resources

iii. Lack of afforestation measures

iv. Deforestation without sufficient authority or benefit

Afforestation near waterbodies

Mangroves help arrest soil erosion
Mangroves help arrest soil erosion | Source

Need for effective forestry practice

  1. Soil conservation
  2. Increased biodiversity
  3. Help save ecosystem
  4. Decreases greenhouse gases
  5. Increases earning

Action of Government

Forests are vast pools of biodiversity that link various life forms in ecosystem chain. Evolution depends on forests for its support in keeping this biodiversity alive as well as for its role in serving to reduce carbon dioxide levels in atmosphere.

Ministry of Environment and Forests is controlling authority on all activities related to promotion, planning, coordination and implementation of policies or programmes of Indian Government related to matters involving wildlife, environmental protection, forestry policies, pollution and biodiversity conservation. They have initiated several schemes and projects including National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).

Law of Land India Forests

Afforestation measure to control soil erosion

Leaching of soil normally takes place in areas situated at high altitude. Water washes away the nutrient content and thereby depletes the soil. To prevent this, environmental agencies or the landowners resort to massive afforestation on the slopes. This helps prevent further washing away of soils.

Importance of biodiversity for our ecosystem

Forests are rich in biodiversity
Forests are rich in biodiversity | Source

Agroforestry and forest farming

Agroforestry and forest farming are among the newest forestry practices that help preserve and improve biodiversity content. Agroforestry envisages use of land in forests for planting crops or for use by livestock or both. The person who practices agroforestry helps preserve integrity and prosperity of forest area as well as for his or her personal benefit such as developing crops like ginseng or shitake mushrooms. Non-forest products like fungi, straw and ferns are available in plenty to the agro-forester.

Forest farming thus is cultivation of crops under forest cover that has undergone modification to suit the crop that the cultivator plans to raise.

Mushroom farming in forest

An example of this would be raising fungus as food source. Shitake is most commonly grown mushroom in the forest. Steps involved in production would be the following.

1) Determining and placing of logs for growing mushroom

2) Inoculation of logs with fungus

3) Letting the mushroom grow

4) Harvesting

5) Marketing

  • Choosing the right log is most important. It is better to use hardwoods like oak since conifers will not be suitable. The chosen logs must be medium sized about 4 – 6 feet in length and 6 – 7 inches in diameter. This will help to move the logs around without difficulty. Once the fungus begins to grow, the logs will be slippery and so handling heavy weights will be tedious if not impossible.
  • Next, we have the inoculation procedure. This means fungus must be brought in close contact with growing medium, in this case the log. Threads of fungus seeded in sawdust form the spawn that is used in inoculation. It is important to start the procedure as soon as trees are felled. If you delay, there will be natural bacteria and fungus growth and the spawn will have to compete with this to survive. The spawn is placed in 6” holes drilled inside the bark and the hole is covered with molten wax.
  • Logs once inoculated are placed under the canopy of forest trees to help preserve moisture content. Logs are immersed in water for 1 – 2 days. This will force them to produce fungus. These logs are stacked against a support and left alone.
  • After a period of 1 week or 10 days, there are primary formations of mushrooms. Within another 10 days, mushrooms are fully grown and can be harvested.
  • Marketing of mushrooms depends on locality. Care has to be taken not to press or damage mushrooms during transportation. If you use covers to package, make sure there are holes in them for mushroom to breathe.

Mushrooms on vertically places logs

Mushrooms grow quickly in forests
Mushrooms grow quickly in forests | Source

Prognosis of changes adopted

People have adapted to change and will continue to do so. If they find there is no way they will be allowed to cut trees down, they will build better houses and use higher quality paper for their writing purposes. However, this must come because of awareness and not by legislative force. For this, one has to educate the masses on need for conservation and preservation of biodiversity and tell them of the latest forestry practices that would benefit them. This has to happen sooner than later.

Most people understand basic conservation principles from their kitchen garden. We need to tackle the threats now. Only the scale is different. Economics of forests and kitchen garden are the same, only the choice of crops may vary. Even flower gardens and pollination help you understand dynamics of forests and its biodiversity. We have to recreate forest land fast.

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    Vivian Sudhir 3 years ago from Madurai, India

    Thanks teaches12345, it is so nice to see you. Hope your Hubs are blossoming and growing well.

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    Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

    What would we do without ginseng or shitake mushrooms? I don't think people realize how much our carelessness affects what we value in life. This is a good message and I hope people take note of the warnings and good advice.