Day of Forests

It is heartening to read that the International Day of Forests was observed on the 21st of March, 2020 by the Department of Forest, Ecology and Environment, Government of Jammu and Kashmir and theme of this year is ‘Forests and Biodiversity: Too precious to lose’.There is no doubt that we depend on forests for some of our basic needs required for our survival .Forests are home to rich and varied flora and fauna.Forests are referred to as the lungs on the earth as the leaves of the trees in the forests absorb the harmful Carbon Dioxide and release fresh Oxygen into the atmosphere and thus, clean the atmosphere. They help in causing rain and checking soil erosion.The soil in forests absorbs the rain water, which helps in checking sudden floods and ensuring water in summer when we need it the most.They provide us timber, fuelwood, fodder, medicine etc and provide livelihood and spiritual sustenance to the people, especially those living nearby.Similarly, a large number of species of animals and plants are found in the forests, which constitute the biodiversity. As a result of man’s reckless activities such as deforestation and clearing of forest land for industrialisation and urbanisation, many species of our rich biodiversity have either become extinct or are endangered.It is with this view that this day assumes significance and calls for action on the part of one and all to conserve and preserve our rich biodiversity and plant more and more trees to make up the loss caused due to deforestation in the times gone by.It is really nice to read that about 16% of the Indian mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and butterflies are found in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and that the total forest cover of UT of Jammu and Kashmir is around 55% of its geographical area.Let us, on this day,pledge to take care of our forests by avoiding human interference, planting trees, maintaining the quality of water of the ponds and wetlands.
Ashok Sharma,
Housing Colony,