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The birth of the Himalayan mountain range began over 140 million years ago when two continents, the Gondwanaland and Eurasian, collided in the Tethyan Ocean. Thru the violent actions and shear brute force of Mother Nature, the world's highest, and ever changing mountain range was formed. Then in 1973, another collision took place in the Himalayas. This event, while lacking the violence of the first, has spread throughout the country of India with much of the same force and has sparked a movement that could prove to be just as momentous to millions of people. The event was the birth of the Chipko Movement. So what is the Chipko movement and how can this movement that started in a tiny village in the mountains of India have such substantial effects on an entire nation and possibly beyond its boundaries? To answer these questions, you must first understand the history leading up to 1973 and how the Chipko movement and its leaders have affected India's economic, ecological, and humanitarian needs.

The Uttarkhand Himalaya, the birthplace of the Chipko movement, is comprised of two regions, the Garhwal and Kumaon, which are located between Himachal Pradesh and Nepal. In the early 1800's, this region was heavily forested and saw very little human penetration from the outside world. The region was also relatively protected from human exploitation due to a dense marshland belt of jungle that separated it from the plains at the mouth of the Ganges River. Native hill people had settled in the region and because of the areas fertile valleys and heavy rainfall, they were able to provide themselves with abundance of their daily requirements. Thomas Skinner, a British military adventurer, lead an expedition thru this region in the early 1800's and described the region to be ˜a picture of the most delightful scenery, and most lovely spots on the face of the earth'. (Guha, p 16)

Then in 1815, following the Nepalese war, the Bri

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India’s Call to Save Their Forests

In India there is an ancient legend about a girl, Amrita Devi, who died trying to protect the trees that surrounded her village. The story recounts a time when the local Maharajah’s tree cutters arrived to cut the villager’s trees for wood for his new fortress. Amrita, with others, jumped in front of the trees and hugged them. In some versions of the tale their dramatic efforts prevented the forest’s destruction; in others Amrita dies in her valiant attempt.

It is this tale that inspired the actions of a group of mostly rural women who in the 1970s launched similar spectacular protest movements in India. For rural women, saving the environment is crucial to their economic survival. As primary food, fuel, and water gatherers, women have strong interests in reversing deforestation, desertification, and water pollution. The women who eke out a living in the Himalayan foothills, using its forests as sources of food, fuel, and forage for their animals, face a particularly severe challenge. The Himalayas, a young range subject to erosion, need forests on this steep slopes to allow the absorption of water and prevent flooding. Disintegration of Himalayan forests started over a century ago. In the 1960s, India’s push for national economic development cleared even more trees to export the wood to earn foreign exchange.The hill soil washed away, causing landslides, floods and silting in the rivers below the hills. Crops and houses too were destroyed, and women had to trudge further and further for their fuel, fodder and water. All in all, it was the women who were the main victims of India’s deforestation policies.

Against these harmful deforestation policies a movement called Chipko was born. “Chipko” in Hindi means to cling, reflecting the protesters main technique of throwing their arms around the tree trunks designated to be cut, and refusing to move. Women’s participation in the movement can be traced to a remote hill town where a contractor in 1973 had been given the right by the state to fell 3000 of trees for a sporting goods store. The area already was dangerously denuded. When the woodcutters were scheduled to appear, the men were enticed away from the village leaving the women at home busy with household chores. As soon as the woodcutters appeared, the alarm was sounded and the village’s female leader, a widow in her 50s, collected twenty-seven women and rushed into the forest. The women pleaded with the woodcutter calling the forest their “maternal home,” and explaining the consequences of felling the trees. The woodcutters, shouting and abusing the women, threatened them with guns. The women in turn threatened to hug the earmarked trees and die with them And it worked! The unnerved laborers left, the contractor backed off. In 1974, women in a nearby area used the same tree hugging technique in order to protest the clearing of their forest lands. And in 1977, in another area, women tied a sacred threads around trees fated for death. a symbolic gesture in Hindu custom confirming the bond of brother-sister relationships. They declared that their trees would be saved even if it cost them their lives.


Women in the Chipko Movemnet in India discussing deforestation

In the 1980s the ideas of the Chipko movement spread, often by women talking about them at water places, on village paths, and in markets. Women decided they were not powerless; there were actions they could take and a movement which would support them. Songs and slogans were created.

In one the contractor says:

“You foolish village women, do you know what these forest bear?
Resin, timber, and therefore foreign exchange!”

The women answer:

“Yes, we know. What do the forests bear?
Soil, water, and pure air,
Soil, water, and pure air.”

As an organized effort, the Chipko movement has had some success. Sometimes it won moratoriums through government bans or court battles; sometimes it managed to replant trees in areas close to village homes. In 1987 Chipko was chosen for a “Right to Livelihood Award,” known as the “alternate Nobel” prize honor. The honor was rightly deserved for this small movement dominated by women which had became a national call to save forests.

To learn about Wangari Maathai who won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize
for founding a movement to save the trees in Kenya click here

The Chipko Movement essays

The Chipko Movement

The region was also relatively protected from human exploitation due to a dense marshland belt of jungle that separated it from the plains at the mouth of the Ganges River. Native hill people had settled in the region and because of the areas fertile valleys and heavy rainfall, they were able to provide themselves with abundance of their daily requirements. Thomas Skinner, a British military adventurer, lead an expedition thru this region in the early 1800's and described the region to be 'a picture of the most delightful scenery, and most lovely spots on the face of the earth'. (Guha, p 16)

Then in 1815, following the Nepalese war, the British occupied the Kumaon region as well as much of the Garhwal territory. Garhwal was divided in two; the eastern portion directly under British control and the western part became a princely State known as Tehri Garhwal. With the British, came the industrial revolution to India. The British quickly found that the chir-pines in the lower elevations would not be suitable for the much needed railway sleepers, so they turned their gaze upwards into the higher elevations of the mountains. Here they found the deodar tree. Thes

Unasylva - No

Shobita Jainis a professor in the Department of Sociology of the University of the West Indies in Saint Augustine, Trinidad. She was formerly a research associate at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. India.

The Chipko Movement has attracted world-wide attention. The image of poor, rural women in the hills of northern India standing with their arms around trees to prevent them being cut down is a romantic and compelling one. The reality, in many ways, fits the image: the Chipko Movement can indeed be considered an important success story in the fight to secure women's rights, in the process of local community development through forestry and in environmental protection. But there are more complicated implications as well. It is important to understand the history of Chipko and the context in which it arose - and is still evolving.

· Since no society is found in a state of perfect structural equilibrium, there are always situations of conflict. Each society, moreover, has institutionalized ways and means of articulating and resolving such conflicts. If a need is felt for altering or transforming structures in a certain fashion, some form of collective mobilization of people and their resources is resorted to; such an activity is given the name of "social movement". By contrast, there is also sometimes collective resistance to social change. Social movements, in short, can aim at either changing or preserving the way things are - or both.

In the case of women's role in the Chipko Movement, it is both. (Chipko. a Hindi word meaning "hugging", is used to describe the movement because local village women literally "hugged" trees, interposing their bodies between the trees and the loggers to prevent their being cut down.) The Chipko Movement is an ecological movement, concerned with the preservation of forests and thereby with the maintenance of the traditional ecological balance in the sub-Himalayan region, where hill people have traditionally enjoyed a positive relationship with their environment. Thus, it strives to maintain the traditional status quo between the people and the environment. Its proponents have tried to demonstrate that the past and present forest policies of the Indian Government have negatively affected the ecological balance of the area and caused the uprooting of indigenous people who previously depended on forest for their survival and who preserved the forest by maintaining a strong bond of veneration and love toward it.

The Chipko Movement, which has now spread from one end of the Himalayas in Kashmir to the other in Arunachal Pradesh, is endeavouring to alter the Government's forest policy by insisting on maintenance of the traditional statusquo in the Himalayan and other forest regions of India. In this sense, there is resistance to change and to an opening up of the area for technological development.

The collective mobilization of women for the cause of preserving forests has brought about a situation of conflict regarding their own status in society. Women have demanded to share in the decision-making process along with men; hence, there has been opposition by men to women's involvement in the Chipko Movement. Women are, on the one hand, seeking alterations in their position in society and, on the other hand, supporting a social movement that is resisting change. To understand this, it is crucial to ask why women support the movement, what the extent of their awareness is, and how many women in the hill areas are actually participating in the movement.

Women and Chipko. Leaders of the Indian independence movement at one stage decided to seek women's participation, and Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to Indian women to come out of their homes to work for the cause. In the Chipko Movement, women became involved through a different process. There was a sustained dialogue between the Chipko workers (originally', men) and the victims of the environmental disasters in the hill areas of Garhwal (chiefly women). Women, being solely in charge of cultivation, livestock and children, lost all they had because of recurring floods and landslides. The message of the Chipko workers made a direct appeal to them. They were able to perceive the link between their victimization and the denuding of mountain slopes by commercial interests. Thus, sheer survival made women support the movement.

Why men did not see these connections and women did has to do with the way the subsistence economy is organized in this area. It is also related to the way men perceive the Chipko Movement as a "back-to-nature" strategy and to their preference for a traditional type of economic development that takes place around them.

However, whether the Chipko workers realized it or not - or intended it or not - the women who participated in the Chipko meetings, processions and other programmes have become aware of their potentialities and are now demanding a share in the decision-making process at the community level.

FORESTERS ARE LISTENING TO HER Chipko has depended upon women and girls

The Garhwal division of Uttar Pradesh (one of India's northern states) comprises the four districts of Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Tehri and Pauri and covers a total area of 27 002 km², with a population of more than 70 0000 persons, less than 1 percent of the total population of the state. Uttarkashi and Chamoli, both border districts having the Indo-Tibetan boundary to the north, are the least-populated districts of the state.

The Indian Social Institute of New Delhi financed a two-month study visit to the Chamoli district by a group including the author in September-October 1982. Chamoli was selected as our unit of investigation because the Chipko Movement, initiated by a group of Sarvodaya workers (followers of Mahatma Gandhi's disciple Vinoba Bhave), originated here. The total area of the Chamoli district is 9 125 km². Ninety-six percent of the district population lives in villages. There are 1649 villages in all, and of these 1488 are inhabited. Of the total population, 58 percent are gainfully employed. Sixty percent of the total female population of the district are "working" while only 55 percent of the men in the district work. Further, 97 percent of working women are engaged in cultivation, as compared with only 72 percent of the men.

Not only do females in the Chamoli district outnumber males by four percentage points, but the single-member female households outnumber single-member male households. The majority in these single-member households belong to the 50-plus age group. Male migration from the hill areas to find work in the armed services and other jobs in the plains is fairly common, with women left to look after land, livestock and families.

Subsistence. A visit to the area makes one realize that topographic and climatic conditions require special adaptation by people who have to work extra hard to survive. During the 1982 field trip, seven villages were visited and open-ended interviews held with rural women and men. Unlike that of the villages in the Indo-Gangetic plains, the rural population of this area depends on land as well as forest for its subsistence and other survival requirements. Such dependence makes the character of social life in this region significantly different from that of the rural population in the plains. Nearly every family in the village owns land, usually less than half a hectare. Annual crops grown here are wheat, paddy, pulses and oil seeds. Farming is mainly dependent on monsoon rains rather than irrigation channels.

In general, subsistence farming by an average family of five members is possible for three to six months per year. For the rest of the year, villagers have to look for other sources of subsistence. The nearest source is the forest around them. Thus, settled agriculture is coupled with the foraging of minor forest produce. The villagers also use wood from the forest for various purposes, such as agricultural tools, dwellings, cooking fuel and fodder for grazing cattle. The use of forest products is expected to increase.

The women who participated in the Chipko Movement have become aware of their potentialities and are now demanding a share in the decision-making process at the community level.

The Chipko movement

T he Chipko movement

In the 1970s, an organized resistance to the destruction of forests spread throughout India and came to be known as the Chipko movement. The name of the movement comes from the word 'embrace', as the villagers hugged the trees, and prevented the contractors' from felling them.

Not many people know that over the last few centuries many communities in India have helped save nature. One such is the Bishnoi community of Rajasthan. The original ’Chipko movement’ was started around 260 years back in the early part of the 18 th century in Rajasthan by this community. A large group of them from 84 villages led by a lady called Amrita Devi laid down their lives in an effort to protect the trees from being felled on the orders of the Maharaja (King) of Jodhpur. After this incident, the maharaja gave a strong royal decree preventing the cutting of trees in all Bishnoi villages.

In the 20th century, it began in the hills where the forests are the main source of livelihood, since agricultural activities cannot be carried out easily. The Chipko movement of 1973 was one of the most famous among these. The first Chipko action took place spontaneously in April 1973 in the village of Mandal in the upper Alakananda valley and over the next five years spread to many districts of the Himalayas in Uttar Pradesh. It was sparked off by the government's decision to allot a plot of forest area in the Alaknanda valley to a sports goods company. This angered the villagers because their similar demand to use wood for making agricultural tools had been earlier denied. With encouragement from a local NGO (non-governmental organization), DGSS (Dasoli Gram Swarajya Sangh), the women of the area, under the leadership of an activist, Chandi Prasad Bhatt, went into the forest and formed a circle around the trees preventing the men from cutting them down.

The success achieved by this protest led to similar protests in other parts of the country. From their origins as a spontaneous protest against logging abuses in Uttar Pradesh in the Himalayas, supporters of the Chipko movement, mainly village women, have successfully banned the felling of trees in a number of regions and influenced natural resource policy in India. Dhoom Singh Negi, Bachni Devi and many other village women, were the first to save trees by hugging them. They coined the slogan: 'What do the forests bear? Soil, water and pure air'. The success of the Chipko movement in the hills saved thousands of trees from being felled.

Some other persons have also been involved in this movement and have given it proper direction. Mr Sunderlal Bahuguna, a Gandhian activist and philosopher, whose appeal to Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, resulted in the green-felling ban. Mr Bahuguna coined the Chipko slogan: 'ecology is permanent economy'. Mr Chandi Prasad Bhatt, is another leader of the Chipko movement. He encouraged the development of local industries based on the conservation and sustainable use of forest wealth for local benefit. Mr Ghanasyam Raturi, the Chipko poet, whose songs echo throughout the Himalayas of Uttar Pradesh, wrote a poem describing the method of embracing the trees to save them from felling:

' Embrace the trees and
Save them from being felled;
The property of our hills,
Save them from being looted.'

The Chipko protests in Uttar Pradesh achieved a major victory in 1980 with a 15-year ban on green felling in the Himalayan forests of that state by the order of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India. Since then, the movement has spread to many states in the country. In addition to the 15-year ban in Uttar Pradesh, the movement has stopped felling in the Western Ghats and the Vindhyas and has generated pressure for a natural resource policy that is more sensitive to people's needs and ecological requirements.

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Chipko Movement (Tree Hugging Movement)

Chipko Movement (Tree Hugging Movement)

The Chipko movement was started by Mr. Sundarlal Bahuguna in Tehri-Garhwal district of Uttaranchal against ruthless felling of trees and destruction of forests by contractors.

The movement gathered momentum in 1978 when the women faced police firings and other tortures.

Though the objectives of the movement were broad based, the main objective was to protect the trees on the Himalayan slopes from the axes of contractors of forest.

The movement was organized to oppose the ruthless destruction of nature to achieve short term gains. Mr Bahuguna emphasized the importance of trees in environment which check the erosion of soil, cause rains and provide pure air. The women of Advani village of Tehri-Garhwal tied the sacred thread around trunks of trees and they hugged the trees, hence it was called Chipko Movement When anybody tried to cut trees villagers faced police firing and later courted arrest in February 1978.

This Chipko Movement under the leadership of Sri Sundarlal Bahuguna spread in other villages of Tehri-Garhwal. Mr Bahuguna presented a plan for the protection of soil and water through ban on tree felling in the Himalayas at the meeting of United Nations Environmental Protection (UNEP) held in London in June 1982. He emphasized that every standing green tree in the forest protects us from avalanches and landslides, purifies our atmosphere, saves our soil, water and other components of environment.

Chipko Movement is now a movement for planting of food, fuel, fibre, fodder and fertilizer yielding trees to make the people self-sufficient in all their basic needs. It would generate a decentralized and long term policy which will conserve the environment and bring everlasting peace, prosperity and happiness to mankind. Mr Bahuguna took this mission along with his dedicated workers and marched 3,000 km from Srinagar (Garhwal) to Siliguri. Mr. Bahuguna has focussed public attention for protection and conservation of forests which were being destroyed due to construction of Tehri Dam.

Tehri Dam on the Bhagirathi Ganga in Uttaranchal at the foot hills of Himalayas is big project of billions of rupees. The dam has displaced 85,000 people and has submerged the Tehri town and 100 villages. The site is prone to intense seismic activity. The 3,200 million tonnes of water could cause a major earth tremor.

In the event of a disaster, Deoprayag, Haridwar and Rishikesh would be divested and thousands of acres of agricultural land will be submerged The efforts were made to pressurize Government of India to stop further construction of this dam because this dam could destroy the forests, wildlife, tribal habitation and disturb the ecosystem of that area. It is unfortunate that the construction of Tehri dam completed and has started functioning. Much ecological damage is apparent.

People from France, Sweden, Germany, Switzerland and several other countries have approached Mr. Bahuguna to get experience of this movement. In an International meeting held on June 5, in Stockholm to celebrate “World Environment Day” the following statement was given about Chipko Movement.

“A powerful environmental movement has grown up on the slopes of mountains of Himalaya Villagers have created an effective non-violent way to stop the devastation by forest industries. When the axe men come, the people form circle around the trees and they embrace the trees. This has given the movement its name Chipko Andolan, the tree hugging movement.”

The following suggestions are made by the organizers of Chipko movement:

1. All commercial green tree feelings should be stopped forthwith.

2. No new contracts should be entered by forest departments with the industrialists to supply raw materials and old contracts should be revised, especially those made for long-term supply of raw materials at cheap rates.

3. Pine trees damaged due to extraction of resin should be given rest for a period of 10 years.

4. A massive programme for setting up biogas plants, especially in the lower region be taken up. Night soil and other refuge of the cities be utilized by bio-gas industries.

5. Every water source should be trapped to generate hydroelectric power. People should be encouraged to set up their community power houses.

6. Plantation of the trees for food, fodder, fuel, fertilizer etc. should be encouraged.

7. All branches of forest department should be integrated into one. At a later stage integration of Agriculture, Horticulture and Forest department should be considered into one Land Use Dept.”.

8. There should be strong people’s participation in protection of environment alone cannot achieve success. Foot-marches should be organized in all districts to create general awareness in public regarding protection of environment.

In Chipko Movement there is greater people participation for soil, conservation and plant protection. The rural people have preferred their own priorities. Conservation work first began in the Chipko villages not for protecting trees but walls were built around agricultural fields to protect from wild animals.

The grasses grew rapidly in the protected area n the fields men this benefit became clear to women, they began to organize themselves for protecting and afforesting other patches of common lands. While trees take -any years to bear fruit, grasses grow faster in a protected area and can provide fodder in few months. The Chipko women have devised a simple way for sharing this produce. The head of the village Mahila Mangal Dal announces once a month a particular day on which one member from each family can take away as much grass as she can. Thus the role of women in ecological regeneration is very significant.

Today many voluntary organizations in the country are involved in environmental issues although their objects are different. Some have aim in preventing deforestation, while other are interested in afforestation. Some are interested to prevent the construction of dams. Some prevent water and air pollution. Among all these organizations Chipko movement in the Uttaranchal Himalayas, is the oldest and most famous of all the organisations which have played a major role in deforestation.

There is another parallel movement in the South ‘the Apiko Movement’ the western Ghats of Karnataka started by Medha Patekar. Dams like silent valley and Bethi have already been stopped because of strong people’s protests through this movement but again these are heading towards completion. Kerala Sasta Sahitya Parishad is another important organization which made efforts against water pollution of the Chaliyar River in Kerala by a Rayon mill. There are many others who are doing excellent work in mobilizing people to prevent further ecological destruction and bring about ecological regeneration and protection.

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Short essay on Classification of Forests and Wildlife

Short essay on Classification of Forests and Wildlife

The 'plants' and 'animals' of a forest are called 'flora' and 'fauna' respectively. Due to the presence of a large number of species (of plants and animals), forests are said to be 'biodiversity hotspots'. One of the main aims of the management of forests and wildlife is to conserve the biodiversity which we have inherited.

This is because the loss of biodiversity leads to the loss of ecological stability of the forest ecosystem. We will now discuss the various stakeholders in the management of forests and their aspirations.

A person with an interest or concern in something is called a stakeholder. When we consider the management (or conservation) of forests, we find that there are four stakeholders in it. These are:

1. The people who live in and around the forest and are dependent to some extent on forest produce (forest products) to lead their life.

2. The Forest Department of the Government which owns the forest land and controls the resources from the forest.

3. The industrialists who use various forest products for their factories, such as wood for making paper and furniture, and tendu leaves for making bidis, etc.

4. The forest and wildlife activists who want to see the forests in their pristine form (original condition).

We will now describe what each of these stakeholder groups needs or gets out of the forests. The people who live in villages around the forests take firewood (fuel) from the forest trees. They usually lop (cut) the branches of the trees and pluck their leaves but do not cut down the whole trees. They take bamboo from the forest to make their huts and baskets for collecting and storing food materials.

The local people take wood for making agricultural implements and gather fruits, nuts and medicinal herbs from the forest. They also collect green fodder and graze their cattle in the forest. On the whole, people living near the forests usually use the resources of the forests in a way that much damage is not done to the environment.

In fact, the people living near forests had developed practices to ensure that the forest resources were used in a sustainable manner. So, the damage caused to forests cannot be attributed to only the local people living around the forests.

The Forest Department has a major stake in the resources of forests and wildlife because it is a good source of revenue for the Government. Most of the forest revenue comes from the sale of cut down forest trees for timber (which is wood used in buildings and furniture).

In order to plant trees for timber such as pine, teak, and eucalyptus, etc. huge areas of forests are cleared of all vegetation. This destroys a large amount of biodiversity in the area which harms the environment. The management of protected forest areas by keeping the local people out completely has some ill effects too.

This will become clear from the following example. The great Himalayan National Park is a protected forest area which contains alpine ' meadows that were earlier grazed by outside sheep in summer. So, nomadic shepherds (having no permanent home) drove their flock of sheep up from the valley to this area every summer.

After the formation of Himalayan National Park, the grazing by sheep was not allowed. This has a harmful effect on the growth of vegetation because, without regular grazing by sheep, the grass first grows very tall and then falls over, preventing fresh growth from below. The developmental projects like building roads through the forest area and construction of dams are also damaging the forests.

Even the large inflow of tourists to the forests for observing wildlife, building rest-houses for tourists within the forest and dumping of waste materials (like plastic bottles, etc.) by the tourists in the forest, are damaging the forest environment.

Industrialists have a major vested interest in forest resources. They consider the forests as merely a source of raw material for their industry (or factories). Some of the major industries which are based on forest produce are: Timber industry, Paper manufacturing industry (or Paper mills), Lac industry and Sports equipment industry. In fact, most of the deforestation is caused by industrial needs. It is true that wood from the forest trees is needed for manufacturing various types of goods required for development but at the same time efforts should be made to make up the loss of trees cut down from the forest.

This can be done by planting saplings in the forest in place of cut down trees. It should be noted that the destruction of forests affects not just the availability of forest products but also the quality of soil and the sources of water.

A major programme called silviculture has been started to replenish the forests by growing more trees and plants. Thus, silviculture is a major programme started to replenish depleting forests. The silviculture programme has many advantages:

(i) It produces a large quantity of raw materials for industry (like timber and paper industry)

(ii) It increases the area of earth under forests (which is good for the conservation of wildlife)

(iii) It maintains a perfect water cycle in nature

(iv) It prevents soil erosion

(v) It prevents floods

There are certain people (called activists) who are not dependent on the forests (or wildlife) in any way but who want forests and wildlife to be conserved to prevent undue damage to the environment.

They started by working for the conservation of large wild animals such as tigers, lions, elephants, and rhinoceros but they now recognise the need to preserve forests as well. This is because without preserving forests, we cannot conserve wildlife (wild animals and birds). We will now give two instances where ordinary people have played a great role in the conservation of forests by preventing them from being cut down indiscriminately.

There is a Bishnoi community in Rajasthan state of our country for whom conservation of forests and wildlife has been a religious belief. In 1731, Amrita Devi Bishnoi led a group of 363 persons who sacrificed their lives for the protection of khejri trees in khejrali village near Jodhpur in Rajasthan.

This shows the determination of some people to work for the conservation of their natural environment. The Government has recently instituted an 'Amrita Devi Bishnoi National Award for Wildlife Conservation' in the memory of Amrita Devi Bishnoi.

Another example of the contribution of common people towards the conservation of forests is the Chipko Andolan (Hug the Trees Movement). The Chipko Andolan originated from an incident in a remote village called 'Reni' in Garhwal, high up in the Himalayas in the early 1970s.

A logging contractor had been allowed to cut down trees in a forest close to a village. The people of the village did not want this forest to be cut down because it would have spoiled their healthy environment. One day, when the men folk of the village were out for work, the contractor's workers came in the forest to cut down the trees.

In the absence pf men, the women of the village reached the forest quickly and clasped the tree trunks with their arms, preventing the workers from cutting down the trees. The forest trees were thus saved. The Chipko Movement quickly spread across all the communities and helped in the conservation of forests.