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The Editorial Analysis- Harm in the Name of Good

Harm in the Name of Good- Relevance for UPSC Exam

  • GS Paper 3: Environment- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

The Editorial Analysis- Harm in the Name of Good_30.1

 

Harm in the Name of Good in news

  • The UN General Assembly has proclaimed March 21 as the International Day of Forests to celebrate and raise awareness about the importance of forests.
  • On this day, countries are encouraged to organise activities such as tree-planting campaigns to help increase the green cover, conserve biodiversity, and fight climate change.

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संपादकीय विश्लेषण- हार्म इन द नेम ऑफ गुड

Issues with Present Plantation Drives

  • Lack of Ecosystem Approach: Forests are complex ecosystems that are built over years due to the interplay of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, amphibians, fungi, microorganisms, water, soil, environmental conditions, and other factors.
    • Unless these players are part of the rebuilding process, trees will remain as green cover rather than the enchanting, natural, complex ecosystems that they are.
  • Destruction of Ecologically Rich Habitats: If wrong areas are selected for plantation, the natural habitat may get altered, which will cause habitat specialist species to become extinct.
    • This will make the local environment and ecosystem less resilient.
    • A classic example that we witness is the conversion of natural grasslands to wooded areas through tree planting.
    • The Great Indian Bustard, once nominated to be India’s national bird, is now staring at extinction with fewer than 200 individuals.
    • This is because many areas where these large birds thrived have been lost due to tree planting.
    • The Ranibennur Wildlife Sanctuary in central Karnataka, which was designated to conserve this species, is an example of this unscientific thinking.
    • The Jayamangali Conservation Reserve, another grassland habitat in Karnataka, hosted wolves.
    • But now there are leopards there as the whole area has been planted with acacia, anjan, eucalyptus and tamarind trees.
  • Faulty Plantation Drives: Some of these tree-planting campaigns claim to propagate native species. Native tree species is a very misused terminology in India.
    • Though neem, peepal, banyan, and anjan may be native to India, they are non-native to many parts of the country.
    • We tend to ignore this critical ecological criterion and take up planting of these species in all areas.
    • Planting any kind of native tree species may probably help in urban settings but not in natural habitats.

Amazon Rainforest Reaching Tipping Point

 

Restoring Natural Ecosystem of Forests

  • Making tree-planting activities friendly to local biodiversity: If we want to restore forests, we need to first understand systematically the native vegetation and the biodiversity that play a critical role in forming these forests.
    • If we plant a range of locally found indigenous species, biodiversity will make a comeback.
    • There is a rule of thumb in the tree-planting world: One should plant the right tree in the right place. And some add, ‘for the right reason’.
  • Monitoring the effectiveness: We should also monitor and examine the outputs of such tree-planting or restoration initiatives.
  • Promoting Assisted Natural Regeneration: Another solution is to let forests come back on their own through protection. This is called assisted natural regeneration and is cheaper and more effective method.
    • Scientific studies have shown that natural regeneration absorbs 40 times more carbon than plantations and hosts a lot more biodiversity.
  • Preserving Existing Biodiversity and Forest Ecosystems: Our utmost priority is the task of halting deforestation and protecting existing forests.
  • Investing in Forestry and Wildlife Conservation: A report by the Centre for Science and Environment says that the government has cut the budget for wildlife conservation by 47% between 2018 and 2021.
    • The government ought to increase its support for forests and other habitat protection.

 

India State of Forest Report 2021

India State of Forest Report 2021

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