UTILITY OF FORESTS
Forests are the most precious natural wealth of all country. Trees perform two very important botanical functions. They inhale Nitrogen and breathe out Oxygen for the benefit of all creatures. Their second important function is that their roots suck water from the depth of land and keep this water on the surface of the earth. This checks land erosion. Because of this function trees keep the mountain slopes intact with green vegetation.
A forest has thousands of trees. Their greenery, besides giving joy to human eyes, checks the desert rushing towards fertile land. The Rajasthan desert was making inroads in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana. All these states have been developing forests on their border. It has checked the growth of deserts.
Forests are the store house of timber, many natural fruits, leaves used in bides and for preparing dining trays. A large number of drugs in the form of roots, bushes, and plants are available in forests. The Ayurvedic system of medicines totally depends upon forests. Chiraunji or Charauli is a free gift of forests to men in India. The vanavasis i.e. the tribals living in forests have everything they need in the forests. Ten crores of tribals in India sustain their lives on forest wealth.
Forests invite rains. If there are no forests there won’t be rainfall in the area and the encroachment of desert would increase. It is rather sad that the forests are being cut in many states in India. It has created problems especially in Missouri in U.P. Mahabaleshwar in Mumbai, Moochikunda forests, 400 km north of Trivandrum and Muthikulam forest in Palghat District. Chipko movement was started by Mr. Bahuguna an environment activist in Almora in U.P. A similar movement Appiko has been started in the South.
In the USA the environmental hazards were felt by the people. As the people have great environmental consciousness they planned the growth of forests. Trees are after all to be felled for timber and many other things. They have made a voluntary rule that if a tree is to be felled after five years or ten years two trees must be grown in the area today. If we too have this consciousness we can save the country from a future calamity.