THE FALLEN PILLARS -ISSUE STORY
Well!! The sanctified version of flora and fauna in Doon is too awful for words. Since the pre independence era, this city is famous for its climate. Uttarakhand formation diverted the focus from its famous natural habitat, to its urban development. Litchis, Buransh, Pines, Gulmohar and Eucalyptus were the most common trees found in Doon. It is for sure that deforestation of the region, to make the place suitable for rehabilitated citizens seems ironical, as far as the environmental conditions of Doon are considered. About 51% area of Doon is forest cover but, most of it comes under either cool- temperate or sub- tropical zone. This gives a clear cut idea that most of the forests remains at a height from main city. Hence, we can assume that the forest of Doon is at, the foothills of Mussoorie Himalaya range and some part of it is at Shivaliks too. So one can assume, that the valley have its lungs at the leeward side of Himalayas and Shivaliks Recently, there has been a severe deforestation between ISBT Dehradun and Haridwar in the name of NH72 expansion for heavy vehicles. Among the trees which were cut down, most were Eucalyptus, Sheesham and Sal. The NH 72 project is at ? same stage as it was four years ago, but it took only a week to cut down the trees.
At the same time, Kargi and ISBT area of Doon is suffering from severe air pollution. When asked by our team, most of the localities admitted that the trees were cut earlier but, there has been no problem regarding dust. Most of the Eucalyptus trees were cut in Clement Town and Tapovan region of the city in the name of road expansion. The major issue is that are we are losing our hope of reviving the Eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus has been a vast debate issue for foresters and policymakers. Foresters see this specie as the way to fulfil the requirements of timber hence; they support the socio forestry of Eucalyptus in Doon region. Whereas, environmentalists are against it, according to them, Eucalyptus degrades the biological properties of the soil. Most of the soil of the city is either agricultural or barren. So, for sure socio forestry can be the part of strategy, for community participation in driving attention towards afforestation. According to a paper by FRI, Dehradun socio forestry includes the area near the railway station, waste lands and roadside canals. The estimated per capita income by Eucalyptus plantation was high in 1980; about 1.5 million hectare of land was planted by socio forestry initiative.
According to critic Vandana Shiva, the most activated environmentalist and writer and also the owner of NGO, Navdanya, “Eucalyptus is nothing less than ecological fascism”. Following were the points given by Shiva against the eucalyptus in socio forestry in India:-
- It reduces the availability of water.
- It is nutrient intensive.
- It resists the growth of other plants in that region.
There is a contradictory conclusion by Forest Research Lab, Kanpur which says that, Eucalyptus gives more water efficiency as compared to any other native tree. According to them about 0.48 litre of water is used to produce 1 gram of wood, which is good for efficient production. After all these problems related to Eucalyptus Shiva conclude, “In Doon valley, the region where large vegetation is Eucalyptus, receives plentiful of rain; same effects were seen in Atlantic forest in Brazil”. Hence, Eucalyptus is still a good part for afforestation. The socio- forestry business in the region of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand is giving employment to 25000 people. MNREGA is also encouraging Eucalyptus plantation in Tarai and Bhabhar region of Garhwal and Kumaon where height above sea level is greater than 400 – 1000m. That is the reason Doon is best suitable for this tree. It’s a quick solution for soil erosion problem moreover in Garhwal region where in rainy season landslides are most common; this specie of tree can help to solve this problem. The main focus while adopting the Eucalyptus as socio forestry is to avoid bad forestry practicesIn past fifteen years after state formation, many things has changed, so our forestry policies. The state is compromising its beauty with temporary development. Now road side trees remains as concept, in fact only empty footpaths and pavements full of dust can be seen. The main city is only a concrete forest that was constructed due to urbanisation, the society played most important role in its formation. A well-educated society doesn’t mean a well civilised society. In rural area of Doon, the sustainable development is observed where people use resources as a gift from nature. In past, Uttarakhand has set an example by standing up for “chipko movement” to prevent its flora and fauna. The socio forestry seems to be a pass, through the conflict between development and ecology.