HYDERABAD: Teak (Tectona grandis) no longer figures in the top five tree species in Telangana. Felling of the timber tree species has increased so much that the inventory indicates that teak no longer figures among the top five species. This is revealed by the latest report ‘State of Environment Report-TS’, sponsored by the ministry of environment, forests, climate changes. The report has recently been released in the state.
The report also says that the forests of Telangana are subjected to relentless anthropogenic pressure due to increase in human population over the past few decades.
There is heavy dependence on forests for grazing cattle, which is leading to degradation and loss of natural regeneration. Compounding the problem are fires, rampant in the dry deciduous forests. The major reason for the loss of forests in the state is due to encroachments, followed by forest fires.
“There is extensive destruction of young crop for fencing individual households as well as farmlands. More than 60 per cent of the households still depend on firewood for cooking. The destruction of habitat for meeting the firewood needs of people is quite high. One study carried out by Forest Academy, Dulapally, indicated that 40 per cent of the value of removal of non-timber forest produce annually from the forests of Telangana is due to firewood, fencing material and housing material,” the report revealed.
The earlier practice of regularisation of encroachments with a perceived notion that it would solve the problem permanently has encouraged more and more people to break the law and encroach forest lands. Large-scale irrigation projects with extensive canal networks have further encouraged villagers to encroach on new forest areas for agriculture.
Due to a large number of vacancies in forest department unfilled, the average beat size is 25 sqkm. Developmental activities in the Left-wing extremism-affected districts such as extending permanent road network to interior forest villages have opened these pristine forest areas to exploitation, the report said.
Scheme on to distribute teak saplings to farmers
As part of its prestigious Telanganaku Haritha Haram project, the state government had in May last year announced distribution of 15 crore teak and 15 lakh palm plants during monsoons. The move, in order to give a boost to the rural economy, targeted farmers and people belonging to weaker sections. Due to its economic value in the market, teak would help provide additional income to the marginal sections, authorities had reasoned then