HYDERABAD: Teak (Tectona grandis) no longer figures in the top five tree species in Telangana. The felling of 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 the human population over the past few decades.
There is heavy dependence on forests for grazing by cattle, which is leading to degradation and loss of natural regeneration. Compounding the problem are fires which are 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 pc 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 pc 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 the limited staff and a large number of vacancies, the average beat size is 25 sq km. This condition has led to increase in the felling of timber tree species so much so that the inventory results indicate that teak (Tectona grandis) no longer figures among the top 5 tree species in Telangana. 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.