“God has made the country And man has made the city.”—Cowper
Formerly forests were supposed to be anti-civilization. But recently we have realised that trees are very valuable friends of men.
We know that forests are vast natural resources for man for food, fuel, furniture, fodder, fertilizer, paper, honey, wax, medicine and many other useful things. Moreover, a grown-up tree is worth sixteen lakhs of rupees approximately if we consider its gifts of oxygen, fruit, fuel etc. for about fifty years. Ecological studies have shown that forests help to maintain the optimum level of rainfall for agricultural purposes, for keeping dams and hydro-electric projects etc. in proper order. They play a paramount role in checking the floods, and soil erosion. They are also important for wildlife, human recreation and preservation of a balanced environment. Above all, forests bring clouds and clouds bring rain, and rain brings our harvest.
It is interesting to note that 33.3% of the land is required as forests in any country to maintain ecological balance. Otherwise, the whole atmosphere with its dust, smoke, noise, and bustle will choke the human society. But after cutting down the forests for inhabitation and other necessaries, we have now the poor coverage of forest with only 19% of the total land. Gandhiji once rightly said, “Nature has enough for our need, but not enough for our greed.”
And so, to maintain forests, some measures of preservation are to be employed. In India, for this purpose a Forest Research Institute has been established at Dehradun where scientists are engaged in research works on forest preservation and tree plantation in different types of soil in our country.
So deforestation must be checked and forests should be preserved and, at the same time, social forestry programme should be given due consideration by planting trees around our habitation. We must make peace with Nature. We ought to bear in mind, “Pollute and perish; preserve and flourish.”