Tripura, a small State of India in the lap of the Himalayas, is rich in forest wealth. There was a time when nearly 85% of Tripura’s territory was under forest cover. But today it has been reduced to 60% of her total area. Still the forests are full of tall trees like shal, shimul, Segun (teak), gamari, peepul, banyan, and countless other varieties. Moreover, there are abundant bamboos, canes and long grass growing all over the State. Besides, there are herbages of various kinds which are necessary for the preparation of herbal medicines.
The forests of Tripura prevent soil erosion and control rainfall in the State. They not only maintain ecological balance but also supply food, fodder, fuel, furniture etc. They also supply bamboos and canes as raw materials of the cottage industry. The skilled craftsmen of Tripura prepare beautiful handicrafts with them. These handicrafts are in great demand all over India and abroad. The climatic condition of Tripura is ideal for the growth of rubber plants. Many private organisations and government enterprises grow rubber plants in a planned way in different parts of Tripura.
The forests of Tripura abound in wild animals like elephants, leopards, bears, wolves, deer, monkeys, and apes. The forests make Tripura a place of beauty and tourist spot indeed. Moreover, the fruit gardens of Tripura are famous for the best quality pineapples and jack-fruits which grow in plenty almost all over the State. Thus the forest wealth of Tripura plays a vital role in the socio-economic life of the inhabitants.
Today’s forests, however, suffered badly when a large section of it had to be cleared up to accommodate the huge influx of refugees coming across the border. But no further blow should be allowed to fall upon the forests in order to hold the environmental balance and stop the decay and decline of its wildlife. The government of Tripura has, however, taken a realistic policy and necessary measures for the conservation of forest wealth and its wildlife. Tourists have a great attraction for this too.