There is degradation in the forest ecosystem in the Uttrakhand hills and its sustainability is very important for the survival of humankind. There has been a loss of 268 sq. km of forest cover in Uttarakhand hills. The very dense forest cover has gone down to the tune of 86 sq. km whereas there is a tremendous loss of forest cover in moderately dense forests and it is to the level of 519 sq. km. Nainital has also lost 3 sq km of VDF and 107 sq. km of open forest(OF). The problem of Nainital is double fold one in city which is in an around Nainital lake and other area falls under reserve forest area which surround the Nainital city. The deforestation in city area is on account of construction activities which is going on unabated despite many movements against it. There is a sinister method of killing a tree in the city area and there seems to be a connivance in the entire process of drying a tree. Around 317 trees have been found dry and illicitly felled in the city whereas the number of green trees felled illicitly are recorded to be 101, the situation changes dramatically when the illicit felling is seen in private and nazul areas. In private and nazul areas the number of green trees felled is more compared to dry trees. In the forest areas outside city the total number of trees felled are found to be 822 and the poles cut illegally were 546. The degradation in forest ecosystem has major fall outs in term of decline in water discharge, increase in temperature rise and dryness etc. The Forest footprint is a new and emerging concept which may quantify the loss of forest in term of deforestation and its impact on ecological services.
Prof. Dr. Bilal BİLGİN