Dr Lokho Puni

Forests are our lifeline

Motivating social institutions for meeting the requirements of societal interest is important. Environmental issues are important societal needs and so, it needs to be dealt with by the society as a whole by engaging the denizens. Finding good organisations is vital for success of such win-win ventures.

Protection of environment is important for many factors. Forests are source of many products – timber and non-timber, medicine, vegetable, fruit, food and so on. Survival of one species requires the support of many species. Destruction of forests leads to loss of plant and animal species. Forests provide habitat for plants, animals, birds and all life forms. Forests regulate heat and cold, moderate wind speed, regulate moisture and influence micro climate. Forests along with natural configuration reduce wind speed and are effective in better trapping of rain-bearing clouds. Leaf litters, dead trees or biomass help in soil formation and retention. Forest vegetations clean and purify air which is essential for our existence. Forests with suitable geological formations ensure all year round water supply. The hills with forests act as fresh water towers.

Forests protect soil by forming a tree and plants cover along with its roots like a reinforced cement concrete does. Forests regulate flood by reducing surface runoff and facilitating infiltration into the subsoil. Forests purify water by protecting direct impact of rainwater and absorbing contaminants. Forests and wildlife bring income through tourism. More forest and wildlife means more employment opportunity.

(Dr Puni is a member of Indian Forest Service and currently is Manipur’s Chief Conservator of Forest)