Having been gifted with beautiful forests, Jammu and Kashmir could not do justice with its natural wealth.
The massive deforestation, particularly during last several decades, led to huge losses.
The increasing human population and developmental activities are said to have caused decrease in forest area.
The increase in human population and industrial and developmental activities is a continuous process and is not going to stop.
While industrialisation and development is very important, but efforts have to be made that the forests too are protected and not sacrificed.
The famous Kashmir saint and poet Sheikh Noor ud-Din Wali (RA) had said, “Ann Poshi Teli Yeli Wann Poshi ( Food will last till forests last).” While the saying is widely quoted but it needs to be practically implemented, both at government and non-government levels.
For last several years, the timber smuggling has been strictly curbed even as there are reports from some pockets of continuous damage to forests.
The timber smuggling had caused massive damage to forests in last several decades. Deodar, Kail and Fir trees in these coniferous forests were the main target of the smugglers.
Now, the Jammu and Kashmir government’s initiative, “Har Gaon Hariyali” is very encouraging and expected to achieve the desired results.
According to government officials “Har Gaon Hariyali” envisages afforestation on all degraded and denuded lands in the union territory within and outside forests.
The aim is to bring two thirds geographical area of J&K under the forest and tree cover. The forest and tree cover in this union territory is about 55 percent. 1.35 crore plantations have been targeted for the year 2022-23.
More than 50 lakh seeds/grass-slips are also likely to be planted during the year.
According to government figures, Jammu and Kashmir has 20,194 sq km of forest area which is 47.80 percent of its geographical area with 55 percent forest and tree cover and 43 percent open forest.