IMPACT OF JHUM CULTIVATION ON FOREST ECOSYSTEM AND ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT POLICIES IN MEGHALAYA, INDIATrishna Moni Tamuli and Ashok K. Bora
Shifting or jhum cultivation is one of the primary causes of deforestation in tropical areas. In Meghalaya, increasing human population density like in other states of India has resulted in the practice of unsustainable form of jhum that includes shortening of the fallow period of jhum cycle. This unsustainable form of jhum cultivation leads to soil degradation, soil erosion, loss of forest vegetation and threatens the survival of valuable flora and fauna. The study area is one of the richest reservoirs of plant diversity of North-East India as well as India. The decreasing fallow period from 15-20 to 2-3 years has a negative impact on the environment sustainability in Meghalaya which reduced the quality of soil. The overall reduction in the forest, mainly due to jhumming can severely affect the viable forest habitat of the endangered fauna. This study reveals the effects of short jhum cycle period on current forest ecosystem.