Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol.06, Issue 01, 2000; Page No.(25-33)

THE IMPACT OF INDUSTRIAL CAPTIVE PLANTATION ON BIODIVERSITY AND ENVIRONMENT IN THE WESTERN GHATS OF KARNATAKA

L. Radhakrishnan

Abstract

Timber industry in India was developed rapidly after world war II. Nevertheless, by 1960-80 the forest based industries had witnessed heavy shortage of raw materials coupled with shrinking forest cover. In order to revive the forest based industries, Government took up a policy decisions in 1978 to supply forest products on concessional rate and also to lease degraded forest area to industries for raising tree plantation. As these industries started to plant mono-plantation in the leased in forest area, tug-of-war started between the local people and the private industries. This study has been carried out to analyse the ethical values of the forest dependent on natural forests and industrial captive plantations and their environment. The study is based on both primary and secondary data pertaining to Shimoga and Uttar Kannada districts of Karnataka. Since Eucalyptus grow very fast, hardy, adaptable, low maintenance cost and high return in adverse biotic condition the industries have planted this species along with Acacia, Casuarina, and Pine trees on the leased in forest area (30,000 ha). Besides these industries also asked the farmers (900 villages) to grow fast growing species in cultivable lands. Although forest based industries argue that the local movement and protest against industrial plantation is volatile issue and politically motivated, however, the activist and locals have perceived that if the industries were permitted to proceed for long period it will affect their privileges attached to forests and other revenue wastelands. Futhermore, this will change the entire land use pattern and agricultural labourers will also be displaced leading to unemployment and poverty in this region. In addition, this trend will further lead to extinction of much wanted hardwood species like teak wood, rose wood and sandal wood besides other flora and fauna in the Western Ghats of Karnataka in another few decades.

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