Overgrazing pose major challenge to forest ecosystem
12: Unmanaged overgrazing is posing a
major challenge to the forest eco-system in Jammu and Kashmir.
integral to the sustainability of primary sectors of agriculture, horticulture,
sheep and animal husbandry, particularly in the hilly areas of Jammu and
Kashmir. People in these areas rely heavily on the forests for wood, fodder,
food and small timber requirements.
grazing pressure on the forest areas has resulted in growth of unpalatable
grasses, increased soil erosion and low productivity.
fodder requirement of J&K is huge. Whereas availability from different
sources viz alpine pastures, forest grazing lands, fallow agricultural lands,
private lands etc is inadequate thereby leaving a steep gap between supply and
demand. Consequently, it produces adverse effects in the form of soil erosion,
weed infestation, and ultimately further degradation of forest eco-system,”
reads an official document of the Forest Department.
Jammu and Kashmir has its forest cover
stretching over 23,241 square kilometers, which is 10.46 per cent of its total
geographical area of 1,01,387 square kilometers. Official figures reveal that
103705 kanals of forest area is under encroachments in Kashmir.
“To make the matters worse, the animal species
who would earlier graze in the low lying areas are shifting to high altitudes.
Further, there is no concrete government policy to deal with the excessive
grazing,” said an official of the Forest Department.
Waking up the new
threat, Forest Department is planning to conduct series of activities to
promote rotational grazing.
grazing, the pastures and grazing areas shall be closed temporarily on rotation
basis. The closed areas shall be treated for weed eradication, soil erosion
related problems, soil fertility and for enrichment through planting of fodder
species,” he said.
other activities, as per the official, include development of pastures and
highland pastures, maintenance of old fodder units, and research and
highland pastures and grazing lands is essential for enhanced fodder production
which ultimately will protect our forest areas against further degradation,” he
of Forests Kashmir Farooq Gillani was not available for comments.