TODAY -

Deforestation major factor for climate change
Source: The Sangai Express / Mungchan Zimik

Ukhrul, November 17 2019: Uncontrolled felling of trees for timber and firewood in the villages of Ukhrul district has severely impacted the environment and adversely affected the regular climatic cycle.

This is not a new phenomena, with the people of Ukhrul experiencing a series of climate change within the last many years.

Ukhrul district being located at a high altitude of about 1662 m above mean sea level with an average rainfall of 1500 mm annually and having sub-tropical climate is favourable for green vegetation, and was once covered with dense forest and well known for its flora and fauna.



Deforestation major factor for climate change
Deforestation major factor for climate change


The district was home to many wild species, but due to rapid degradation of the virgin forest and uncontrolled extraction of timber and firewood for large scale commercial purposes in the last few decades, Ukhrul is today no longer what it once was.

The practice of jhum cultivation and regular human activities such as land development like construction of roadways, buildings etc has also deformed the landscape and hastened the environment degradation in the district.

Ostensibly there has been no visible environment assessment or consultation with experts while executing or implementing any of the developmental works in the district.

This has caused severe impact such as rise in temperature, change in rainfall pattern, wind speed and drying up of water sources.

The villagers hardly realize the importance of forest preservation and the importance of maintaining the rainfall cycles and ecological balance in nature.

Changes in climate cycle and increase in temperature has resulted in mosquito-borne diseases including Malaria, Japanese Encephalitis, yellow fever, and Dengue.

Ukhrul reported Japanese Encephalitis infection during June from H Godah village this year.

According to reports from district hospital, Ukhrul five active cases of Japanese Encephalitis were detected during a vaccination campaign in the district and a target to vaccinate more than 35000 children of Ukhrul and Kamjong during November has been set.

It might be mentioned that out of 4554 Sq.km of geographical size 78.10 percent was covered under forest land, but the forest cover has now been reduced to 184 sq.km.

An elderly man from Ukhrul said that forest depletion started from the 1990s and added that during that time there was extensive and rampant timber trade.

According to him trees such as pines, leihao, teak, red wood, tairen, uningthou, khangarah etc grew abundantly.

However the forest areas were destroyed within for 2-3 decades while some forest areas were leased to traders for extraction of timber.

According to reports from Forest Department Ukhrul, about 600-900 cubic metre (Cum) transit permit (TP) were issued for Ukhrul and Kamjong district annually.

Firewood permits were on the other hand issued according to public demand.

When this correspondent conducted an independent survey in Ukhrul town, there are 10 shops in the town trading timber.

According to them over 1500 Cum of wood plank were marketed annually for construction apart from exporting to other States.

Local timber traders do not even spare the pine roots, which are marketed for extraction of resins.

The need for intensive awareness on climate change and its impact on the environment and further educate the mountain dwellers on the need of forest preservation is the need of the time.

(This report was filed under Media Fellowship for Directorate of Environment and Climate Change 2019) .


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