Did You Know That One-Fifth Of India’s Forests Are Prone To Fires?

WhyOnEarth logo mobEditor’s Note: Are you bothered by the drastic changes in our climate, causing extreme weather events and calamities such as the Kerala Floods? #WhyOnEarth aims to take the truth to the people with stories, experiences, opinions and revelations about the climate change reality that you should know, and act on. Have a story to share? Click here and publish.

It hasn’t been a great start to the new year and the new decade, with the bushfire situation in Australia worsening and reports of half a billion kangaroos, koalas, and other animals estimated to be killed in these fires.

Australia has been receiving global support, with ‘Pray for Australia’ campaigns and many other donation campaigns running online worldwide. Recently, at the Golden Globe Awards, many superstars like Joaquin Phoenix and Russel Crowe, amongst others, used this platform to highlight the need for climate action and adopting a sustainable lifestyle. 

Actors Speak Up About The Australian Bushfires at the Golden Globe Awards

Looking at the situation in Australia, the question of how prepared we are, to tackle forest fires in India, arises. The 2019 report by the Forest Survey of India points out the fact that about 21.40% of forest cover in India is prone to fires, with forests in the northeastern region and central India being the most vulnerable.

These details have emerged after FSI carried out a study along the forest fire points identified across the country, from 2004 to 2017.

Image Source: The Hindu
Image Source: The Hindu

During these 13 years, the forest fire points (FFP) that were identified add up to 2,77,758. The data from November 2018 to June 2019 reveals that the total number of forest fire alerts issued to the states in these regions was 29,547. Mizoram recorded the highest number of alerts, 2,795. The seven states in the northeastern region have accounted for about one-third of the total alerts in the country.

While a major reason for the fire alerts in the northeastern region is because of the slash-and-burn cultivation as these forests are tropical evergreen forests and they are not likely to catch fire easily, unlike the dry deciduous forests of Central India.

The overall green cover has increased in India, but in the northeastern states of Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland particularly, the green cover seems to have reduced and the fires can be one of the reasons for it.

In Central India, Madhya Pradesh has recorded 2,723 forest fire alerts followed by Maharashtra 2,516, Odisha 2,213 and Chhattisgarh with 1,008 alerts between November 2018 to June 2019.

Scene of devastation from Australia.

Major reasons for forest fires in this region are man-made, particularly in cases where people enter the forest and leave inflammable materials and burning cigarette and bidi stubs.  

With the help of all this data from the Forest Survey of India, all of us need to make sure that we are well prepared and take steps to avoid disastrous forest fires from happening in India.

Similar Posts

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below