Deforestation causes ecological imbalance and leads to environmental deterioration

“Deforestation causes ecological imbalance and leads to environmental deterioration”. Discuss in reference to Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The Forest (Conservation) Act 1980

An Act to provide for the conservation of forests and for matters connected

There with or ancillary or incidental thereto.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Thirty-first year of the Republic of India as


1. Short title, extent and commencement: (1) This Act may be called the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980.

(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

(3) It shall be deemed to have come into force on the 25th day of October 1980.

With a view to checking further deforestation, the Forest (Conservation)

Ordinance, 1980 had been promulgated on 25th October, 1980. The present Act has

replaced the said Ordinance and contains similar provisions. The Act extends to the

whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and came into force on 25th

October, 1980.

2. Restriction on the de-reservation of forests or use of forest land for nonforest

purpose: Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being

in force in a State, no State Government or other authority shall make, except with the

prior approval of the Central Government, any order directing-

(i) that any reserved forest (within the meaning of the expression “reserved

forest” in any law for the time being in force in that State) or any portion

thereof, shall cease to be reserved;

(ii) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be used for any non-forest


_ 1. Received the assent of the President on 27-12-1980 published in the Gazette of

India, (Extra), Part II, Section 1, dated 27-12-1980.

1[(iii) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be assigned by way of lease of otherwise to any private person or to any authority, corporation, agency or any other Organisation not owned, managed or controlled by Government.

(iv) that any forest land or any portion thereof may be cleared of trees which have grown naturally in that land or portion, for the purpose of using it for afforestation.

2[Explanation:- For the purpose of this section “non-forest purpose” means the breaking or clearing of any forest land or portion thereof for-

(a) the cultivation of tea, coffee, species, rubber, palms, oil-bearing plants, horticultural crops of medicinal plants;

(b) any purpose other than reafforestation, but does not include any work relating or ancillary to conservation, Development and management of forests and wildlife, namely, the establishment of check-posts, fire lines, wireless communications and Construction of fencing, bridges and culverts, dams, waterholes, trench marks, boundary marks, pipelines or other like purposes.]

3. Constitution of Advisory Committee:- The Central Government may constitute a Committee consisting of such number of persons as it in may deem fit to advise that Government with regard to-

(i)the grant of approval under section 2; and 1

(ii)any other matter connected with the conservation of forests which may be referred to it by the Central Government.

(iii) 3[3A. Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act:- Whenever

contravenes or abets the contravention of any of the provisions of section 2, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment for a period which may extend to fifteen days.

1. Ins. by Act No. 69 of 1988 (w.e.f. 15-3-1989)

2. Subs. by Act No. 69 of 1988 (w.e.f. 15-3-1989)

3. Section 3A & 3B inserted by Act No. 69 of 1988 (w.e.f. 15-3-1989)

3B. Offences by authorities and Government departments:- (1) Where any offence under this Act has been committed.

(a) by any department of Government the head of the department; or

(b) by any authority, every person who, at the time the offence was committed, was directly in charge of and was responsible to, the authority for the conduct of the business of the authority was well as the authority; shall be deemed to be guilty of the offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly. Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall render the head of the department or any person referred to the clause (b), liable to any punishment if he proves that the offence was committed without his knowledge or that he exercised all due diligence to prevent the commission of such offence.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), where an offence punishable under the Act has been committed by a department of Government or any authority referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1) and it is proved that the offence has been committed with the consent or connivance of; or is attributable to any neglect on the part of any officer, other than the head of the department or in the case of an authority, any person other than the persons referred to in clause (b) of sub-section (1), such officer or persons shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence and shall be liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly.

4. Power to make rules: (1) The Central Government may by notification in the Official

Gazette, makes rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act.

(2) Every rule made under this Act shall be laid as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirtydays which may be comprised in one session or in two or more and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that rule.

5. -Repeal and saving:- (1) The Forest (Conservation) Ordinance, 1980 (17 of 1980), is hereby repealed.

(2) Notwithstanding such repeal, anything done or any action taken under the Provisions of the said Ordinance shall be deemed to have been done or taken under the corresponding provisions of this Act.


The destruction of natural forests because of cutting trees, logging, making space for cattle grazing, mining, extraction of oil, building dams and population expansion is known as deforestation. As per the reports of Natural Conservancy, logging accounts for 32 million acres of earth’s natural forests every year. By 2011 half of earth’s forests disappeared. A major part of this loss took place in the last 50 years alone. Forest goods and most importantly the wood, has been the essential need of the human civilization for over centuries and continues to be the main source of several activities that a man performs in his day to day proceedings. For example, paper is indispensable part of personal or official means of conducting the dealings. Invariably, this would necessitate human beings to source the wood from the forests leading to deforestation.

What is Deforestation?

Deforestation refers to the loss or destruction of naturally occurring forests, primarily due to human activities such as logging, cutting trees for fuel, slash-and-burn agriculture, clearing land for livestock grazing, mining operations, oil extraction, dam building, and urban sprawl or other types of development and population expansion.

Logging alone—much of it illegal—accounts for the loss of more than 32 million acres of our planet’s natural forests every year, according to The Nature Conservancy.

Not all deforestation is intentional. Some deforestation may be driven by a combination of natural processes and human interests. Wildfires burn large sections of forest every year, for example, and although fire is a natural part of the forest lifecycle, subsequent overgrazing by livestock or wildlife after a fire can prevent the growth of young trees.

Causes of Deforestation

Timber Production – Need for the production of timber is the prime cause of deforestation. The timber is used as important construction material and also forms an important source of raw material for paper production. To make the timber products cheaper, governments allowed deforestation without realizing the fact that it would destroy ecological balance.

Division of Habitation –Construction of roads through the forests leads to division of habitation of animals, birds and other species. Once the roads are put to use, they pose a barrier for free movement of wildlife. Although, a small portion of forest land would have been used by felling trees, the division of habitation would be strongly felt by wildlife leading to imbalance. Further, such construction of roads provides easy access to logging and encourages uncontrolled activity of timber production.

Cut and Blaze Farming – Poor nations and developing countries tend to practice farming by claiming forest land to grow crops by cutting and setting the forest areas fire claiming that the forest land is fertile due to forest’s flora and fauna. This way large tract of forest land is deforested for cultivation. Unfortunately, most of these countries do not realize that the land itself is responsible for its fertility rather than the forest mass. Cut and blaze farming is possibly sustainable provided density of population is below 8 per square kilometre. But in reality, more than 30 people habitat a given square kilometre leads to the destruction of complete balance.

Deforestation for Grass and Land Development – Grass lands are needed for cattle feeding and developing the cattle growing industry. In order to raise the cattle cheaply, some counties followed the deforestation route at it is and cheap allowing local industry to meet the demand of multinationals for cheaper animal products.

Forest as Source of Fire Wood – Less privileged nations, because of poverty and poor economic conditions, are forced to use forest as a principle source of fire wood for its people. They tend to deforest for fuel wood production leading to large tracts of forest land becoming barren. To replenish the deforested area it would take not less than 12 to 15 years but such duration greatly imbalances the forest sustainability. Besides, it is a widely recognized fact that fire wood as fuel is the most pollution producing material.

Effects of Deforestation

There are several effects of deforestation on earth’s climate and nature.

Atmospheric For global warming deforestation is the major contributor. Deforestation causes of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. As the concentration of carbon dioxide increases, a layer forms in the atmosphere that traps sun radiation. This radiation gets converted to heat and causes global warming. In other terms it is known as greenhouse effect. Deforestation also influences trees to release carbon stores. Scientists say that almost 1.5 billion tons of carbon is released each year by tropical deforestation.

Hydrological Water cycle in the nature gets affected by deforestation. Trees pull up ground water with the help of their roots and then release the water vapour into the atmosphere. If trees are reduced, the water vapour content in the atmosphere is reduced and it results in drier climate. It also results in soil erosion which may lead to landslides or floods.

Reducing forest cover reduces the capacity of the soil to perspire. It means the absence of trees can influence the quantity of water on the land, in the atmosphere or in the soil. It affects the ecological cycle.

SoilForests as such have a very low soil loss rate. It is at approximately two metric tons per square kilometer. Deforestation results in soil erosion because tress can bind the soil together. If trees are removed from steep slopes, it may result in landslides.

Biodiversity Deforestation results in the decline in biodiversity and many species of living organisms are becoming extinct. Forests support wildlife habitat and the tropical rainforests contribute to 80%of the biodiversity. The removal of trees has led to the degradation of environment and biodiversity.

Because of rainforest deforestation, we are losing an average of 137 plants, insects and animal species every day. It will account to almost 50,000 species over an year. There is a serious threat to several endangered species. It is estimated that almost 90 percent of predicted extinctions will take place within next forty years.

EconomicDeforestation and its effects can change the living standards of the people. Human societies utilize timber and wood from forests for building houses and making paper. On an average it is estimated that three million people depend on wood for cooking and other purposes. Rapid increase in economic growth also has the impact on forests. As population increases, there is demand for new homes and empty spaces. Roads are laid to expand cities and it results in the reduction of forest cover.

Possible Solution

Reduction in emissionsSeveral international organizations along with United Nations and World Bank have been implementing various programs to curb deforestation. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) advices and encourages developing countries to reduce deforestation.

Farming – New farming technologies should be invented so that the existing resources are not depleted. Crop yield per acre of land should be increased so that with limited land more produce can be harvested.

Monitoring deforestation –Satellite data can be used to effectively assess the deforested areas. Positive steps by all governments will result in maintaining the forest cover.

Reforestation – In East Asian countries reforestation and a forestation are increasing slowly. Between 2000 and 2005, 1 million hectares of lost forest area was again brought back to life. Depending on the latest trends, it is believed that by 2050 there will an increase in forest cover globally by 10%.


It is well acknowledged fact that forests assume significance for variety of causes. In the first place many would opine that forests should be conserved for upcoming generations to benefit from. While it is true but the second and the most important motivation comes from the need for providing territory for large number of animals, birds and other species which are vital part of now well recognized earth’s ecological system, to make their habitation. Concurrently, forests perform a very fundamental task of natural oxygen generation. Over and above, they help in preventing land degradation leading to formation of deserts. Last but not the least, the forests are the only resourceful places for timber production and there is a continuous need for it as construction material, base fuel for heating and paper! Nonetheless, deforestation has been the biggest environment issue which continued to draw attention of the world.





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