Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir administration has recovered around 80,000 cubic feet of timber from the smugglers, The Kashmir Monitor reported.
The report mentions that Trade in forest products has significantly increased over the years especially timber which offers a wide variety of uses in construction and industrial raw material. This has led to the rampant felling of trees thereby affecting the green gold of the region.
According to the latest annual forest report accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, the department has seized around 80007.72 cubic feet of illegally cut timber in Jammu & Kashmir in the year 2020-2021. 53283.27 cubic feet was retrieved from Jammu while 26724.45 cubic feet of timber was confiscated from Kashmir.
Figures reveal that the department registered around 1020 cases of illicit felling. Also, 1117 trees were completely damaged while 315 trees stand partially damaged.
A senior official at Forest Department, J&K said that the department in collaboration with Forest Protection Force is taking all efforts to curb the timber mafia.
“It’s being supplemented by the territorial forces that put in nakkas on the important link roads towards forests. We are religiously fighting this nexus. We are booking people under the public safety act who commit this offence,” he said.
He added that the department is also utilizing technology like advanced drones to track down the smugglers.
Assistant Professor, Department of Geoinformatics, the University of Kashmir Dr. Irfan Rashid said the tree felling takes place for multiple reasons.
“The livelihoods of people living near the forested areas are not secure. They face socio-economic issues as they lack educational, health, and other important facilities. With no alternative livelihood at hand, they resort to illegal tree felling,” Dr. Rashid said.
He said less awareness of the importance of ecology and forest resources is another major contributing factor.
“The consequences of rampant felling can lead to draining of sediment-laden water in wetlands. Due to this, they lose their carrying capacity. Another outcome is the habitat loss of several species. With the result, we can witness an increase in human-animal conflict,” Dr. Rashid said.—(The Kashmir Monitor)