Stakeholder: A person with an interest or concern in something is called a stakeholder.
When we consider the management (or conservation) of forests, there are four stakeholders in it.
There are certain people called activists who are not dependent on the forests or wildlife in any way but who want forest and wildlife to be conserved to prevent undue damage to the environment.
There is Bishnoi community in Rajasthan state of our country for whom conservation of forests and wildlife has been a religious belief. The Government has instituted an ‘Amrita Devi Bishnoi National Award for Wildlife Conservation’ in the memory of Amrita Devi Bishnoi, who lost her life in the protection of Khejri trees in Rajasthan along with 363 other people in 1973.
The ChipkoAndolan originated in the 1970s, in a village called ‘Reni’inGarhwal high up in the himalayas. In this movement, women of the village used to clasp the tree treesunks thus preventing the cutting down of trees. So, in early 1970’s, a logging contractor had been allowed to cut down trees in a forest close to a village. The people of the village did not want this forest to be cut down as it would have spoiled their healthy environment. So, one day, when the men folk of the village were out for work, the contractor’s workers came in the forest to cut down the trees. In the absence of men, the women of the village reached the forest quickly and clasped the tree trunks with their arms, preventing the workers from cutting down the trees. The forest trees were thus saved. The chipko movement quickly spread across all the communities and media, which further helped in the conservation of forests.
A major programme called silviculture has been started to replenish the forests by growing more trees and plants.
In 1972, the West Bengal Forest Department formulated a novel scheme to revive the degraded sal forest by involving the local people. A beginning was made in the Arabari forest range of Midnapore district. A.K. Banerjee was able to recover a remarkable value of Rs 12.5 crores from a previously worthless 1272 hectares of Sal forest. The local people were engaged in this activity to protect the forest and in return for help in protecting the forest, the villagers were given employment in both silviculture and harvesting operations of the forest, 25 per cent of the final harvest produce, and were allowed to collect firewood and fodder from the forest area on a nominal payment. So, the active and willing participation of local people led to the recovery of the Sal forest. The degraded sal forest of Arabari became thick and green within ten years.
Wildlife conservation is the attempt to protect endangered animal and plant species and their natural habitat. The main objective is to preserve their habitats so that they are available to the future generations of both wildlife and human. The forests exist in a very delicate ecological balance. The health of a forest depends on the health of every member that is a part of its food chain. If any species in a tropical rain forest becomes extinct, the food chain will be disrupted affecting all the species.
So, wildlife conservation spreads the necessity for biodiversity and the importance of forests and wildlife. For example, if the bees became extinct then almost a third of the fruits we eat would no longer be available.
The planet is enriched by conserving and protecting the natural habitat of wildlife species. Keeping animals in a zoo is not beneficial for either the forest or the animal. Instead they should be allowed to flourish in their natural habitat. The large scale poaching (killing) of wild animals residing in the forests by man is a serious threat to the survival of many animal and bird species.This large scale killing of snakes disrupts the food chains in which snakes occur and creates an imbalance in nature.
Various wildlife preservation programs allow the animals to roam freely in their natural habitat. Many of the forests in India have been declared National Parks or Reserve Forests and are protected by the Forest Department of the Government. Some of these programs also allow the animals to interact with humansso that people are educated and awareness is raised regarding the importance of protecting these wildlife species.
Need for Wildlife Conservation
People who live in or around forests are dependent on forest produce for various aspects of their life. Such people are directly dependent on the health of their forests for survival. Some industries also depend on the forest and the natural resources obtained from forests such as Rubber, timber, paper. Biodiversity and wildlife conservation is also important for medicine, like Ayurveda which is based on intricate knowledge of herbs and plants growing in the forests. Many medicines are also obtained from chemicals derived from animals.
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