We saw in Class VII that Paheli and Boojho had visited the forest along with Prof. Ahmad and Tibu. They were eager to share their experiences with their classmates. Other children in the class were also eager to share their experiences as some of them had visited Bharatpur Sanctuary. Some others had heard about Kaziranga National Park, Lockchao Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve and Tiger Reserve, etc.
A great variety of plants and animals
exists on earth. They are essential for
the wellbeing and survival of mankind.
Today, a major threat to survival of these
organisms is deforestation. We know
that deforestation means clearing of
forests and using that land for other
purposes. Trees in the forest are cut for
some of the purposes mentioned below:
1. Procuring land for cultivation.
2. Building houses and factories.
Paheli and Boojho recalled the consequences of deforestation. They remembered that deforestation increases the temperature and pollution level on the earth. It increases the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Ground water level also gets lowered. They know that deforestation disturbs the balance in nature. They were told by Prof. Ahmad that if cutting of trees continues, rainfall and the fertility of the soil will decrease.
Having become aware of the effects of
deforestation, Paheli and Boojho are
worried. They go to Prof. Ahmad and ask
him how forests and wildlife can be saved.
Prof. Ahmad organises a visit to a biosphere reserve for Paheli, Boojho and their classmates. He selects a place named Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve. He knows that the plants and animals found here are similar to those of the upper Himalayan peaks and to those belonging to the lower western ghats. Prof. Ahmad believes that the biodiversity found here is unique. He requests Madhavji, a forest employee, to guide the children inside the biosphere reserve. He explains that preserving areas of such biological importance make them a part of our national heritage.
Children along with Prof. Ahmad and Madhavji enter the biosphere reserve area. Madhavji explains that biosphere reserves are the areas meant for conservation of biodiversity. As you are aware that biodiversity is the variety of plants, animals and microorganisms generally found in an area. The biosphere reserves help to maintain the biodiversity and culture of that area. A biosphere reserve may also contain other protected areas in it. The Pachmarhi Biosphere Reserve consists of one national park named Satpura and two wildlife sanctuaries named Bori and Pachmarhi (Fig. 7.1).
As the children walk around the biosphere reserve they appreciate the green wealth of the forest. They are very happy to see tall teak trees and animals inside the forest. Suddenly, Paheli finds a rabbit and wants to catch it. She starts running after it. Prof. Ahmad stops her. He explains that animals are comfortable and happy in their own habitat. We should not disturb them. Madhavji explains that some animals and plants typically belong to a particular area. The plants and animals found in a particular area are termed flora and fauna of that area.
Soon the group quietly enters the deep forest. Children are surprised to see a very big squirrel. This squirrel has a big fluffy tail. They are very curious to know about it. Madhavji tells them that this is known as the giant squirrel and is endemic to this area.
Soon Paheli sees a board with ‘Pachmarhi
Wildlife Sanctuary’ written on it.
Prof. Ahmad explains that, like reserve forests, wildlife sanctuaries provide protection and suitable living conditions to wild animals. Madhavji further explains that sanctuaries are places where killing (poaching) or capturing of animals is strictly prohibited.
On the roadside there was another
board on which was written ‘Satpura
Children are now eager to go there. Madhavji tells them that these reserves are large and diverse enough to protect whole sets of ecosystems. They preserve flora, fauna, landscape and historic objects of an area. Satpura National Park is the first Reserve Forest of India. The finest Indian teak is found in this forest.
Prof. Ahmad explains about Red Data Book to the children. He tells them that Red Data Book is the source book which keeps a record of all the endangered animals and plants. There are different Red Data Books for plants, animals and other species. (For further details about Red Data Book.
The excursion party then enters deeper into the forest under the guidance of Madhavji. They sit near the Tawa Reservoir to relax for some time. Paheli observes some of the birds near the river. Madhavji tells the children that these are the migratory birds. These birds have flown here from other parts of the world.
Prof. Ahmad draws the attention of the children to another cause of deforestation. He tells them that it takes 17 full grown trees to make one tonne of paper. Therefore, we should save paper. Prof. Ahmad also tells that paper can be recycled five to seven times for use. If each student saves at least one sheet of paper in a day, we can save many trees in a year. We should save, reuse used paper and recycle it. By this we not only save trees but also save energy and water needed for manufacturing paper. Moreover, the amount of harmful chemicals used in paper making will also be reduced.
Prof. Ahmad suggests that the answer to deforestation is reforestation. Reforestation is restocking of the destroyed forests by planting new trees. The planted trees should generally be of the same species which were found in that forest. We should plant at least as many trees as we cut. Reforestation can take place naturally also. If the deforested area is left undisturbed, it reestablishes itself. In natural reforestation there is no role of human beings. We have already made a tremendous damage to our forests. If we have to retain our green wealth for generations, plantation of more trees is the only option.