My Flora Picture of the Year 2011_Ritesh Kumar Choudhary: I don’t know whether my post is suitable for this title or not but the intention behind this post is to spread awareness among eFlora members. I am sure … is going to be the most disheartened person to see this post. The picture was taken at Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh in which you can find some burnt orchids… ..a result of the ‘Slash and Burn’ Cultivation Practice (Jhum-Cultivation).
Despite intensive government efforts to control Jhum cultivation throughout the states of NE India, it is still prevalent in a vast area of the region. As a result, we are losing a number of rare, endemic and wild plant species day by day. I understand the socio-cultural and livelihood implications of the local inhabitants but… we can bring back those precious plants which are already burnt? I personally feel this practice as an unfortunate one.
Do we need to review the policies? What do u feel?
Comments awaited!

A great photo … truly it gives us an awareness about the what a malpractice can lead to!!

Oh, thats saddening….
You know here in HK we are not allowed to take anything from wild, no leaf samples or seeds forget about taking whole plant. There are strict rules. But there are some farmers or locals, who just need to pray on the graves of their ancestors. They burn the weeds around instead of cutting and then they leave it. The fires if gets bad can wipe off the whole flora and fauna ont eh slope. It happens very often.
But in countries like India where we do have rules, we dont follow it.
Sometimes i am bound to think what rights should be given to locals. Locals should first be made aware of the bad affects of this jhoom cultivation. But then I think, what other modes of livelihood do they have. We sitting in offices not depend on forest products directly because we can afford to buy things from market. But what about those, who dont even have money to wear proper clothes. Most of the netas sitting in office usually dont care much, Its just vote bank politics. In jharkhand, more than lakhs of forests were wiped off, just to put a
railway line through the forests. When the then minister for Environment and Forests in state, Mr Jamuna Lal was asked, he said
They widened the roads and planted trees on the avenue and after 2-3 years they wanted to widen it more, so they cut the trees they planted.
The issue is though-provoking.

Thanks … for highlighting an important environmental issue. A Flora picture of the Year need not be the most beautiful picture. It is the issue and the commitment that counts.

Burning of wastes and forest plants…………very bad habit and spreading in many areas in plains also… … has raised an important issue. But to whom we should ask to stop these nonsense practices……. again a burning issue.

Well presented, … Certainly adds a new dimension to our emotions.

Thank you so much for bringing this burning issue into focus.
I fully agree with … that the Flora picture of the year need not essentially be the most beautiful picture.
The greatest threat to the rainforests in Kerala Western Ghats is fire.
Every year after the rains our forests face the threat of fire and all of this is purely man-made fire.
A cigarette butt thrown carelessly by some tourist, grasslands set fire by poachers to induce lush new growth
which will attract wildlife or just for plain fun… the list of causes is endless.

I remember years ago walking up to a favorite mountain top near Trivandrum to find the whole place charred.
Trees were burning for days and we came across charred eggs of ground dwelling birds.
It was really heartbreaking. And this is an area well known for its unique flora.

This is exactly the time when the forest fires start in Kerala. The grasses have flowered, the rains have
ceased and if there are no summer showers the fires could go on for months on end.. almost till
June when the monsoon starts.. that is if the monsoon is on time..
In these times of climate change the issue becomes more critical.
Thank you … for bringing this issue for discussion in this forum.

… thanks for sharing this photo…
will need to raise awareness… in general popultion where apathy and some corruption of heart and mind helps these and other destructive practices flourish…

Pankaj: : But in countries like India where we do have rules, we dont follow it. ” end quote from you above…

this callousness in farmers and lay people is due to lack of awaremenss, and corruption of heart mind and soul… what in it for me mentality… and much much more… books can be written…spoken… but this is what Gandhiji was after if you read his personal thoughts…
to remove corruption from personal private thoughts, heart and daily action….

corruption is not only political (which is the worst of our public sins) but also in each individual… like this guy who may or may not have known of the damage he was bringing to his own environment…

Very happy to hear from you all.
I am happy because I conveyed my message correctly to the group.
Thanks a lot for your likings and thought provoking comments.

…: Sad to know about the railway track incidence. I also heard about one such incidence in Arunachal where in the name of plantation a big area of the natural forest was cleared. Thankfully, govt. has declared a big part of Arunachal as ‘protected’ which has curbed the destruction at considerable extent. But…sadly they are not yet able to find out a good solution for Jhum-Cultivation.

…: Thanks for your words ma’m! Though never been to Kerala but had a very good image in my mind. Sad to know that such practices are prevalent there too.

…: Thanks for sharing your thoughts di! Corruption is not only political but also in each individual. But what I feel (in Arunachal at least), Slash and Burn cultivation is not a result of mental corruption…….rather mostly because of unawareness. Local communities are very very innocent and true at heart. Infact they
don’t have any other means to earn their livelihood.

Unfortunately, despite of contiiiiinuous efforts…..scientific communities have not come up with a befitting alternate till date.

Anyway…Accept finite disappointments but never lose infinite hope….as Martin Luthar says..

Thanks a lot … for the very important and conservation dependent display of a very very special group of plant. I do believe that flora picture should not be a special flower or great image. Your post is unique and very very important in terms of creating debate in the group on conservation and sustainable use of resources. I would like to thank you specially for this effort. I am sure we all should try to address these issues in the respective field areas of each one which is a key challenge in the era of forest degradation and deforestation due to unsustainable harvesting and unplanned developmental activities.

Yes, Its an eye opening picture. Thanks … for sharing this.
But as … had mentioned, its a matter of livelihood and survival and for Locals, thats what matters.

Yes, … It is a sensitive and also a serious environmental issue. Thanks … for opening up this discussion. I think, proper awareness programs, education and provision of necessary facilities to the locals living in the forests/hills, may show some positive results. We can not change the age-old practice by stringent rules and forces. Indian Govt. and the FD have proposed some healthy policies where the livelihood of the forest dwellers is protected while ensuring sustainable utilization and conservation of forest resources. The politicians from the region should visit these areas and ensure that their promises are reaching the people living on these biodiversity rich hilly forests.


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