The Problem of Deforestation
The population has increased which has gone over one billion. The increase in population has built immense pressure on our forest ecosystem in terms of increased demand for firewood fiber, fodder and food. In addition, sizeable populations of rural unemployed seek out their living by gathering firewood from forests and selling it in the nearby towns. It has been estimated that in India alone about 7 million people are entering the job market every year. As industry, can provide less than half a million jobs, more than 6 million are added each year to the unemployed, who are recorded to be 53 million 1976, three quarters of this in rural areas. This increase in population and its dependence on forests has been responsible for the fast depletion of the growing stock of our forests. It is, therefore, evident that the balance between natural resources and population is not at all favorable.
Similarly, the increase in livestock population (which stands at 353 million cattle heads) have also added to the problem of conservation of forests in as much as the trees are severely lopped for providing fodder and excessive grazing in forest are as hinders regeneration of our forests. Thus roughly 27 million ha of areas which were classified as cultural waste land or miscellaneous tree lands but actually village forests were cleared for agriculture. This has completely upset the rural setting in most parts of the country.