Indian Forests—Soil, Water and Bio-environment Conservation—deals with the soil degradation in forests from a practising forester’s viewpoint. Most past practices believed civil engineers’ gravity structures as the panacea for the problem. This book proceeds with a different premise—earth reinforcement through root systems of vegetation best protects soil and conserves water. In elaborating this, it presents a simplified picture of Indian forest types and characteristics like soil formation, soil texture, soil organisms, etc.
For the first time, it presents a cross profile of forest vegetation across the country connecting it with prominent civil locations. Among various degrading factors, it deals with forest fires, over-grazing and different forms of soil erosion. For the first time, it flags faulty disposal of rainwater along hill roads as a menace to soil degradation. It classifies shifting cultivators in three categories—solely dependent, partially dependent and marginally dependent—probes the issue in depth and advocates, for the first time, differential treatment for them. A full chapter on landslides analyses causative factors—geomorphological, seismological, hydrological—in detail and provides the latest techniques to handle the problem. Another chapter on ameliorative soil and water conservation measures views the issue from a tree man’s point of view. Vegetative tools of foresters display their full potential here. This chapter, too, includes many firsts—jhora training in meandering streams, municipal watershed management and concept of infiltration belts for ground water recharging. Yet another chapter provides recent advances—root trainer nurseries, geo-textiles as tools of soil conservation and hydro seeding and hydro mulching as techniques of slope reclamation.
The last chapter on peoples’ participation views the whole issue from a sociologist’s viewpoint. There are many firsts in this chapter, too, —vision of stakeholders; distributive justice and people’s participation; co-operative behaviour in view of effective communication, super ordinate goal, coalescing of groups, risk of initiator; criterion for selection of success indicators; monitoring of achievements through response indicators, habitat indicators, stress indicators, institutional process indicators, etc.
Many of the methodologies described in this book come directly from adaptive field applications of various conservation principles and practices developed in other parts of the world.
A must-read book for every conservationist.
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|Pointer Publishers, Jaipur