Resource distribution in an equal and proper manner is vital to promote sustainable development. It needs an empirical check at the regional level, the availability and demand of the resources. The highly available ones should be distributed to the respective needful stakeholders without leaving the resources to decay and troubling the needful to manage the same.
The Kashmir valley is resourceful by means of forests, mountains, agriculture, horticulture, water, etc. The forests as the most important resource comprise about 50.97 percent of land in the Kashmir region only. A large number of people formally or informally are directly or indirectly linked to forests for their livelihoods. The forests play a multidimensional role in social, economic and ecological sustainability which act tri-dimensional entities of sustainable development at a broader level. Forests act as a sink for environmental problems, provide services like carbon sequestration, enrichment of climate, pollution abatement, biodiversity conservation and maintenance of ecological balance.
In nutshell, the economy of Jammu and Kashmir, environmental security and livelihood opportunities are intimately linked to the tangible and intangible benefits that flow from these forests. The conservation of forests to promote sustainable development is highly addressed at the global level to mitigate climate changes. Rather than uplifting the procedures to conserve forest, deforestation and forest smuggling is at high speed because of the need for various resources provided from them.
In Kashmir region, the use of timber for construction purposes has a directly proportional role in deforestation. So, it is a crucial to address the innovative solutions which may control deforestation and in a parallel way, timber to be distributed in a monitored manner. Citing the example of timber availability at various forest depots in Kashmir valley invokes to promote innovative resource distribution strategies. The stallment distribution to grant timber, with a complex set of approaches at depots, enforce people to rely on illegal ways to get timber hence resulting in forest smuggling. Timber smuggling has been a large threat to the forest deforestation in Kashmir valley, which needs an immediate check.
Authorities, to a large extend, are responsible for this forest resource devastation because it could be seen in every forest timber depot of the Kashmir valley that thousands of wooden logs are rotten due to rain which results in decaying and wastage of such precious resource without being of use to anyone. In spite of people being there ready to purchase them, the authorities do not grant them at the proper time. It needs to be a forward auction process, so that the billions worth resources may get used and help to generate a circular economic revenue. Due to this no-distribution of timber to the needy person at a specific time forces them to rely on the alternative ways. Among the alternative ways, people approach the timber smugglers, due to which the forests have to face the uncontrolled axe. Such exploitation of forests beyond their sustainable capability has resulted in degradation, and thereby severe impairment of their ability to provide environmental benefits. The effects of degradation of forests are already visible in drying up of perennial water sources at many places, accelerated soil erosion, silting up of reservoirs, flash floods, and more importantly loss of biodiversity and reduced forest productivity.
To tackle environmental problems, we should possess a caring nature rather than a tearing nature for forests. In order to minimize the pressure on forest resources for timber, some important strategies need to come in force. The basic one is the ‘innovative resource distribution strategies’ at the nearby depot which will help to distribute the stock in a very easy procedure to needy people after proper documentation (production of affidavit) without any delay. Majority of the people used to say that it is difficult to avail of the timber from forest depots due to the complex procedures and lethargic response from the department, which need to be addressed by the authorities. There is also a need to facilitate innovation and technologies in monitoring and surveillance of the forests also other innovative processes to be implemented that will minimize deterioration and wastage of timber during its extraction, transportation and pile-stock conservation to avoid deterioration of timber. Policies should be drafted heading towards forest and forest resource conservation on a priority basis without any delay.
Author is working as PDF-STIP Fellow, Department of Science and Technology, New Delhi