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8,331.34 sq km of Nagaland’s total forest cover falls under 3 categories of fire incidents: NDS Report

forest fire nagaland
Photo Courtesy: The Story Mug

DIMAPUR, MAY 11: More than 68% of Nagaland’s forest cover area falls under the three categories of highly fire-prone, very highly fire-prone and extremely fire-prone. In terms of geographical area, that amounts of 8,331.34 sq km of the State’s total forest cover.
On top of that, 20.23% of the State’s forest cover is moderately fire-prone. Only 11.76% or 1,441.70 sq km out of the State’s total forest cover of 12,251 sq km is categorised as less fire-prone.
The first ever report of Nagaland Disaster Statistics released earlier this year by the Directorate of Economic and Statistics has presented these data in the section for forest fire incidents in Nagaland.
“A forest fire disaster refers to an uncontrolled wildfire that rapidly spreads through wooded areas, causing extensive damage to trees, wildlife and the environment. These fires pose serious threats to human lives, property and ecosystems, resulting in immense destruction and loss of biodiversity.
“Forest fires can be natural or human-induced and their severity depends on various factors. To address the declining forest cover and combat forest fires, understanding the susceptibility of different forest areas is essential, and maintaining data on forest fire events for effective monitoring is imperative in mitigating the risks”, it stated.
The report cited the incident at Dzükou Valley. “The Dzükou valley is an environmentally sensitive zone located in the Northeastern State of Nagaland and bordering the State of Manipur in India. The valley experienced devastating wildfires from 29th December 2020 to 13th January 2021, as reported by the Chief Conservator of Forests.
“The widespread wildfires caused immense environmental damage, affecting approximately 501 hectares of forest. This resulted in significant harm to the unique flora and fauna inhabiting the Dzukou valley, causing disruptions to the region’s biodiversity. This tragic event serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of protecting such environmentally sensitive zones and implementing effective forest management and fire prevention measures to preserve these invaluable ecosystems and safeguard the diverse life forms they support”, it stated.
The report also flagged the vulnerability of plantation crops to the destructive impact of wildfires. Among them, areca nuts and coffee plants are particularly vulnerable due to their relatively low resilience to fire, it stated.
“Wildfires, as devastating natural disasters, pose a significant threat to these plantation crops, necessitating the implementation of effective fire prevention and management strategies to safeguard these valuable agricultural resources. Nagaland State with high occurrence of wildfires, pose a significant threat to its rich flora and fauna.
“In 2019-20, around 7000 areca nut plants, covering 10 acres, were tragically destroyed by wildfires. The following year, 2020-21, wildfires wreaked havoc on the region, resulting in the destruction of 19,880 coffee plants, covering 24.7 acres of lands. These incidents highlight the urgent need for proactive measures to prevent and control wildfires, protecting the valuable flora and fauna of Nagaland and preserving the State’s diverse ecosystem for future generations”, read the report.
Citing the Nagaland State Disaster Management Authority’s report on fire incidents in the State, it stated that there were 99 fire incidents reported in 2018-19, which increased to 117 incidents in 2019-20. Subsequently, in 2020-21, the number of fire incidents further escalated to 195.
“This data indicates a concerning upward trend in fire-related disasters, underscoring the importance of fire safety measures, preparedness and public awareness to effectively address and mitigate the risks posed by such incidents”, it added.
(Page News Service)