Youth must voice out against destruction of forest: Along
Kohima, March 12: Minister for Higher & Technical Education Temjen Imna Along today called upon educated youths to voice out against unabated destruction of virgin forest in the State.
Young educated youths have to voice out against what is happening lest we will have barren lands and climatic disorders and leave the future generation to suffer, he said while addressing the three-day international symposium on “Integrated Land Use Management in the Eastern Himalayas – Focus on Nagaland” organized by Department of Botany, Kohima Science College Jotsoma today.
“We have to educate our parents and villagers not to cut down the forest while also creating awareness of its impact on the environment.
The young educated ones have to adopt villages, he said, adding “today we don’t know the impact but tomorrow may be too late”.
Along reminded that the world is at the threshold of climate change and Nagaland is going to face its impact greatly. He was of the view that the ideas and knowledge on land management should not only concentrate for the knowledgeable people but percolate down to the grassroots level, where the farmers are the actual land users.
“We are criminals in the use of our lands,” he said while lamenting that there has been unabated cutting down of the virgin forest while the land sustainability activities of various departments including Horticulture and other Government agencies is only at the department levels but in ground there is no reality.
“Our greed has given way to unsustainable living as the virgin forests are being cut down for greed of money,” he added.
Vice Chancellor of Nagaland University, Prof. Pardeshi Lal said the world is passing through a crucial juncture with experiences of drastic climate change through global warming.
“We are the citizens of 21st century, which is supposed to be more aware and civilized society,” he said. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery but today is the opportunity,” he said while calling upon all to reform, perform and transform the society through better and sustained use of the land.
Delivering the keynote address, Director of Centre for Integrated Natural Resources & Agricultural Management, University of Minnesota, USA, Dr Dean Current dwelled on the topic “An integrated approach to sustainable land use management”.
Dr Current said there have been conflicting narratives on Jhum and Shifting cultivation which is unsustainable because of increasing population, reduced land area leading to short fallows and degradation.
Sharing the experience in Mizoram, Dr Current said with an integrated approach there has been increase in fallow periods while farmers are transitioning to settled agriculture abandoning jhum cultivation.
The changing conditions, he said, were noted as climate change impacts, farmers market economy, changing aspirations of the youth, changing land use and tenure, besides improved infrastructure and market access as well as new opportunities.
He said that in order to address these opportunities and constraints an integrated, holistic, multidisciplinary approach needs to be made to have social, environmental and economic sustainability thereby improving the livelihood.
During the technical session, Chief Conservator of Forest, Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Nagaland, Supongnukshi, spreaking on the topic “Natural resources stewardship in Nagaland” informed that the State has tree and forest cover of 75.33% with over 50% recorded forest area. Departmental forest area stands around 7%, he said.
Areas under different land use as per state forest report 2017 is as follows: Forest – 8629.30 sq.km, Land under agriculture – 278.62 sq.km, Land under miscellaneous tree crops and grooves – 1242.52 sq.km, Cultivable wasteland – 725.34, Cultivable non forest area – 3214 sq.km and net area sown at 1867 sq.km.
Biodiversity status in Nagaland in respect of floral diversity includes Angiosperms – 2,431 SP (936 Genera; 186 families) Discots – 1688 SP (724 Genera; 158 families) Monocots – 743 SP (239 Genera: 28 families), Gymnosperms – 95 SP (6 Genera; 5 families).The faunal diversity stands at 42 species of fishes (10 families and 24 Genera).
In term of agro-biodiversity, he said there are 360 varieties of rice cultivated and 167 varieties of crops.
Nagaland owns tallest rhododendron (108 feet), tallest rice plant (9 feet), hottest chilly, rare orchids, tree tomato, Blyth’s Tragopan, Hollock Giboon and Mrs Humes Bartailed Pheasant, he said.
Supongnukshi said there is a need for formulating land use policy that is environmentally friendly, economically sustainable and compatible with socio-economic conditions.
Professor of Department of Genetics & Plant Breeding, School of Agricultural Sciences & Rural Development, Nagaland University, Dr. Sapu Changkija dwelling on overview of biodiversity in Nagaland informed that the total crops cultivated in Nagaland stands at 23, crops of jhum fields – 105, wild edible fruits – 248, wild edible vegetables – more than 128, wild edible flowers – 52, wild edible mushroom – 58, domesticated fruits – more than 26, edible roots and tubers – 42, edible seeds and nuts – 54, medicinal plants – more than 656, bamboo species – 57, orchid species (wild) – more than 345, cane species – 7, fern – 280, indigenous local useful tress – 560, commercial timber plants – 147 and spices and condiments – 68.
Scientist D under Nagaland Science & Technology Council, Dr. Nesatalu Hiese talking on the topic “Land use dynamics of Nagaland for the past 15 years,” said years ago, focus was to support life by utilizing resources but now the focus is to save the resources to support life.
Referring to land use monitoring, Dr. Hiese said land use and land cover change is a key driver of climate change and has significant implications for many policy issues. She said that land-cover/land-use has become crucial basis work to carry out the prediction to the dynamical change of land use, environment protection, land management and planning.
Assistant Professor of Department of Environment Science, Mizoram University, Dr. John Zothanzama touched on “Mizoram sloping land agricultural technology”.
The symposium will conclude on March 14. (Page News Service)