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What is troubling the forests of Jammu and Kashmir?

Last Updated on January 21, 2022 at 10:59 am

Jammu and Kashmir is facing environmental challenges at an alarming rate since past few years and nearly 23% of the total forest area in the Jammu and Kashmir is facing degradation because of various issues and reasons.

As per official figures, Jammu region is geographically spread over 26293 square kilometers out of which forest area is 12066 square kilometers whereas, geographical area of Kashmir region is 15948 square kilometers out of which 8128 square kilometers is the forest area.

Moreover, no attention has been paid towards preparing annual report for auditing of accounts of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) which is necessary for assessing the funds utilization.

As per reports, a total of 4520 square kilometers of forest area is under various stages of degradation and main factors of degradation of forests in Jammu and Kashmir are such as pressure to meet increasing demands for fodder, grazing, small timber and other forest produce due to rapid increase in human and livestock population.

The UT has a high density of livestock population which is mainly dependent on forests for grazing; especially the livestock with nomadic population and the grazing intensity in forests is at around six times of permissible level.

Though CAMPA is playing a vital role in rehabilitation of degraded forests of J&K but still a lot needs to be taken care of. In accordance with Rule-38 of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Rules 2018, J&K CAMPA is required to prepare the annual report giving brief description of all activities and summary of works undertaken in accordance with approved Annual Plan of Operations (APOs) from the State Fund but these have been delayed, reported Daily Excelsior. Moreover, it has been claimed that CAMPA Secretariat is preparing annual reports for the financial years 2019-20 and 2020-21 and the same will be finalized once the annual account for these years are prepared by the Chartered Account, which is currently in progress.