`Human race will become extinct if hills, rivers are not protected'
Workshop on sustainable development of parts of Eastern Ghats heldUnchecked exploitation of forest resources damages the eco system Vizag district is home to 22 out of the 33 tribal communities in the State
VISAKHAPATNAM: Protecting the hills, rivers and forest cover of the country is the insurance provided by the present generation to the future and unless it is done there is a possibility of the extinction of the human race , cautioned Visakhapatnam conservator of forests Padmanabhum.
Addressing a workshop on conservation and sustainable development of the north-eastern part of the eastern ghats under the auspices of the UGC-Academic Staff College (ASC) of Andhra University, he said human pressure on forests should be reduced so as to bring more rain, provide forest wealth, and prevent soil erosion and landslips.
Exploitation of forest resources in an unrestricted manner would ultimately damage the eco system. Though the concerns of tribal families living in forest belts should be looked into , it should not be forgotten the development of the tribes was not at the cost of nature. Encouraging them to go in for coffee plantation instead of cultivating other types of food products at the expense of forest cover, could be one idea, he said and pointed out this had been proved a success in tribal rehabilitation in some parts of the country.
Conservation of forests A.V. Udaya Bhaskar stressed the need for involving local people and tribes in forest management and conservation.
AU registrar V. Vijaya Prakash said the eastern ghats is a `human museum' as it traverses up to the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu.
Of the 33 tribal communities living in AP, 22 reside in Visakhapatnam district, he said adding that another feature of the district was that the highest point of Eastern Ghats is located here. Though the biomass potential of the Eastern Ghats was very high, it had been subjected to a lot of deterioration in recent times, he regretted.
"Civilisation is growing at the expense of the forests," he warned and urged the people to conserve the forest cover and hilly tracts.
AU professor and natural history society secretary N.A.V. Prasada Reddy, HOD of Meteorology and Oceanography O.S.R.U. Bhanu Kumar, and ASC director K Ravi participated.