Dwindling forests in Assam, India: causes and remedies
Deforestation posses a major challenge in developing countries like India. The present region-specific study is undertaken in Assam, situated in one of the two mega biodiversity hot-spots of India. Applying multiple linear regression models for a 10 year time period (1995 – 2005), the study examines the underlying factors leading to deforestation in the state. The study finds road construction and literacy rates to be the two significant variables for Assam. While road construction leads to higher rates of deforestation, literacy rate has a positive impact on deforestation in Assam. The other explanatory variables like agricultural production, gross state domestic product GSDP and population were found to have negligible impact on deforestation. But due to increasing migration as well as immigration from neighbouring countries into Assam, both population and agricultural production may become a matter of concern for Assam in the coming years. Assam compared to the other states of India, has tended to be left far behind in terms of economic development. Hence, although at present GSDP is not a significant factor for deforestation but the forest is likely to remain vulnerable, especially now when the state poised for rapid industrialization. The study recommends that, to reduce defforestation in the state, there is a need to create employment opportunities in the non farm sector, promote service sector industries, and the State’s forest policy need to be strengthened by acquiring legal support for better implementation.
Deforestation, population, illiteracy, road construction, agriculture
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Published by Centre for Environment, Education and Economic Development (CEEED), Assam.