As one of the world’s leading economic powers, India relies heavily on resources from the forest. Its growth of economy comes at the expense of its natural environment. Despite findings in 2009 that believed the forest cover in India had increased 5 percent since 1990, some doubt the credibility of the figure as commercial deforestation in India is still reported frequently by journalists and researchers.
Until recently, after countless environmentalists stressed the importance of tree plantation for regulating pollution level in the air, illegal felling of trees was on the rise, for example, in the Sunderbans of India, the world's largest mangrove forest.
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How can the forest serve the people in India? Forests and woodlands are converted into agricultural land to feed growing numbers of people, plantation of cash crops while cattle ranching helps India to earn money. Trees are also cut for firewood, building material and other wood products..
Monoculture plantations are on the rise in India, expanding by nearly 6,000 square kilometres (2,300 square miles) to 18,000 square kilometres (nearly 7,000 square miles) per year. (Source: Mongabay)
Apart from that, India is a big edible oil consumer. In fact, it is one of the three largest importers of palm oil in the world, along with the EU and China. Of these imports, 95 percent come from Indonesia and Malaysia, causing negative social and environmental consequences in these exporting countries. The global demand for palm oil is projected to increase from the current level of 22 million tonnes to 40 million nby 2020. This increase in demand is likely to force the producing countries to establish new plantations, by converting high conservation value forests.