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‘OVER-PROTECTION OF FOREST AS BAD AS EXPLOITATION’

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Trichy: Stating that over protection or preservation of forest is as bad as its exploitation, Marc David Abrams, professor of ecosystem science and management from Penn State University, USA, pitched for controlled fire in forest, which would facilitate its better regeneration.

Speaking at the workshop on ‘Forest management by recent spatial technologies and atmospheric (weather and climate) modelling’ held at Bishop Heber College on Thursday, he said that native tree species that are useful for wildlife and mankind should be raised.

He said that native Americans, who lived before 1,500 AD, were excellent vegetation managers and they could effectively manage fire, which helps in regenerating forest.

Abrams said that their methods should be re-deployed and added that natives of Western Ghats, too, have used fire to manage forest resources in the past.

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Absence of fire in most forests has resulted in deteriorating quality of soil, Abrams said. This is unlike the past, when carbon content was high in the soil due to fire that helped its regeneration, Abrams said. He said that countries like southern Europe, Africa and Australia have stated that they used to have a lot of forest fire but now things are turning worse without fire.

“Fire suppression would increase shade tolerant trees apart from resulting in the invasion of trees into the grasslands. Forests are more likely to get affected by fungus attack,” he said.

“We still have a lot of native species but not many are valuable species that are important to wildlife or mankind,” he said.

Regional planner from Periayar Tiger Conservation Foundation, Shiju Chacko was also part of the workshop, who discussed on the role of forest in fixing carbon level in the soil.

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