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The Value of Forests
by Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira

October 27, 2010

There is no denying the fact that during the past two decades, there has been increased damage to forests and other wildlife havens by man. The forests are in a state of crisis never seen by humankind. Much of the damage that has been done will not be easily undone.  This exploitation has brought benefits to a select group of people, especially those living in the developed world. India today is the poorest in the world as per capita forest land is concerned. The per capita forest land in India is 0.10 hectares compared to the world average of one hectare. (Canada=14.2 ha, Australia 7.6ha, U.S.A 7.3 ha). Indian forests are prized for their varied forms in terms of wildlife, herbs, shrubs, medicinal trees etc. Yet India is losing about 1.5 million hectares of forest cover each year and in 20 years the value of our forests will be “ ZERO FOREST VALUE “. How then do we achieve that fine balance between industrial development and environmental protection?

Importance of forests as Natural Capital:

Forests play an important role in enhancing the ability of environment by influencing the life supporting systems. Forests play a role not only in the social and economic well being of the society but also in the maintenance of the ecological balance. Forests provide us with livestock and wild varieties of plants, some of which have been domesticated to support our staple food. It also provides us with rivers, ores, metals, medicines, including the very oxygen we breathe. 













This article is so very different from the rest of our earlier articles. It is primarily written to stimulate the imagination of Policy makers, Bureaucrats, Ministers, the Public, students, teachers and Professors to think and rethink on the state of our forest wealth and put in place an indicator to measure environmental stress. We call this indicator as “Clean safe environment”.

Environmental degradation associated with economic development is the order of the day. The deterioration in the quality of air, land and water and the loss of precious wildlife and plant species are some of the costs of this development. As guardians of nature we do not question development. The central issue is the need to determine the costs of environment damage and work out a system for recovering the expenses for repairing the damage from the concerned Industry or households. The index will reflect the pollution and environmental harm and make the polluting party pay for the cleanup. Policy makers have to realize that conservation and sustainable utilization of forest wealth has to be central to all development planning in India.

Development at the cost of environment can take place only up to a point. Development of a National resource accounting system needs to be put in place so that any degradation or depletion of our national resource stocks can get adequately reflected in our National Accounts. It will tell us whether it is not being obtained today at the cost of discounting our future.

This article contains our thoughts, opinion and views to drive debate and discussion in schools, colleges, Parliament, Board rooms, and households on the need to have a healthy habitable planet. Any type of development should relate to a balanced development taking into account the well being of all living beings and not only human beings.
 What is Green?

Green means many things to many people. The UN Brundtland Commission defines GREEN as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
 Forest wealth, contributes significantly to long term economic performance and therefore should be considered as an economic asset. Forests are not only a source of timber, fuel wood, but also markedly influences local and regional climate, preserves soil from erosion, mangroves prevent flooding and trees act as stores of carbon and biodiversity. In the developing world some 75 per cent of all medicinal drugs are from forest plants.

How do you value a tree?

• A single large tree can release up to 400 gallons of water into the atmosphere each day.
• One acre of trees produces enough oxygen for 18 people every day.
• One acre of trees absorbs enough carbon dioxide per year to match that emitted by driving a car 26,000 miles.
• Urban neighborhoods with mature trees can be up to 5 degrees cooler in summer heat than neighborhoods without trees.
• A one degree rise in temperature equals a 2 % increase in peak electricity consumption
• Large trees remove 60 to 70 times more pollution than small trees.
• The root system inside the floor of the forest can act as an aqua guard in purifying water from chemicals and impurities.













GREEN AUDIT

Green audits show you how to live a healthier life style. It monitors the basic necessasities of common people and periodically assesses the quality of air that we breathe and the quality of water that we drink. It shows how polluted our air and water systems are and the companies or individuals responsible for the mess. Any person, who swims in our rivers, should also be able to directly drink the water without external purification.

The imbalance between implementing economically beneficial industrial projects and preserving fragile environment will be set right with green accounting norms, only when we reflect the use of depletable natural resources in the process of generating per capita income.

Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA)

The Supreme Court and mind you not politicians or bureaucrats has put in place a concept known as CAMPA-OR NPV. CAMPA stands for compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority, according to which every party, whether government or private that wishes to divert forest area for non forestry purposes has to deposit a certain sum equivalent to the total value of ecological benefits lost per hectare diverted for such purpose. The value of benefits lost is arrived at by taking into account the net present value NPV of benefits lost the stipulated compensatory afforestation amount and the funds accrued under the catchment area treatment plans submitted. This approach has brought in 11,000 crore available to State Governments for reforestation and regeneration of natural forest cover. However, in our opinion the prescribed formula does not reflect the true and accurate cost of cutting forests for development.

CONCLUSION:

Humanity would be living clearly beyond its means without forests. The forests are important not only for this generation but also for future generations. One in every seven persons on this planet lives in India.  Roughly 16 per cent of the world’s population is present in India and with only 2.4 % of its land area there is obviously a heavy pressure on the natural resources including forests. Historically, the protection of forest wealth formed an ardent article of faith reflected in the daily lives of people. Development must be environmentally sound and sustainable without any constraints to quality of life. As of now, we know of no country which tries to account for environmental resource changes in its national income accounting. May be India can take the lead and demonstrate to the rest of the world that National resource accounting is the bench mark in measuring the Gross domestic product of any Country. This system of green accounting will bring about accountability and transparency in public policies. It will tell us how much the Country borrows from Nature, how much this generation borrows from future generations and how a few people in the corridors of power make economically meaningful decisions.

Dr Anand & Geeta Pereira - Archives

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READ 'EXCLUSIVE ARCHIVES'
Comments on this article
Eric Pinto, GoaMonday, June 27, 2011
The facts and figures involving the benefits of trees and forests is very helpful. Quantifying the benefits puts things in perspective.
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Kaushik Subramani, CoorgMonday, February 14, 2011
Good article
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Manjula, B, Bagepalli/chickaballapurMonday, February 14, 2011
Yes its really wonderful job and to encourage the people by means of this kind of articles.
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rakesh hoskere, Monday, November 08, 2010
Hi Anand,please don't stop doing what ever you have started !I think you aRe doing a great job by making atleast a few people aware of what's really happening to this world .I pray god to give you more power to change people's mind through words to make them realize things sooner .
Comment on this message     

Roshini Pinto, MangaloreSunday, October 31, 2010
Dr. Anand and Geetha, good work. Your article has caused a lot of awareness with regards to the importance of forests. A must topic these days. Good information for school projects. Each and everyone of us should work towards saving the forests. Cannot pass the buck on someone else. You have taken a lot of troubles to create awareness through your articles. Now its the duty of each and everyone of us to work towards making a better world.
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Liza Gina Pais, MysoreSaturday, October 30, 2010
Dear Anand Uncle & Geeta Aunty,Thank you for the article published on Daijiworld,The article contributes a lot towards restoration of forest's,The article will help me in my school projects,Regards-Liza Giana Pais (Mysore)
Comment on this message     

Leona Pais, PuneSaturday, October 30, 2010
Dear Dr Anand & Geeta,Very good article & there has been a lot of un known knowledge shared,We all rely on big volumes of books to find such information,but here it has all syphoned into a page with beautifull pictures that are self explanatory,Rgerads-Leona Pais (Mysore)
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Leander Pais, MysoreSaturday, October 30, 2010
Dr Anand & Geeta.Thank you for the wonderfull article,You & Geeta aunty have baught in a lot of awareness to us,The article has exposed us to many issues that we never knew,Thank you once again & keep writing more & more articles on enviornment.Regards-Leander Pais
Comment on this message     

Gajendra Rautela, Rudraprayag, UKFriday, October 29, 2010
Thank you for interesting article, we have uploaded same on our blog for the information of people at http://chimalaya.org
Comment on this message     

shyamala, nagpur and lonavalaFriday, October 29, 2010
beautiful article , beautiful couple .
i would like to add my small experience :when i totally enclosed my land and did nothing additional the natural cover re generated wonderfully . when i look at my area ( sausar tahsil, dist chindwara , MP) it looks so very rich and thickly forested as compared to the surrounding "forest" area. just keeping the goats and cattle and woodcutters made a huge difference
Comment on this message     

Joyline, bantwalFriday, October 29, 2010
Thank u sir for the wonderful awareness.Why do we still fail to understand the value of the forest, even though we suffer because of the natural calamities?Is there any substitution for the trees which have been already destroyed in the name of rural development?i think we need be very very cautious about these things, as we are in the technical Ara. we still have the false trust on the man made things other than the trustworthy and valuable gift of mother nature.Its the right time for every individual to work to save our mother nature.
Comment on this message     

Harsha D'Souza, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
Highly informative and alarming. Our forest dept. needs more and sincere people with better equipment. People should also feel alarmed about the future. There is no hope on the politicians anymore. We need to develop more environmental activists. May god bless you.
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Geraldin, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
As Dr. Anand and Geeta have rightly pointed out, Mother Earth belongs to the whole of humanity. It cannot be allowed to be plundered by the greedy rich nations. Unwarranted and wasteful consumption by some deprives the majority of essentials and it also destroys natural balance. The problem is so grave that a collective effort needs to be put in place to bring in global green accounting standards. Very educative article. Many thanks.
Comment on this message     

Anuj, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
There is a strong link between man and forests. A vast majority of the rural people have continued to survive because of the forest wealth. They never destroyed forests, but made use of the forest produce for their sustenance. However, the affluent society has become an effluent society due to the indiscriminate exploitation of forests. This in fact is threatening the very life supporting systems of the earth. As indicated in this article green GDP will act as an indicator in minimizing the damage done to forests.
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Manik, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
Thank you Dr. Anand and Geeta for writing down a very relevant article. It is wise to go a step further and include environmental audit across all activities may it be Industry, agriculture or mining. This will ensure greater transparency and mitigate carbon emissions.
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G Fernandes, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
A very thought provoking article.If growth is accorded higher priority at the cost of environment, it will lead to severe ecological consequences. Who can argue against the preservation of our rivers, forests, lakes, mountains, flora, fauna, and biodiversity in its myriad forms? We need to have a mechanism in place that caters to the valuation of ecological cost of projects.
Comment on this message     

adshenoy, mangloorThursday, October 28, 2010
Dear Drs. Anand and Geetha,

There is a international convention going on right now on "biological diversity" in Nagoya Japan. Your article comes at the right time. Perhaps this article should be forwarded to the convention venue/participants. It is imperative we must preserve this nature at all costs.
Comment on this message     

VINITHA, MOODBIDREThursday, October 28, 2010
Thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta for the article and pictures.
Comment on this message     

VARUN, MANGALOREThursday, October 28, 2010
Very informative article.Thank you Dr. Anand & Dr.Geeta.
Comment on this message     

GANESH MURTHY, CHIKMAQGALURThursday, October 28, 2010
This article is very educative and provides global information THANK YOU
Comment on this message     

sunil baptist, CHIKMAGALURThursday, October 28, 2010
Beautiful article.Forests are the main and biggest source of oxygen which is essential for the survival of Humans.Hope the people understand the importance of trees before its too late.
Comment on this message     

nelson, valencia/kuwaitThursday, October 28, 2010
A very informative and interesting article to save mother nature. It should make its way in all dailies in and around our state for people to realise this. Thank you pereira couple.
Comment on this message     

RAKESH, BANGALOREThursday, October 28, 2010
Dear Sir,
This is a very good article. As metioned in this article the CAMPA fund which was put in place by the Hon'ble Supreme court of India, which had directed the forest department to collect NPV and CA charges for the of Forest land diveerted for non forestry purposes. The collection of NPV and CA charges has been collected reguraly from 2002. Sir, whether this fund is being utlised properly ?
Comment on this message     

Pavithra, COORGThursday, October 28, 2010
Large scale deforestation is taking place in Coorg and as rightly pointed out if carbon credits are given to farmers, they will in turn protect forests. Thank you Anand, Geeta and daijiworld for the informative article
Comment on this message     

Nihal, MangaloreThursday, October 28, 2010
This article has enabled me to look at forests in a different way. If we can put a monetary cost to every component of the forest and then equate it to development, it will give us an indicator of the damage done.Thank you.
Comment on this message     

Payal, KadriThursday, October 28, 2010
Thank you Dad and Mum for the wonderful insights regarding the value of forests. The proposed green audit is a sure way of stopping deforestation and protecting the wild life too. thank you Daijiworld for covering such important topics of National importance.
Comment on this message     

Cauvery, CoorgThursday, October 28, 2010
Planet Earth has a finite capacity of providing natural resources. However some resources have shown signs of serious depletion and others have become severely polluted. If polluters are made to pay a heavy sum for the clean up, then the chances of reduction of pollution are real. It was wonderful assimilating the various facts about forests. Thank you
Comment on this message     

Allen Pais, Mysore/DubaiThursday, October 28, 2010
Dear Dr Anand & Geeta,Wonderfull article on Forest,Specially the bench marks on the value of a tree is excellent information to know about,I hope there would be an NGO available who could monitor the Forest performace using KPA's"Key Performance Indicator" & improve the support system to our forests by measuring the KPA's on a quarterly basis or 6 monthly,We need the support of the Local people who live around the forest,& they could play a key role in enhancing the Forests,Like in Canada Trees can be planted only for the common mans needs,those trees that can grow in 5 yrs time to a healthy fully grown tree,un fortunatly our climatic condition does not support such trees,Well your article is remarkable with a lot of valid information to share-Congradulation & Regards-Allen Pais
Comment on this message     

PRABHU H V, TUMKURThursday, October 28, 2010

Dear Dr. Anand and Geetha , as a citizen of India, first and foremost I solicit my humble indebtedness and gratitude to you for taking so much pain and hard work in spreading the message regarding conservation and value of forest to all the policy makers, bureaucrats, politicians, students, Ministers and every responsible citizens of our Country. This vision will definitely benefit future generations.
Every word of the article is meaningful and the prediction of deforestation resulting in Zero Forest Value is cent percent realistic. This indeed will enable mankind open their eyes in preservation of forest and ecology and bring out the judicial use of resources for economic development.

I really appreciate your concept that the polluting party should be held responsible for repairing the damage may it be Industry or households and accommodated in the Nation Resource Accounting systems for degradation of resources. In the name of globalization aggressive industrialization is taking place, and elite people only think of development rather than eco conservation. Your views really make sense and help Policy makers in understanding and implementing the cost of damage at various levels, it also enables individuals to take responsibility for their actions So that we can achieve Clean Safe Environment.
Your enthusiasm in educating the common man (who don’t know biology, physiology and plant science etc) about importance and value of forest will go a long way in sensitizing people on the importance of forests.
Modern day Topics like carbon trading, green audit and CAMPA is quite recent .This article is very educative and provides global information to common people. It will enable Government departments to their knowledge, bring about co ordination among various departments and organize themselves better such that CAMPA becomes a reality. Government and policy makers may be seeking information, suggestions, and services from a true dedicated, informative, proactive person like you. Kindly work out a model which will reflect the true and accurate cost of cutting forest for development and achieve sustainability. As you have rightly pointed out that our country should take lead in including natural resource as a key bench mark in GDP without losing anytime so that our country may be equal to many of developed countries in most of the aspects of the economy.
Once again all d very best and thank you for the dedication, education, & information in helping our nation to be progressive one.

Comment on this message     

PRABHU H V, TUMKURThursday, October 28, 2010
Dear Dr. Anand and Geetha , as a citizen of India, first and foremost I solicit my humble indebtedness and gratitude to you for taking so much pain and hard work in spreading the message regarding conservation and value of forest to all the policy makers, bureaucrats, politicians, students, Ministers and every responsible citizens of our Country. This vision will definitely benefit future generations.
Every word of the article is meaningful and the prediction of deforestation resulting in Zero Forest Value is cent percent realistic. This indeed will enable mankind open their eyes in preservation of forest and ecology and bring out the judicial use of resources for economic development.
I really appreciate your concept that the polluting party should be held responsible for repairing the damage may it be Industry or households and accommodated in the Nation Resource Accounting systems for degradation of resources. In the name of globalization aggressive industrialization is taking place, and elite people only think of development rather than eco conservation. Your views really make sense and help Policy makers in understanding and implementing the cost of damage at various levels, it also enables individuals to take responsibility for their actions So that we can achieve Clean Safe Environment.
Your enthusiasm in educating the common man (who don’t know biology, physiology and plant science etc) about importance and value of forest will go a long way in sensitizing people on the importance of forests.
Modern day Topics like carbon trading, green audit and CAMPA is quite recent .This article is very educative and provides global information to common people. It will enable Government departments to their knowledge, bring about co ordination among various departments and organize themselves better such that CAMPA becomes a reality. Government and policy makers may be seeking information, suggestions, and services from a true dedicated, informative, proactive person like you. Kindly work out a model which will reflect the true and accurate cost of cutting forest for development and achieve sustainability. As you have rightly pointed out that our country should take lead in including natural resource as a key bench mark in GDP without losing anytime so that our country may be equal to many of developed countries in most of the aspects of the economy.
Once again all d very best and thank you for the dedication, education, & information in helping our nation to be progressive one.

Comment on this message     

Romola, sakleshpur/KadriThursday, October 28, 2010

An interesting article that throws open many points for debate.
Should we become an economic power at the cost of dwindling forest resources? Should more land be available for agriculture at the cost of forests? Should we lease thousands of acres of forests for mining at the cost of destroying virgin forests? The magnitude of the loss of precious forest wealth loss was most poignantly described by Harvard's Pulitzer Prize-winning biologist Edward O. Wilson over a decade ago:
"The worst thing that can happen during the 1980s is not energy depletion, economic collapses, limited nuclear war, or conquest by a totalitarian government. As terrible as these catastrophes would be for us, they can be repaired within a few generations. The one process ongoing in the 1980s that will take millions of years to correct is the loss of genetic and species diversity by the destruction of natural habitats. This is the folly that our descendants are least likely to forgive us for."
Development of a National resource accounting system will go a long way in helping everyone understand the value of forests. It will also enable us to draw a fine balance between industrial development and environmental protection?
Thank you Dr.Anand and Geeta for the article and pictures.
Comment on this message     

Ivan Frank & Fly, MangaloreWednesday, October 27, 2010
As you rightly pointed out that forest provides multiple benefits to environment, people, and animals.Forests are the main and biggest source of oxygen which is essential for the survival of Humans, Animals and Plant life on the globe. Increasing green house effect is a growing menace for all sorts of life on the globe. Only forests can fight this danger in a very good manner.
Thank you Anand and Geeta for this very informative and interesting article with beautiful pictures.
Comment on this message     

A.S.Mathew, U.S.A.Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Great article with specific details, also fantastic pictures.

World economic propsperity has
directly influenced deforestation,
and that is created ecological
imbalance, including the global
warming. Indeed, we are faced with
greater challenges and dilemma which we have never faced with in history.
Comment on this message     

adshenoy, mangloorWednesday, October 27, 2010
We are the natures keepers and we also destroy our nature for its richness.
Abuse must be stopped particularly by the multi-corporations who exploit nature for profits.
Let us join hands to preserve the forests and its green habitats.
Comment on this message     

v.baretto, Bantwal-BangaloreWednesday, October 27, 2010
Beautiful article with statistics and photographs from a planting couple of Saklaspur standing beneath the Robusta plant. This expresses their affection towards the forest growth and feeling when they see a large scale deforestation.
Comment on this message     

Alfred Vincent Monis, Bantakal/Kingdom of BahrainWednesday, October 27, 2010
Very informative article.Thank you Dr. Anand & Dr.Geeta.We should not expect Govt. to take any initiative in this regard.Each and every responsible indivisual should take responsibility to plant more and more trees and to educate the importance of planting and maintaining trees to the uneducated people.I have seen well off people and well educated people selling grown up trees for few thousand rupees.People should not sell the trees unless it is important.
Comment on this message     

Alan, M'lolreWednesday, October 27, 2010
Very nice and informative article..
Hope the people understand the importance of trees before its too late..
Comment on this message     

Balakrishna Shetty, Yellur/DubaiWednesday, October 27, 2010
Dr Anand and Geeta ji,
That is a wonderful write-up. Some of the statistics especially the per capita forest land are eye openers. This message needs to reach many in India - I mean various authorities as well as some of the NGOs who would selflessly act on it. Thank you and God Bless both of you.
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