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Deforestation

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UNIT I

DEFORESTATION

CHAPTER 1
What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the removal or damage of vegetation in a forest to the extent that it no longer supports its natural flora and fauna. In other words, deforestation can be defined as the transformation of forest land to non-forest uses where forest land includes lands under agro-forestry and shifting cultivation, and not simply closed canopy primary forests (FAO/UNEP, 1982). However, this definition does not include “logging”. More inclusive was Myers’s 1980 definition, where deforestation refers, “generally to the complete destruction of forest cover through clearing for agriculture … [so] … that not a tree remains, and the land is given over to non-forest purposes … [and where] very heavy and unduly negligent logging … [result in a] … decline of biomass and depletion of ecosystem services … . So severe that the residual forest can no longer qualify as forest in any practical sense of the world.”
Alan Graigner (1980, AS quoted in Saxena and Nautiyal, 1997) asserts that selective logging does not “lead to forest clearance and does not constitute deforestation”, whereas Norman Myers (1980, 1993) thinks that logging is crucial because, although it may only affect a small proportion of trees per hectare, it damages wide areas and is the precursor of penetration by the forest farmers.
For the purpose of this study, the FAO’s latest definitions (1993) will be used. The FAO defines forests as “ecosystems with a minimum of 10% crown cover of trees and/or bamboo, generally associated with wild flora, fauna, and natural soil conditions, and not subject to agricultural practices” and deforestation as a “change of land use with a depletion of tree crown cover to less than 10% crown cover”.
“A livelihood comprises the assets (natural, physical, human, financial and social capital), activities, and the access to...

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