Nothing to worry, says CWW
IS THE forest cover in Dudhwa and Katarniyaghat tiger reserves shrinking? If the report of the Forest Survey of India and the Directorate Project Tiger is anything to go by, the answer is affirmative. According to the report, the forest cover in the reserves has shrunk by anything between one sq km and four sq km.
However, this has never perturbed the Forest Department. “It’s negligible as compared to the vast area of the tiger reserves,” said chief wildlife warden (CWW) Mohammad Ahsan.
“Dudhwa is 490 sq km while Katarniyaghat is about 600 sq km. So what will be the rate of decrease of forest cover?” he quipped.
Dismissing the report, the CWW said FSI satellite images used in the survey might be goofed up.
“It may be referring to a small or negligible portion on the Indo-Nepal border or any other portion in the vast jungles,” the CWW said.
The report categorically states that there has been a decrease in the forest cover in 11of the 28 tiger reserves in the country, including Dudhwa and Katarniyaghat.
The study was conducted under the ‘Forest cover in tiger reserves of India — status and changes’ project. The report has attributed the causes for decrease in forest cover to the socio-economic pressure and natural disasters in protected areas. The Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary in the Dudhwa National Park is getting eroded as the Sharda is changing its course. This phenomenon, according to the experts, is a natural ‘disaster’. The villages on the fringes of the protected areas are also adding to the damage as villagers are dependent on the forest.