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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Degradation of Soil in the North-Eastern States of India: Causes and Consequences

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Some scholars reported in 1985, that a large area of forest vegetation was burnt in the Shifting- Cultivation or the Slash and Burn Cultivation, practiced in the North- Eastern states of India. They further reported that forests of these regions were in danger of disappearing. If nothing was done to arrest their degradation, and destruction, these would vanish in a short period.

The Shifting Cultivation causes tremendous loss of soil, soil organisms and of nutrients. Various authors remained reporting from 1981 to 1996 that losses caused due to shifting cultivation can be minimized up to greater extent by managing watersheds (see previous chapter).However, tribal people living on the heights of mountains in these regions, through their own skill and experience, learnt the process of subsistence agriculture. The Aptani tribes of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have developed a rice based mixed farming system incorporating plantation of different trees such as Terminalis myrinalia, Ailanthes excelsa, Michelia species, Magnolia species and Bamboos.These people have good knowledge of water and forest management. These farmers cultivate wet rice, integrated with the culture of fish in the low areas of terraces and the finger millets on the demarcation lines. Thus tribal people have learnt through the experience of their own about conservation of forest resources, maintenance of ecological balance and flow of streams. It is due to the skill of Aptani tribals that forests and environment including biodiversity are safe in this area now, against the losses caused due to shifting cultivation. Women are the part of major labour Force as well as of Management in the environment of these areas.

Image 1 : bamboos

Image 2 : Magnolia in fool bloom
Key  words: Northeast, India, Bamboos, Magnolia

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