����������� Ethnobotanical Leaflets 11: 266-279. 2007.
Village Barali Kass Kotli Azad,
An overview of the Forest Habitat's situation
in Village Barali Kass Kotli Azad Kashmir
Key Words:��� �Habitat, forest, conservation, degradation, indigenous peoples, illegal, awareness.
The peoples of Barali Kass who for centuries have lived in this area� have long depended on the forests as their main source of income, revenue and also for their timber, fuel wood and livestock s `need .This area is located at the distance of about 15Km from the district head quarter Kotli, which is the southern side of city(Rehman,2007).Barali Kass is the far-flung village of district Kotli and one of the poorest village in the rugged of District. This area is little more than a huddle of houses located on one slope of the barren, rocky hills. Here its some adjacent areas like fafeel ,mankal,seri,dakhari and dahar� water is so scarce that young women used to spend from four to six hours per day to fetch water from the tiny natural springs that are located higher up or down in the hills . During the sweltering burning summer months, the women would be forced to go twice a day with their plastic pail loaded onto donkeys. This constant fetch for water would leave them with little time to do anything else with their lives. Now the small water supply schemes and hand pumps constructed in some area nearby, with the joint collaboration of the village communities and the Government departments (Natura, 2004).There is no even basic health facilities at village level and some indigenous peoples rely on herbal medicines to cure diseases. The average height of the areas ranges from 740m to 1200m. It includes in sub tropical zone. Temperature is very sizzling in summer and chilly in winter. June and July are the hottest months (max.37C and Mini.25C) while December and January are the coldest months (Max.17.5C and Mini.4c0) of the area. The velocity of the wind is high in the morning and evening. The wind blows from north-east to south-west. The average annual rainfall of the study area is 114.42 millimeters .The average annual humidity at is 77.16% and is 56.66%.Study area consist of Nagri formation of Siwalik group of rocks which contain sand stones and shale. Mostly the soil is loamy, clayey and sandy clay. The soil is acidic with pH ranges from 6.1-6.4.The percentage of Phosphorus ranges from 10-20 ppm and percentage of potassium ranges from 40�120ppm.This area is very appealing due to the presence of forest along with the main road, which is a link between two villages Barali and Mansooh. The people of the area have empirical and pragmatic observations and knowledge about nature. The most common occupation of these people is forming and cattle rearing. Main dominated trees in the areas are Pinus roxburghii, Olea ferruginea, Acacia modesta, Albizzia lebbeck, Ficus bengalensis, Ficus carica, Morus alba, Eugenia jambolana, Dalbergia sissoo, Grewia vilosa ,Bauhinia varigiata, Emblica officinalis, Pyrus pashia and cereal crops are wheat and maize(Rehman,2007).
Some areas those nearer
settlements, on lower slopes, nearer water and nearer transport routes will be
individually owned, while some forest up hill slopes, further from Stream(Kass), are forest�
owned. There are biased and legal boundaries between private and
Government land. These boundaries may be very important locally, since they may
impose different land-uses from those chosen by local inhabitants, but may at
first glance present less of a challenge to larger scale landscape analyses.
There is a stream called �Kass� which separates the
Government owned and private owned land. In the area Forestry� projects have
not worked much with the concept of landscape (Shepherd, 2002).Living condition
of the peoples in the area is very poor, poverty and the environment are two of
the most critical issues affecting mankind. Poor communities in the area
usually suffer the worst effect of environmental problems. Poverty also forces
these communities to exploit natural resources and exacerbate problem like
deforestation and desertification(Veen,2006)The Barali
Kass people are an agro-pastoral tribe. The area is
predominantly semi-arid. Rainfall is erratic and poorly distributed with high
variability between seasons.Barali Kass region was extensively forested with woodland and bush
land species, and good cover of under storey grasses. However woodland degradation in this area have been and
is being caused the clearing of forests (Rehman,2006).Inhabitants of Barali Kass are able to collect fodder, fuel wood,
timber wood and other wood products in their farms and from forests which
is� not far away from their residential
areas(Kaale, Mlenge and Barrow, 2002).
The complex structure of this forest
offers a great diversity of habitats in which plants and animals can live. One
of the main aims of forest management for conservation should be to create,
maintain or restore structural diversity where it has been lost in the area or
where, without management, it would decline.
����� Barali Kass is my native area and I am the witness that this area was very green and rich with forest resources but now the situation is quite different. This essay is based on my own observations, indigenous knowledge; transect walk, analysis and literature review. In this study I tried to discuss the factors causes� forest habitat loss and what is the rational behind this ethics, and the measures to reverse this adverse situation.
one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world,
diverse natural habitats in the area with monocultures of arable crops
drastically reduces the range of plants and animals that an area supports.
Illegal logging, fires and forest conversion are driving much of the destruction. These are complex issues in the area, often with social and economic roots (WWF International 2005). According to (Kettunen and Brink, 2006) �if private decision-makers are not given the incentive to value the larger social benefits of conservation, their decisions will often result in inadequate conservation�. Currently, topsoil is eroded annually in the area and arable land shows signs of erosion (Potstone, 2006).Indigenous communities has private owned lands and involve in timber wood trade without any authorization and due to this rationale ,old and broad leaved trees are cut down. There is an other strong notion has been developed in peoples minds that if they cut and chop up� all the shrubs and trees from their own lands it will improve grass production for their domestic animals and now the area� is totally nudes and under the great threat of soil erosion and degradation (Rehman, 2007).
Human induced denuded area (Source Gharib,2007)
It also observed that local peoples haul out stones by
digging and blasting for construction purpose and this also cause swerve land
erosion and biodiversity loss. During my last visit to
In this area conservation and the well-being of indigenous
people are intrinsically linked, you can't have one without the other. Existing
conservation initiatives would be better-served by having more integration
between indigenous populations and other forest preservation efforts (
��Following are the great threat of habitat depletion in the area:
Over-grazing, smuggling of forest
resource, uncontrolled bush fires both intentionally and unintentionally,
clearing of land for agricultural expansion, removal of shrubs and ruthless
cutting of trees for improvement of grass for fodder. Soil Erosion,
malpractices, lack of trained staff and�
education and also lack of local community participation in management
are the main factors for habitat loss and degradation in the area of Barali Kass (Rehman,2006).�Habitat
fragmentation is a primary issue of concern in the area. This concern centers
around the disruption of once large continuous blocks of habitat into less
continuous habitat, primarily by human disturbances such as land clearing and
conversion of vegetation from one type to an-other. The classic view of habitat
fragmentations the breaking up of a large intact area of a single vegetation
type into smaller intact units. Usually, the ecological effects are considered
The key soil characteristics in the area that affect yield are nutrient content, water holding capacity, organics matter content, soil reaction (acidity), top soil depth, and soil bio mass. Change over time in these characteristics constitutes �degradation�. Degradation processes include erosion, compaction and hard set ting, acidification, declining soil organic matter, soil fertility depletion, biological degradation, and soil pollution.(Scherr, 1999). Soil supports agriculture, wildlife and the built environment, filters water, stores carbon, and preserves records of the ecological and cultural past.(Potstone,2006). The main stream (Kass) banks in the heart of Barali Kass, long ago deforested, are given over to farms and villages. Later, abandoned timber concessions begin to appear. It is also observed that illegal logging is not the cause of all deforestation. Some trees are cut down to make way for plantations or ranching, or to provide farmland or firewood for the poor. But in most cases, farmers and developers follow in the loggers' wake, taking advantage of the roads and exploit forest resources (Illegal Logging info 2006). Landless peasants in search of public forest lands to grow crops for survival and cattle ranchers, in some cases supported by governments, are important agents of deforestation. (Hermosilla, 2000).Some Government owned forest areas are occupied by local peoples without any authorization and there is a great clash among peoples for their permanent and long term domination on these areas.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Tree planting activities play a minimal direct role in re-inserting biological diversity into degraded areas. There is need to increase the understanding of forest landscape restoration (Davison,2002).In area a number of experiments have been made and fast-growing, short rotation trees have been cultivated. A relatively new�but so far unsuccessful�introduction has been that of the Eucalyptus camaldulensis. There are both proponents and opponents of the tree. One view is that eucalyptus trees are one of the most reasonable options for cultivation where the soil and water are moderately saline, second view, however, mounting criticism of its potentially harmful ecological, economic and social effects. Some of the reported harmful effects of the tree include soil degradation, reducing land productivity (Haider,2002). After detail study about this plant it will better to cover denuded places.
Barali Kass has unique forest habitat dominated by pine tree (Pinus roxburgii) and �is under serious threat. Furthermore, corruption is still entrenched within area whereby official involvement in illegal logging is widespread and the Ministry of Forestry in AJK has also trying to combat the problem of over-exploitation and this blatant deforestation. However trees are still cut and exported illegally. This is not helped by the fact that the laws regarding forest governance are still in disarray. There is great need to increases local co-operation in combating the illegal trade. There should be broad sets of actions should be undertaken by governments concerned with illegal logging: reducing demand by replacing it with a demand for legally produced material; reducing supply which concentrates on the underlying economic, social and political drivers behind the illegal activities and controlling the illegal trade by instituting specialized enforcement units or with the active participation of local communities (Timber mafia).Forest guards has bureaucratic approach and they little know about the value of timber wood but totally unaware and ignorant about the role of forest in ecological processes, ecosystem and other benefits for the living organisms. Forest department should develop the capacity building of these field guards because they has direct link with local communities (Butt, 2006).Illegal logging can be stop in the area� through the intergovernmental Forest Law Enforcement and Governance process. (WWF International, 2005).
��As long as our governments and business leaders do not know how much nature we use or how resource use compares to the existing stocks, overshoot may go undetected�increasing the ecological debt of society�(Wackernagel,2001).
Habitat management in and around the area involves a complex of inter-related environmental, economic and social issues and there are a number of ways that might be used to overcome forest degradation. All require certain pre-conditions be met before they can be implementing. Perhaps the most important of these is that further disturbances are prevented and that the site is protected from the events that caused degradation in the first place. One group of methods can be referred to as restoration. These methods focus primarily on biodiversity protection and the re-establishment of the original forest communities. These methods range from passive approaches where weeds or pests are controlled and the site is protected from further disturbances through to approaches involving dense plantings of many species.
The second group of methods can be referred to as rehabilitation. These seek to achieve improvements in biodiversity while also yielding some direct financial benefit to land owners as well. Methods include mosaics of monocultures of indigenous species as well as mixed-species plantations. Restoration or rehabilitation at a landscape level necessarily involves trade-offs between ecological and socio-economic systems. A process of trial-and-error or adaptive management will be needed to develop methods appropriate for particular circumstances (David, 2002).
Landslip prevention and control usually requires a combination of vegetative measures and engineering structures. Where landslips have occurred after tree clearing, regeneration of cleared areas with densely planted tree species above the slip zone is required to de-water and stabilize soils and remove soil water by evapotranspiration.
In some cases engineering structures such as soil pins,
retaining walls, rock filling and slope grooming may also be required to
prevent or control landslips (Mass Movement Landslips and Slumps) . Single most
effective way to protect the type of forest that indigenous people inhabit is
to involve them in the conservation process. They have a lot vested in the
preservation of the forest ecosystem. That's where to get their water, their
The rural communities can play an active role in conservation and need to develop mechanism:
(a) Generating knowledge based on a sophisticated understanding of their environment.
(b) Devising mechanisms to conserve and sustain their natural resources.
Establishing community-based organizations that serve as forums for identifying
problems and dealing with them through local-level experimentation, innovation,
and exchange of information with other societies (
Effective action against forest decline
requires an understanding of the underlying causes and their distant impacts on
forests. Underlying causes originate in some of the most basic features of
society, such as the distribution of economic and political power, attitudes
towards corruption, population growth, and flaws in the market system and also
in seemingly unrelated government policies. They may originate in other areas
and transmit their effects through trade and the operation of transnational
corporations. Underlying causes are many and operate in numerous and variable
On very small basis in the area trees are being planted around homesteads, schools, on farm land and along borders. Important naturally regenerating indigenous trees are being left and managed on farm and grazing land. More importantly this example of forest landscape restoration is demonstrates that rural people and communities can restore such lands, do see the importance of natural trees and vegetation in their lives and have strong institutional mechanisms for their management (Kaale, Mlenge, Barrow, 2002).
Following are some management options for Forest Habitat:
It is important that these ideas are developed jointly by forestry, nature conservation organizations and indigenous communities and not by either in isolation, if progress is to be made (Kirby and Rush, 1994).
Following options also need to combat Habitat Degradation:
� There should, whenever possible, be an obligation to provide employment and other opportunities for local people. This is one way in which a site can make a very significant contribution to a local community. There will often be considerable benefits for the site.
� Conflicting interests within a community can also be a serious issue. For example, one group may be able to benefit from forest, while another may be prevented from carrying out what they consider to be legitimate activities.
� Site management is often reliant on traditional or local management practices. The necessary skills are often available within the local populations.
� On many sites, volunteers, individuals or local support groups can make a significant contribution to management.
� Reserve managers should make a contribution towards providing environmental education, at least for local children. This can result in significant local, and wider, benefits for conservation and environmental issues, but can be very demanding on staff time and other resources.
Conservation management is mainly, if not entirely, concerned with maintaining, controlling or removing the influence of people. Simply in order to survive, humanity has exploited wildlife. Conservationists can resort to the argument that, unless we protect our environment, our ability to survive in the long term is uncertain. Sophisticated, wealthy, informed individuals, enjoying a privileged existence, must not assume any right to dictate to less advantaged people. If we want to maintain conservation areas, we must be prepared to pay for the privilege.
The situation within the Barali Kass calls for an urgent overhauling of the forest management system besides an efficient multi-sectoral intervention for sustainable livelihood provision, habitat destruction and the rampant poverty (Butt, 2006).We requires taking a very broad and long-term view to restoration, seeing the forest as part of a larger social, economic and ecological picture. A landscape approach would aim to restore all these key forest functions. Unless the causes of forest loss are tackled effectively, we face an increasingly insecure area-socially, environmentally and economically (WWF International, 2005).
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