INDIA – The Fire Free Forest Kerala, a collective of more than 20 environmental organisations, has urged the government to review controlled and prescribed burnings by the Forest Department as it was detrimental to the forest ecosystem.
A meeting in Thiruvananthapuram on Wednesday demanded that the department immediately put an end to intentional burning in forest areas.
It said forest fires had been globally rated as a disaster. With the Western Ghats vulnerable to wildfires, the government and the departments concerned should evaluate recurring forest fires as a disaster and rally all resources to tackle such incidents.
The meeting called for a coordinated effort of the Tribal Welfare, Forest, and Fire and Rescue Services departments as well as district administrations to address the issue.
The impact of forest fire on the rural economy, soil fertility, groundwater recharge, and river flow should be evaluated as environmental degradation was at its peak in the State.
The ecological value of grassland and forest ecosystems should be studied and the loss to the economy and ecology considered when planning a sustainable model for rebuilding Kerala.
As many as 30 representatives of environmental organisations from Wayanad, Kasargod, Kannur, Palakkad, Idukki, Malappuram, and Thiruvananthapuram attended the programme.