In the pursuit of ‘Grow more food’ campaign, all areas which were suitable for farming was brought under agriculture and forests were cleared recklessly which contributed to the evolution of human-animal conflict,” observed A.C. Lakshmana, former Secretary (Forest), Government of Karnataka, here yesterday.

He was delivering the key-note address at a workshop on ‘Human-animal conflicts and its ecological perspectives’ organised by the Department of Studies in Environmental Sciences, University of Mysore, at the Lecture Hall of the Department at Manasagangotri in city.

Drawing a correlation between human-animal conflict and the loss of natural forest cover, he said that though the problem of food was solved, other problems were created in the process and to support the ambitious food project, dams were constructed across rivers for irrigation and power projects were begun which aggravated the crisis.

He pointed out that the natural generation of forest vegetation had reduced drastically, even in places of dense vegetation like B.R.Hills. More than 40% of forests in the country do not have regeneration, dragging animals into conflict with humans.

Regretting that the area of bamboo forest had also come down drastically, Lakshmanna pointed out the inter-connectivity between water table and forest. An elephant requires 200 kg of fodder and 100 litres of water everyday and in their absence, the pachyderm is forced to raid agricultural tracts and feed on paddy, banana, sugarcane etc.

Dwelling on the ecological significance of elephants, Lakshmana said they help in regeneration of forests by exposing the ground vegetation while the dung was the source of food for many insects which helps enrich the soil and seed dispersal.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore