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Not jhum, permanent farming best for economy: Zoramthanga

Jhum cultivation, which involves the cutting of trees, followed by drying and burning them, has led to the annual loss of huge forest cover in Mizoram.

AIZAWL:

With the jhum burning season looming in Mizoram, the state government kicked off the annual 12-day Fire Prevention Week (FPW), on February 7. Aimed at reducing incidences of forest fires during the season of jhum cultivation, the state government has been observing FPW since 2000.

Speaking on the occasion, chief minister Zoramthanga underlined the importance of permanent landholding as an ideal solution, since forest fires are common during this season in the state.

“Permanent farming, besides boosting the economy, will also protect our green forests,” he said, reiterating how massive fires ravaged the forest surrounding Lunglei town in 2021, causing immense loss.

Jhum cultivation, which involves the cutting of trees, followed by drying them under the sun and burning them, has led to the annual loss of huge forest cover in Mizoram, as per two reports by the Forest Department.

Considering 80 per cent of the state’s farmers still depend on jhum cultivation, it has had consequences for the state, according to a report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), which has disclosed 12,726 forest fire incidents from January 2021 till date.

The India State of Forest Report (ISFR), 2021, had further stated that Mizoram has lost 186 square kilometres of green forest during 2019-21.

Quoting the ISFR-2021 report, T J Lalnuntluanga, minister of Environment, Forest and Climate, Mizoram, said, “While 20.28 per cent of Mizoram’s geographical area comes under ‘extremely vulnerable’ to forest fires category, 49.73 per cent comes under ‘highly vulnerable’. Only 2.2 per cent are not vulnerable.”

Notably, Mizoram has a forest cover of 84.53 per cent of the total geographical area. In 2019, the state’s green cover was 85.41 per cent.

ALSO READhttps://themeghalayan.com/mnf-rubbishes-alleged-cms-link-with-burmese-supari-syndicate/

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