This planet of ours is home to millions of living beings. From the tiny micro-organism to the gigantic blue whale, from the largest trees to the tiny lichens that survive on the branches of the trees, the list is quite endless. From the forest floor to the tallest branches of the trees we have micro-organism and animals of different species living in these forests that cover the surface of the Earth. However, human beings have transformed this pristine nature and wildlife into resources. People use these forests both directly and indirectly to obtain various kinds of products like wood leaves, plants for medicine and dyes, food, fuel, fodder, and many other things which has led to the depletion of the forests and the wildlife. Not just sourcing from the forest but the forest cover have depleted at a steady pace due to clearing for agriculture, housing, industries, roadways, railways and hydroelectric projects. All these deforestation activities have had a very negative impact on the environment. The immediate negative impact of deforestation is the loss of natural habitats of several species that were living in that region. Eighty percent of the land animals and plants survive in these forests, and many species have become extinct due to deforestation and many face similar threat. It is not only the animal species that are affected but deforestation also is a major factor for climate change. This kind of deforestation has become a global concern. Not only are we losing the forests but many of the world’s wildlife is at the brink of extinction due to poaching, over –exploitation, hunting, forest fires, poisoning, and environmental pollution. Conservation has become crucial to preserve the ecological diversity which in turn is necessary for our life support systems such as air, water and soil. Deforestation also has a negative impact on the food chain, as often many trees are a producer species within a food chain. Many animals feed on the organism living within the trees, or some animals live on the trees itself, as such deforestation could lead to the unbalancing of the food chain.
Wildlife and forest management are not only compatible but also interrelated. Wildlife has four basic requirements to sustain them in the forest: Food, cover, water and space. At the same time different kind of species require different stages of forest growth to meet their needs. The relationship between vegetation management and wildlife species habitat is well known. The forests all around the world provide numerous amenities apart from being a source of wood products. Apart from wood forests are also used for grazing animals. This makes it a very complex ecological and sociological concept which is a direct contrast to the principle of single-use principle of the past. Unrestrained use of forest by humans to meet their growing demands has proven to be disastrous for not just forest depletion but along with it the natural habitats of animals in the forest have been disrupted to such an extent that either certain species have become extinct or are precariously dangling on the edge of extinction.
This is the reason why Wildlife and Forest Management is very important in today’s time. The Forest management aims at long time scales. The rate at which timber is felled does not counterbalance the annual growth. The effort is to maintaining a balance between the harvest of forest products and re-growth. Here Silviculture comes into picture. Silviculture is a branch of Forestry which works around the theory and practice of controlling the forest establishment, its composition and the growth of the forest. Silviculture is an applied science which ultimately rests upon the fundamentals of natural and social sciences. It deals with the laws underlying the growth and development of individual trees and the forest as one biological unit. There are several factors that promotes the growth of a forest like the soil condition, climate, competition from other plant species, interrelations between organism, insects, animals which can be both beneficial and destructive. Silviculture works for regeneration, harvesting and tending to the forest as well work towards protecting the forest from fire, and other infestation. In turn a healthy forest becomes beneficial to all the species of animals that live in that forest.
In the same lines Wildlife management works towards maintaining a balance between the needs of the wildlife and people using the best available sciences. It includes wildlife conservation, pest control, game keeping and majorly aims to halt the lost of Earth’s biodiversity.
The reckless deforestation and killing of wild animals have brought about a misbalance that at this time is proving hard to restore. Take for example our country India which is home to about a tenth of world’s known plant and animal species, a global biodiversity hotspot is now under treat. There is a great requirement for Forest Management and Wildlife management officials to curb this impending disaster that is looming in front of us. Forest and Wildlife Management is the need of the hour or else we will lose all our precious wildlife. This management is necessary to stop the conflict between human and animals where the animal always loses, like the case of tigress “Avni” that was killed recently. This is a profession that requires love and respect for nature and dedication to work to make a difference. One needs to have a passion to really make an impact. However, it is a job that is rewarding both if a person is dedicated towards protection of the Earth and its environment in all its glory, as well as with regard to the competitive pay. There is a huge demand for Wildlife and Forest conservationist and researchers as more and more research and constant endeavor is underway to reverse the damage that has been done to the environment, the forest and wildlife.
Several Colleges and Universities offer Undergraduate and Post graduate courses in these subjects. To get a better understanding about the courses it will be good to go in for some career counseling either in person or through online. A good counseling will help understand the requirements as well as a good counseling session makes one understand if one has the interest for the subject or not.
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By: Madhuchanda Saxena
Posted By - Assistant Editor