National Green Tribunal Probes Manipur Forest Cover Decline

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) seeks a response from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change regarding the significant decline in forest cover in Manipur, India, from 17,475 sq km to 16,598 sq km between 1987 and 2021, primarily due to deforestation and opium poppy cultivation, with far-reaching implications for biodiversity and ecosystem health." This description focuses on the primary topic of forest cover decline in Manipur, the central entity of the NGT, and the context of environmental degradation in India. It also highlights the significant actions and consequences of the issue, including the NGT's response and the implications for biodiversity and ecosystem health. This description will guide the AI in creating an accurate and meaningful visual representation of the article's content.

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National Green Tribunal Probes Manipur Forest Cover Decline

National Green Tribunal Probes Manipur Forest Cover Decline

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has sought a response from the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change regarding the substantial decrease in forest cover in the northeastern state of Manipur. The NGT took cognizance of a media report quoting Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh's social media post, which stated that the forest cover in Manipur has decreased by 877 square kilometers between 1987 and 2021, from 17,475 sq km to 16,598 sq km.

Why this matters: The decline in forest cover in Manipur has far-reaching implications for the region's biodiversity and ecosystem, and serves as a warning for other states facing similar environmental challenges. If left unchecked, the loss of forest land could lead to devastating consequences, including soil erosion, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and loss of habitat for endangered species.

The primary reasons attributed to this significant decline in forest cover are deforestation and opium poppy cultivation in the state. The NGT bench, comprising Chairperson Justice Prakash Shrivastava and expert member A Senthil Vel, noted that "The news item raises a substantial issue relating to compliance with environmental norms."

In response to the report, the green panel has impleaded the Shillong integrated regional office of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and the regional director of the Forest Survey of India in Kolkata as respondents in the case. The tribunal has directed these respondents to file their responses at least one week before the next date of hearing, which is scheduled for July 31, 2024.

The NGT has also decided to tag this case with a pending larger matter concerning the loss of forest land across the country. This move underscores the significance of the issue and the need for a comprehensive assessment of the factors contributing to the decline in forest cover, not just in Manipur but in other states as well.

Manipur, known for its rich biodiversity and lush green forests, has been grappling with the challenges of deforestation and illegal cultivation of opium poppy for several years. The state government has taken various measures to combat these issues, including launching drives against poppy cultivation and implementing afforestation programs. However, the substantial decrease in forest cover over the past three decades, as highlighted by the Chief Minister's post, has raised concerns among environmentalists and conservationists.

The NGT's intervention in this matter is a crucial step towards addressing the pressing issue of declining forest cover in Manipur. The tribunal's decision to seek responses from the relevant authorities and link this case with the larger issue of forest land loss across the country demonstrates the seriousness with which it views this matter. As the case progresses, it is expected to shed light on the extent of the problem and the measures needed to reverse the trend of forest cover decline in Manipur and other affected states.

Key Takeaways

  • NGT seeks response from Environment Ministry on Manipur's 877 sq km forest cover loss.
  • Deforestation and opium poppy cultivation are primary reasons for forest cover decline.
  • NGT directs respondents to file responses by July 31, 2024, and tags case with larger forest land loss matter.
  • Manipur's forest cover decreased from 17,475 sq km to 16,598 sq km between 1987 and 2021.
  • NGT's intervention aims to address declining forest cover and its far-reaching environmental implications.