Importance of Forest Conservation

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The birth and growth of human civilization and culture has been very intimately connected with the forests. Forests have had a great influence on human thought and way of living. For example, the Vedas and Upanishads, the oldest known religious, philosophical and literary monuments of mankind are the direct products of forest-life in ancient India. The Aranyakas or the Forest Texts form an integral part of these oldest testaments of human wisdom and philosophy. They are called so because they were both composed and studied in the forest-dwellings. They contain the contemplation and meditation of the forest seers, hermits and rishis on God and Soul. Many of the Vedic gods are deified forces of nature. They have been very beautifully and poetically personified in hymns and prayers. The Vedic mind looked upon forests as the ‘ecological redresser of man’s excessive activism’ and as ‘an intimate part of his life and experience’. In a very fascinating hymn, which is addressed to the Spirit of the forest, the Vedic poet says: “The Spirit of the forest never slays unless one approaches in fury, one may eat at will of her luscious fruits and rest in her shade at one’s pleasure. Adorned with fragrant perfumes and she needs not toil for her food. Mother of untamed forest beasts, Spirit of the wood, I salute you!” The intimacy with forests has always been a refreshing and invigorating influence in human life. But modern materialism, greed and over-exploitation of forests have left the bitter taste of the fruits of prosperity. It has created a disharmony and imbalance in our ecology and environment, an evil that is being intensely realised now. The urbanisation and industrialisation on a vast scale, during the past few decades, have resulted in mass deforestation and depletion of the green cover. Forests are one of the priceless boons of nature, but human consumerism has created such a great pressure on forests that they have almost disappeared in many areas, resulting in...
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