Pine forests (Cheel) in danger in Himachal Thousands had dried


The pristine Pine Forests that are boon of economy of the state are now facing serious threat as thousands of them had dried up in various pine forest in lower reaches of Himachal pradesh. It is observed that the trees that had dried and died in the pine forests are mother trees. Significantly, only the mother trees bear fruit (Pine Cones)  and seed for the seedlings was procured from these fruits for further expansion of forests.

The major problem is anticipated in pine forests in districts including Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una and Kangra. significantly, pine forests of the region support economy of the people and also add revenue to the state exchequer by sale of pine wood and resin extract from the pine trees. It was estimated that the  state government generated a revenue of over Rs.27 crores from annual produce of approximately 4164 tone of resin in 2016. The districts including Hamirpur, Una, Kangra and Bilsapur contribute to over 70 percent of the total produce of the resin in the state. Pertinently the state forest corporation that deals with the forest produces in the state released over Rs. Ten crore every year to the private resin producers in the state. Significantly, there were over 15.76 lakh blazes in 2016 from which resin was procured in the state. Himachal Pradesh State Forest Development Corporation Limited deals in marketing of timber, fuel wood, pulpwood, bamboo, khair and resin.

Meanwhile fear of losing income loomed among the people who were dependent of the pine forests. Ramesh Kumar of village Chabotra said that earlier forest fires caused loss to the resin production but now trees had dried and this could lead to bigger loss.

Anil Joshi Conservator of forest said that the department had observed the drying of pine trees in forests of Hamirpur and Una districts. He said that repeated fires were one reason of drying of trees but chances of other deceases could not be ruled out. The request to investigate the cause of drying trees was made to state Forest Research Institute, he added.