A new study has revealed that parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are losing canopy cover at an alarming rate. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Remote Sensing, Dehradun, examined the pace of deforestation in the Northeast, covering 42,000 square kilometers in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The analysis revealed that about 7590 square kilometers of forests have been lost between 1924 and 2009. Researchers also found that the degree of deforestation was greater in Assam as compared to Arunachal Pradesh. In Assam, districts like Dhemaji, Sonitpur, Lohit, and Tinsukia have suffered the highest area-wise loss in forest cover.
The green cover of lesser Himalayas in the Northeast is undergoing rapid changes due to rising population, industrial development and urbanization, the study stated.
Using the land-use changes of 1990-2009, researchers have projected the likely deforestation in the region for the year 2028. If the current rate remains, more than 9000 square km of the area could be devoid of forests by 2028. This will be devastating for both wildlife and humans living in adjoining areas, according to the study published in Journal Current Science.
The study also suggested that deforestation and loss of wildlife habitat in upper Assam is likely to influence adjoining Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Therefore, forests need to be restored to their original status for long-term survival of humans and wildlife.