Conservation of Wild Animals: “Wildlife” seem to be a broad term, covers any or all non cultivated and non domesticated life. It has in the recent past been largely used with reference to game and fur-bearing vertebrates, and to the plants and lesser animals which interact directly with the game species. Even fish, which are often “wild”, have been excluded from the wildlife category and treated under other headings. The trend of the 1970 and beyond includes a broader concept of wildlife. It is because (i) an increasingly large number of people are becoming interested in non game species (song birds, for example) and (ii) since preservation of outdoor recreation in general depends more and more on like preservation of the totality of the wildlife ecosystem.
Wildlife management is a field of applied ecology and concerned not only with game production land. This is not only suitable for anything else, but also with game “crops”. This may also be produced on more productive land being used primarily for agriculture or forestry. As land becomes intensively farmed or urbanized wildlife becomes largely a function of “edges”.
The large blocks of forest and prairie may he broken up into numerous small pieces-which are interspersed with crop Gelds, roads, and house sites. The original upland game birds, the ruffed grouse and the prairie chicken, this way will be completely replaced by other few species. Introduced species this way become adapted to intensively fanned areas. Thus, as the landscape becomes more “domesticated” so does the wildlife. Under such conditions, habitat living space, disease, and predation replace food as major limiting factors.
This brings us to the point that efforts to roster and increase wildlife populations have been generally directed along four major lines : (1) preservation of breeding stock by means of game laws restricting the harvest and other similar measures, (2) artificial stocking, (3) habitat improvement, and (4) game farming. When game begins to get scarce, people generally think and act in the order listed above, which is sometimes unfortunate, since the third item is often more important than the first two. If suitable habitat is lacking protection or stocking is useless. As the human population density increases, game and fish management as such is faced with the same dilemma as forestry, namely, to what extent can the demand for hunting and fishing be accommodated under natural area management and to what extent will it be necessary to “farm” game and fish. The ultimate in wildlife farming involves artificial propagation of animals, stocking, and harvest within a few days or weeks of release with the hunter or fisherman paying a large fee for the privilege of shooting or fishing what amounts to a domesticated or feral population. Like all agro business, game farming has “unforeseen” problems such as predation, disease, nutritional problems, artificial selection,and so on, and requires energy subsidy in the form of supplemental food, labour, taxes, and so on.
Conservation of Forests : Some measures specially prescribed for the preservation of forests are the following.
1. Extraction of timber should not interfere with watershed protection. Tree-felling should be matched by tree-planting programmes.
2. The use of firewood should be discouraged to reduce pressure on more valuable natural forests. Other sources of energy, such as biogas, have to be provided to supplement the firewood.
3. Modem management practices such as optimization of silvicultural and nutritional requirements, including use of irrigation, fertilizers, bacterial and mycorrhizal inoculations, disease and pest management, control of weeds, breeding of the elite trees and use of tissue culture techniques have to be adopted.
The Union and State governments have launched several afforeation programmes as part of the forest conservation started in 1976. It seeks the use of public and common land to produce firewood, fodder, and small timber for the use of the rural community to relieve pressure on existing forests needed for soil and water conservation. The programme includes raising, planting and protecting trees with multiple uses (firewood, fodder, agricultural implements, fruits, etc.) for the rural community.
The Agroforestry Programme consists of reviving an ancient land use practice where the same land is used for farming, forestry and animal husbandry.
The Urban Forestry Programme aims at planting trees for aesthetic purposes. in urban settlements. Flower and fruit trees are planted along the road side, private compounds and vacant lands to add colour and mitigate the harshness of the urban environment.
Experts believe that for sustaining agriculture and maintaining the quality of environment at least one-third of a country’s land should be under forests. This requires action at all levels : individuals, the community and the government. There have been several people’s movements in recent times in India, such as the Chipko Movement (Tehri Garhwal area of Uttar Pradesh) and the public agitation for preventing the construction of a hydroelectric project in the Silent Valley region. Protection of precious forests, especially in the ecologically fragile areas, should be supplemented by efforts to plant and regenerate forests.