Forests and Energy

Another year and we are observing International Forest Day.  But what is surprising this year – world is promoting fuelwood as renewable source of energy. The title of this article is the theme of International Forest Day 2017. We are teaching children that burning wood as fuel reduces forest and increases pollution,  and what the scientists and laurates are telling that forests have 40 % of the renewable energy capacity of the total energy obtained from the renewable energy sources solar,  wind and hydel power.  One will easily make a joke of this theme saying that scientists also change their perception and analysis according to need of human beings,  but this one person is definitely the one who is seeing the world with just one eye.  Yes it is proven truth that burning wood for fuel increases pressure on forest and adds up pollution in air we breathe.  But another truth is anything used sustainably pays off in the long run.  Similarly the heat energy obtained by burning wood if used efficiently then it can serve multiple purpose reducing the wood load on wood klins and ovens.
With the help of modern engineering and technology in Europe and other cold countries such ovens have been developed which can heat huge quantities of water, keep house warm through insulation at the same time while the food is being cooked.  This method and technique has reduced the wood lot needed for each family to survive the winters which extend for even more than six months. In such countries fuelwood is need without any alternative. There is nothing less for residents of tropical countries too.  It has been suggested to plant more and more trees strategically in cities and towns to reduce daily temperature cooling the cities and serve as oxygen houses. Of course it needs not to mention that along with strategic plantation by selection of right species of trees we can reduce air pollution as some trees like Willows,  Oak,  Mulberry,  Casurina, Poplars absorb pollutants from air,  water and soil.  Additional benefit is supply of feed and shelter for all kinds of organisms belonging to Kingdom-Animalia.
Although fuelwood has been suggested and is being promoted as renewable energy source it has to be taken care that the source of the fuelwood is following the rules and guidelines of Sustainable Forest Management. In this way the path of fuelwood as renewable energy source becomes tough, specially for our country and state. The reason why I opine this is when we are unable to control illegal felling of trees how we can ensure that the source of fuelwood is following the norms of sustainability. We must consider this theme as an opportunity to take some firm steps towards control of such crimes and make strong and positive result oriented moves towards sustainable forest management.
Do remember that when you are going to hug a tree to save it please don’t step on seedlings and saplings of trees which are raising heads under canopies.

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