In the modern age, man is playing havoc with his natural heritage. We have indiscriminately destroyed our forest wealth. In the earlier periods, large parts of our country were covered with forests. The enormous growth of population has led to the shrinkage of forest area. Extensive forest areas have been cleared for agriculture. Overgrazing of the cattle has led to the erosion of soil. Cutting of trees for timber and fuel have exhausted our forest resources. Deforestation has adversely affected climate of the country and eroded the soil. Deforestation causes floods and renders vast tracts of land waste and barren.
The government is taking some measures for preserving the existing forest areas. New forests are being developed in many parts of the country Grasslands are being regenerated. Improved methods of silviculture are being employed. The forest departments in different states are planting fast growing plants. Area under forests must be increased to increase forest wealth. The government has reserved some areas called Bio-reserves for the preservation and protection of the flora arid fauna of the country .
Some of them are:
1) Nilgiri Bio-reserve which has an area of 500 sq. km.
2) Nanda Devi Bio-reserve in Uttaranchal.
3) Nokrek in Meghalaya.
4) Andaman-Nicobar Bio-reserve.
5) Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal
6) Gulf of Mannar in Tamil Nadu
7) Thar desert in Rajasthan
8) Rann of Kutch in Gujarat
9) Kaziranga and Manas Park in Assam
The other problem of preserving natural heritage is-the conservation of the wildlife. India has a rich wildlife. It has about 81000 known species of animal life. It has 2500 species of fish and 1200 species of birds. But man has ruthlessly destroyed the wildlife in India. Many rare species have become extinct. Our rich wildlife heritage which took centuries to develop is disappearing speedily. We must preserve it. Many of the animals and wild beasts are found only in India such as swamp deer, the one horned rhinoceros, the bison, Kashmir stag, nilgais, the Bengal tiger etc. Indiscriminate hunting of the wildlife has brought these species to the verge of extinction. Wildlife is a gift of nature and is a thing of beauty. The Government has passed Wild Life Protection Act which provides for the protection and conservation of these species. The Government has set up National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries and zoological gardens. The Project Tiger has been started to protect the tigers. There are 16 Tiger reserves in the country. Some of them are
1)The Kanha National Park (Madhya Pradesh)
2)The Corbett National Park (Uttaranchal)
3)Sanjay National Park in Chhattisgarh