New Delhi, Oct 10 (IANS) Just don't do anything and the forests and the ecosystem will revive -- is the message of noted conservationist Bitu Sehgal, contending that forests are "more valuable" than all the human-created infrastructure put together.
"We are not just talking about trees. We are talking about the biosphere -- insects, plants and animals that make up the ecosystem. Without the biosphere, forests can't survive. It's time to go back to the future. Leave the forests alone, they will revive," Sengal, the founding editor of Sanctuary Asia, a wildlife and ecology magazine, told IANS here at the launch of "A Walk On The Wild Side", a memoir in the form of a picture book by young conservationist and wildlife photographer Neel Soni.
"Without the biosphere, there cannot be economic, food or water security. The loss of species due to the diminishing biosphere is driving climate change," he said.
"Forests are not just forests. They are more valuable than all the infrastructure that man can put together," said Sahgal, who in 2000 instituted the Sanctuary Wildlife Awards for men and women working on groundbreaking projects in the conservation sector and for wildlife photographers.
A separate Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Award was established in 2017 to promote wildlife conservation through photography.
Ahead of the book launch, Soni struck a nostalgic note while participating in a panel discussion on "Wildlife Photography as a Tool for Conservation", saying: "Welcome to my world. Let me take you on a journey through my heart, to a paradise called Corbett, a green wilderness in the foothills of the Himalayas that I call home."
"We aren't looking into the tiny things," Soni lamented in a reference to the felling of over 2,000 trees in Mumbai's suburban Aarey neighbourhood and the consequent loss of not just the trees, but also the invaluable biosphere, adding: "If we don't act now, today's generation wouldn't know the forests we had."
"We are silent to the tragedy that is happening in front of our eyes. The more noise we make, the people will sit up and listen," he said, pointing to the public outcry over the Aarey developments.
He described the book, which focuses not just on the tigers of the Corbett National Park, but also on the area's diverse biosphere, as a tribute to the "countless" forest guards across the country "who toil in rain and shine" to protect the country's wildlife from human predators.
"This is how I want to give back to these valiant forest guards," Soni said.