<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On the occasion of World Forestry Day on Wednesday, the release of Hirawa Sangharsh (Green Battle), a book in Marathi language authored by engineer-turned conservationist Kishor Rithe, at the Mantralaya, recast the spotlight on issues confronting the state’s flora and fauna. “Contrary to what politicians say, Maharashtra has been witnessing a steady erosion of ‘dense forest cover’ for many years now. But, it has been camouflaged in official statistics with an over-all increase in forest area, says Rithe, a member of Maharashtra state Board for Wildlife, and the president of Satpuda Foundation, an NGO working to save wildlife and forests across central India. His book not only draws upon his personal experiences and observations over the last 28 years, but also seeks inspiration from the contributions of other eminent minds in the field of conservation. The main purpose of Hirawa Sangharsh is to focus on problems as well as offer solutions, says Rithe.While raising awareness about illegal felling of trees for domestic and commercial purposes, over-grazing of cattle, over-population of unproductive cattle, forest fires and depletion of underground water table, the book also talks about how the effective convergence of existing government schemes and the involvement of all stakeholders can bring about a lasting impact on the ecosystem. “Concurrently, we should also turn the core forest areas into inviolate space and prevent illegal encroachments in the buffer areas, forest corridors and all forest areas outside the protected areas of sanctuaries and national parks” says the green warrior, who is a strong believer in community participation for preservation and conservation practices.One of the chapters in the book dwells on success stories of tiger conservation and how villagers in the buffer areas of the tiger habitat have benefitted in the process. “The increase in big cat population at the Tadoba-Andhari Reserve has been a win-win situation for all. The revenue generated from the reserve has increased from Rs75 lakh in 2009-10 to Rs 5 crore in 2016. This money is being shared with the villagers in the buffer area who have realised the importance of protecting wildlife,” he says. Inspired by this development, other villages in that zone want to notify their areas as part of the buffer area. “The idea is to make them see that the tiger is not an adversary but a source of economic incentives and employment opportunities. Only then can we significantly reduce man-animal conflict.”

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Book that turns focus on nature conservation