Underlying causes of forest cover change in Odisha, India
Forest dynamics varies both spatially and temporally. The present region-specific study is thus undertaken in Odisha, one of the forested states of India. Applying panel data model over a cross-section of 30 districts since early 1990s, the study examines the effects of the underlying factors on total, open and dense forests in the state. The study proves the existence of EKC indicating thereby need for concerted efforts to improve GDP per capita of the state. Further damage to the forests can be curtailed if forests are spared as the sites for industrialization besides encouraging service-sector industries. Further, industries, being a source of forest loss, need to undertake forest protection and restoration measures. Rising population density remains yet another challenge. Rural poverty, cropping intensity, and forest roads also exert negative effects on open and total forests. The factors that may need attention are reduction in rural poverty and inequalities, increase in GDP per capita, creation of alternative rural livelihood sources, proper mechanisms for forest-friendly industrialization and agricultural expansion.
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