Pristine Environment, Bhutan

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Deforestation and Tourism

Barren areas of what was once lush forest 
Tourism has brought healthcare, education, roads, electricity and wealth to some of the most remote, isolated communities in the Himalayas. On the other hand, tourism has also had an enormous impact on the local environment. The forests are being  cleared at an unprecedented rate to provide timber for the construction of lodges and fuel for cooking and heating. Likewise, trees are being destroyed  to develop infrastructure for tourism activities.Recent studies have shown that lodges on average use about 75kg of firewood each day during  the peak season.
Furthermore, the economic benefit gained from tourism encourages local farmers to increase their size of herds of cows, goats and yaks, leading to yet more deforestation as woodlands are being  cleared to provide temporary pastures and also because of over grazing.These actions often lead to soil erosion and potentially leads to landslides.It has been estimated that 1.5 million hectares of forest cover is disappearing every year in the Himalayan region.Experts say that due to rapid deforestation in the parts of Himalayas could lead to the extension of hundreds of plants and dozens of bird and animal species. With an increasing number of tourists in the region, leads to an increasing pressure on the forests.So, if deforestation continues at the same pace, the future of Tourism in the Himalayas looks bleak. Therefore, we need to act before its too late.