Thursday, 25 January 2018

The human-elephant conflict in India's tea state Assam

By Navin Singh KhadkaEnvironment correspondent, BBC World Service, Assam
23 January 2018

Growers of world-famous Assam tea are encroaching into forests, fuelling a conflict between elephants and humans, locals and authorities in the Indian state have said.

Officials blame small-scale plantations for most of the encroachment but local leaders told the BBC there was no up-to-date land survey of bigger tea "estates" either.

A major association of tea companies has rejected the accusation, arguing that forest coverage is in its members' interest.

However, a study by the Indian government has found that tea gardens are contributing to Assam's deforestation.

"The decrease in forest cover of the state is mainly due to encroachment in forest land, biotic pressure, rotational felling in tea gardens and shifting cultivation," the environment ministry's State of the Forest report said in 2015.

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