Forests have been at the center of human development since the beginning as the most important natural resource and hence human life cannot be imagined without forests. However, in view of the unforeseen deforestation that has been taking place in the past few years, the fact that we are soon to see its terrible consequences is not denied. The issue of deforestation remains an important topic in the world as well as in India, many efforts are being made by the government in this context. The result of these efforts of the government has been seen in the recently released India Forest Status Report-2019. According to the report, green areas of the country have registered an increase in the last two years.
India Forest Status Report-2019
- The India Forest Status Report is being published on a biennial basis by the ‘Forest Survey of India’ since 1987 and is the 16th report in this category.
- It may be noted that India Forest Status Report is recognized as an official assessment of the country’s forest resources.
- In this report, data received from more than 2200 locations across the country have been used for estimation of forest and forest resources. A new chapter called ‘Forest Types and Biodiversity’ was added to the current report, under which the species of trees are divided into 16 main classes and their ‘Champion & Seth Classification’. Assessment has been done on the basis.
- It is noteworthy that Harry George Champion made the most popular and recognized classification of India’s flora in the year 1936. After which in the year 1968, the champion and S.K. Seth (S.K Seth) together republished it for independent India. This classification is based on plant structure, morphology and plant morphology. In this classification, forests are divided into 16 main classes and are divided into 221 subclasses.
There is an increase in total forest cover
- According to the 16th India Forest Status Report, at present the total area covered by forests and trees in the country is about 8,07,276 sq km. Which is 24.56 percent of the total geographical area of the country. If the recent report is compared with the report of the year 2017, then it is known that during this period the total area covered by forests in the country is about 3,976 sq km. That is, an increase of 0.56 percent, while the area covered by trees is about 1,212 sq km. That is, an increase of 1.29 percent. However the above figures should be viewed as just one bird of India Forest Status Report-2019, as another side of the report states that 2,145 sq km in the last two years. Dense Forests have been converted into Non-Forests.
- According to the report, the forest cover area of the total geographical area in the country is about 7,12, 249 sq km. Is (21.67 percent). It is worth noting that this number has been around 21-25 percent for the past several years, while according to the National Forest Policy, 1988, it is mandatory to be about one-third of the total geographical area of the country. It shows that we have failed to work in accordance with the National Forest Policy framed in the year 1988.
National Forest Policy, 1949
Prior to independence, forest policies in colonial India were mainly focused on revenue collection. Which was owned by the Imperial Forest Department, which was also the protector and manager of forest wealth. Even after independence, forests were mainly seen as a source of raw materials for industries. This was followed by the creation of the National Forest Policy, 1988, in which forests were seen as an important component of environmental sensitivity and conservation, rather than merely looking at forests as a revenue source. At the same time, it was also stated in this policy that the primary rights over forest products should be those communities whose daily needs depend on these forests. This national policy also emphasized increasing people’s participation in the conservation of forests.
Reduction in forest cover of North Eastern States
- Forest cover in the North Eastern region is about 1,70,541 sq km. , Which is 65.05 percent of its geographical area. According to the recent report, about 765 sq km in the forest cover area of the north-eastern region. (Ie 0.45 percent).
- Apart from Assam and Tripura, the forest cover of all the states of the region has decreased. According to analysts, due to increasing pressure on the earth, exploitation of forests and lack of scientific management policy, the forests have been greatly affected in these areas.
- However, regarding the reduction in the forest cover of the northeastern states, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar says that the decline in the area’s exposure is not a concern.
- It is noteworthy that among the states with the highest forest cover percentage, there are still northeastern states at the top five places. It has Mizoram in first place (85.41 percent), while Arunachal Pradesh (79.63 percent) and Meghalaya (76.33 percent) are in second and third place respectively.
India Forest Status Report and Capital Delhi
- According to the India Forest Status Report-2019, the growth in forest cover in the capital Delhi is nominal. According to the report, only 3 sq km in the unveiled area of the capital. Has increased.
- The total forest area of Delhi is about 195.44 sq km. , Which is 13.18 percent of the total area of the national capital. According to statistics, about 136 sq km. The unveiled area is in South and South-West Delhi.
- This report shows that plantation work is yet to be done in other areas of Delhi, especially in East Delhi.
- According to current estimates, the total carbon stock of India’s forests is estimated at about 7,142.6 million tonnes. This has increased by about 42.6 million tonnes as compared to the assessment of 2017. The total annual carbon stock increase of Indian forests is 21.3 million tonnes, which is equivalent to about 78.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2). Soil Organic Carbon-SOC plays the largest role in carbon stocks in India’s forests, which is estimated to be present in an amount of 4004 million tonnes.
- SOCs contribute about 56% to the total carbon stock of India’s forests.
- In comparison to the assessment of year 2017 in mangrove vegetation in the country, a total of 54 sq km. (1.10%).
- The total forest cover in the hill districts of India is 2,84,006 sq km. Which is 40.30 percent of the total geographical area of these districts. In current assessment, 540 sq km in 140 hilly districts of India as compared to ISFR-2017. (0.19 percent).
Green India Mission
In 2014, the proposal of the Ministry of Environment and Forests to incorporate the Green India Mission as a centrally sponsored scheme was approved by the Central Government. Under this mission, the target of increasing the forest cover from 6 to 8 million hectares has been set in the 12th Five Year Plan with an investment of about Rs. 13,000 crores. This mission is one of the missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change.
REDD and REDD +
While REDD is limited to incentives by developing countries to better manage and protect their forest resources, REDD + also provides incentives for deforestation and degradation of forests, conservation, sustainable management and positive elements of forest carbon reserves. REDD + also includes quality enhancements and forest cover enhancements, whereas such arrangements are not in REDD.
Challenges of forest protection
- Encroachment is increasing rapidly for increasing population, expansion of forest based industries and agriculture.
- The issue of Aarey forests recently surfaced fully illustrates the struggle between environment and development. In such a situation, we will not be able to ensure the conservation of forests until we find an alternative way to end the struggle for environment and development.
- The productivity of Indian forests is very low compared to some other countries. For example, the annual productivity of Indian forest is only 0.5 cubic meters per hectare, while in the United States it is 1.25 cubic meters per hectare, in Japan 1.8 cubic meters per hectare and in France 3.9 cubic meters per hectare.
The prosperity of a country is measured by the biodiversity of its inhabitants more than the physical prosperity of its inhabitants. Even though in the name of development in India, forests have been unbalanced in the last few decades, but our forest wealth is unique and unique around the world. Trees are the main source of oxygen, so our life is dependent on trees. If trees do not exist then no animal or animal will exist. Therefore, it is necessary to seriously consider issues like deforestation and tree plantation and keep this subject at the center of policy making.
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