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Restoring India’s fading Green Cover

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October 05, 2021

What is the issue?

According to State of the World’s Forests report 2020 released by UNEP and FAO, since 1990, around 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through deforestation, conversion and land degradation.

What is the need for forest restoration?

  • Restoration is bringing back the degraded or deforested landscape to its original state by various interventions to enable them to deliver all the benefits.
  • It helps to improve ecological functions, productivity and create resilient forests with multifarious capabilities.
  • India has 10 bio-geographical regions and 4 biodiversity hotspots sheltering 8% of the world’s known flora and fauna but nearly 18% of the global human population depends on it.
  • To combat this, India joined the Bonn Challenge with a pledge to restore 26 MHA of degraded and deforested land by 2030.

The year 2021-2030 is declared as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

What are the key challenges in forest restoration?

  • Planting without considering the local ecology and in wrongful places could be disastrous for local biodiversity.
  • Nearly 5.03% of Indian forests are under protection area management needing specific restoration strategies after local research.
  • Encroachment and grazing is linked to the livelihood of local communities as well as degradation of forests.
  • There is an intricate link between poverty and environmental degradation as highlighted at the first UN global conference on human environment.
  • Lack of adequate financing is one of the major concerns for the success of restoration.
  • Conflict of interests among different stakeholders is even more challenging.

Forest and Poverty

What can be done to restore India’s fading green cover?

  • Local research duly considering ecological aspects, local disturbances and forest-dependent communities is vital to formulate guidelines for locally suitable interventions.
  • The participation of local communities with finances for incentives and rewards such as Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) is essential.
  • Alternate ways of financing such as involving corporates in restoration activities with ongoing land-based programmes of various departments can help to make it easy for operation.
  • An inclusive approach of active engagement of stakeholders including NGOs, awareness and capacity building of stakeholders is needed.

 

Source: The Hindu

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