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Thread: Green India Mission to improve quality, quantity of forests

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    Default Green India Mission to improve quality, quantity of forests

    ''Green India Mission to improve quality, quantity of forests''
    PTI | 05:02 PM,Feb 06,2011

    Thiruvanthapuram, Feb 6 (PTI) The Centre has worked out an ambitious project as part of the national action plan on climate change to improve quality and quantity of forest cover in the country, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh said today. "The mission will be accorded approval at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi on February 22," the Minister for Environment and Forest said. The objective of the 'Green India Mission' project was to increase forest cover in five million hectares and protect forest areas in the country, he said, after inaugurating the fourth Southern Forest Ministers Conference here. He said grama sabhas, women self-help groups and forest management committees with technical assistance of state forest departments will execute the project. He stressed on the importance of forest conservation, saying 40 per cent of 69 million hectares of forest in India are open degenerated forest. Ramesh also emphasised on a strategy to protect Western and Eastern Ghats as they face a great threat due to pressure from developmental activity. There was also pressure from states for sanctioning open mining, setting up hydel projects and putting up broad gauge railway lines, he pointed out. He justified the Environment Ministry's recent decision to accord permission for POSCO steel plant in Orissa, saying the permit was conditional and there was also an assurance that the Forest Right Act (FRA) would not be violated. On complaints of some states that the FRA has increased human-wildlife conflicts, he said, "Forest officials are living in a fool's paradise if they think they can protect forests by keeping the local community away from forests." They should change their attitude towards preserving forests and see it as a chance to ensure local people's participation in forest protection, he said.

    Link -http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfee...ts/567628.html
    Mrudul Godbole

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    I feel the minister's intent is a step in the right direction.

    I often worry about rejuvenating forest cover in India. Problem is, green cover cannot just be vast stretch of land (usually degraded reclaimed land - not fit for agriculture) having a homogenous set of plants - I am sure you get the picture - acres after acres of eucalyptus trees. Something is better than nothing - but how would this planned plantation really help in building an ecosystem?

    Providing green cover is a time consuming, but relatively easy task. The NALCOS and TATAs of the world have been doing it for decades now. The need of the hour is creating sustainable ecosystems.

    I was talking to a friend the other day - the dicussion was about the Keoladeo NP. We were fascinated by the genesis of this NP. The NP is actually a manmade area - created almost 200yrs back when the then ruler of Bharatpur - Maharaja Suraj Mal created a bund. Today the NP is amongst the most visible / visited NPs in India. The debate is still out on how stable this ecosystem is...

    The reason I am referring to this is because of the relative ease of building wetland / marsh based ecosystems as compared to a decidious / tropical ecosystem. Again - in no way I am underestimating the scale and complexity of creating a stable wetland ecosystem - its just a very unscientific observation. Another such example - in outskirts of cities - places which have got stagnant water - over a period of time start attracting avifauna and kind of develop a rudimentary wetland ecosystem.

    My friend also spoke about a practice in the US - where large mining corporatons have used unique land tilling mechanism coupled with the practice of water check dams to accelerate creation of decent wetland ecosystems.

    I know I am digressing from the topic of the MoEF's effort to build forest cover - but shouldn't our efforts be directed towards creating the ecosystem and the habitat instead of homogenous eucalyptus forest cover?

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    This is what I was discussing with the Govt. of Tamil Nadu the other day. I had asked the Industry Secretary to make the degraded forest land available to corporates for tree plantation.

    At the moment, corporates have a problem in tree planting because there is simply no land available. The tree plantations at the moment are happening in schools, colleges etc. I could get 12500 trees planted in four villages in Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu under the CSR scheme. However, these kind of tree plantations in someones house doesn't make sense as we are not creating forest cover.

    I had proposed to the Industry Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu to ask the forest department and make available the degraded forest land. I had said that:
    1) the Forest department has to identify the degraded forest land in various parts of the state
    2) indicate the locations (GPS coordinates)
    3) enter into agreements with individual corporates who can take up a few hectares each and plant trees
    4) the NGOs or agents of the corporates to be given access to these degraded forest land to plant trees and water etc for a period of two years
    5) the corporates don't have any rights on the land

    I had promised that if this is done, then we can plant millions of trees in a year.

    Unfortunately, nothing has come out so far after the meeting in January.

    I am not sure why Jairam Ramesh doesn't want to involve corporates. The corporates can take it up under corporate responsibility and greening can be done fast.

    Also, it has to be ensured that only indigenous trees need to be planted in this greening mission.


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