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Forest landscape restoration

 GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation

 

Context:

Ministry Of Environment, Forest And Climate Change To Organize Hariyali Mahotsav. The article is important from Mains perspective.

  • Hariyali Mahotsav: The Mahotsav is being organized to create awareness about the importance of trees and green cover to protect our environment against air pollution and global warming.
  • Van Mahotsav: (“celebrate the forest”):. The history of Van Mahotsav Day goes back to July 1947, when it was first organised by the Punjabi botanist, M.S. Randhawa. It is a pan-India tree planting festival celebrated in July every year.

Status of forest restoration:

  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), deforestation and forest degradation contribute around 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 30% of forestland is degraded in India. The total area occupied by primary forests in India has decreased by 3.6%.
  • Nearly two billion hectares of degraded land in the world (and 140 million hectares in India) have scope for potential restoration as forest land.

 

What should be done:

  • ‘Forest landscape restoration’: Forest landscape restoration is the process of regaining ecological functionality and improving human welfare across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.
    • It seeks to involve- communities, champions, government, vulnerable forest-dependent people and landowners in the process of designing and executing mutually advantageous interventions for the up-gradation of landscapes.
    • According to academics from the World Resources Institute, forest ecosystems enrich soil fertility and water availability, enhancing agricultural productivity, and in turn the rural economy.
  • Ensure the diversity of the species while planting trees: Natural forests with diverse native tree species are more efficient in sequestering carbon than monoculture tree plantations.
    • Case study: In Punjab, the community is proactively planting native species such as Jhand, Desi Kikar and Pharwan, which are resilient and acclimatised. And most of these saplings have a high survival rate of 90%, a vital requirement for sustainable reforestation activities.
  • Promote Sustainable forest crops (agroforestry): It reduces food insecurity and empowers women, allowing them to gain access to more nutritional diets and new income streams.
    • Agroforestry lessens rural-to-urban migration and contributes to an increase in resources and household income.
    • Planting trees is deeply linked to the ‘wholistic’ well-being of all individuals, the community, and the planet.

Programmes

International:

  • The span 2021-2030 is the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, emphasising efforts to restore degraded terrestrial ecosystems including forests.
  • Bonn Challenge (2011): It was launched with a global goal to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2020 and 350 million hectares by 2030.
    • India joined the Bonn Challenge in 2015, pledging to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030. An additional carbon sink of 2.5 billion-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through forest and tree cover is to be created by 2030.

India:

  • Programmes include: Compensatory Afforestation, the National Afforestation Programme, the National Mission for a Green India (Green India Mission), the Nagar Van scheme and the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme, etc.
  • Green Skill Development Programme for youth who aspire to attain employment in the environment and forest sectors.
  • State governments: Telangana has initiated a large-scale tree planting programme called ‘Telanganaku Haritha Haram’ using drones.

Issues: Forest restoration in India faces hurdles in terms of the identification of areas for restoration, a lack of importance accorded to research and scientific strategies in tree planting, stakeholders’ conflicts of interest, and financing.

 

Insta Links

The baton of forest restoration in the net-zero race

 

Practice Questions:

Q. Forest restoration is one of the key elements of climate mitigation strategies. In this context, examine the measures taken in restoring the degraded forest landscape in India. (250 words)

Q. With reference to the ‘New York Declaration on Forests’. Which of the following statements are correct? (UPSC 2021)

  1. It was first endorsed at the United Nations Climate Summit in 2014.
  2. It endorses a global timeline to end the loss of forests.
  3. It is a legally binding international declaration.
  4. It is endorsed by governments, big companies and indigenous communities.
  5. India was one of the signatories at its inception.

Select the Correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1,2 and 4

(b) 1,3 and 5

(c) 3 and 4

(d) 2 and 5

Answer: A

Spurred by the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit in September 2014, the New York Declaration on Forests is a political declaration that brings together governments, companies and civil society actors including indigenous peoples organizations with the common aim of halving the loss of natural forests by 2020.

 

Q. Which of the following best describes/describe the aim of ‘Green India Mission’ of the Government of India?

  1. Incorporating environmental benefits and costs into the Union and State Budgets thereby implementing the ‘green accounting’
  2. Launching the second green revolution to enhance agricultural output so as to ensure food security for one and all in the future
  3. Restoring and enhancing forest cover and responding to climate change by a combination of adaptation and mitigation measures

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: C

National Mission for a Green India (GIM) is one of the eight Missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change. It aims at protecting, restoring and enhancing India’s forest cover and responding to Climate Change.

Source: The Hindu