[Editorial Analysis] Taproots to help restore India’s fading green cover

Mains Paper 3: Environment
Prelims level: World’s Forests report 2020
Mains level: Key highlights of the World’s Forests report 2020

Context:

• The State of the World’s Forests report 2020, says that since 1990, around 420 million hectares of forest have been lost through deforestation, conversion and land degradation and support countless and diverse species.

• Despite various international conventions and national policies in place to improve green cover, there is a decline in global forest cover.

• This is the prime reason for forest restoration activities that recently increased.

• 2021-2030 as UN decade on ecosystem restoration.

India’s initiatives

• India joined the Bonn Challenge with a pledge to restore 21 MHA of degraded and deforested land which was later revised to 26 MHA to be restored by 2030.

• Bringing 9.8 million hectares since 2011 under restoration is an achievement.

• Creation of Joint forest management committees (JFMC) under the Forest policy.

• More than 1,18,213 JFMCs involving around 20 million people manage over 25 MHA of forest area.

Key challenges:

• Planting without considering the local ecology: It can result in more damage.

• Planting a forest in the wrong places.

• Encroachment of forest land: encroachment of nearly 1.48 MHA of forest and grazing in nearly 75% of forest area is also linked to the livelihood of local communities. The participation of local communities with finances for incentives and rewards is essential to redress this complex riddle.

• JFMC don’t function effectively: a review of their functionality and performance is essential to make them more dynamic and effective to scale up their involvement.

• The remaining areas witness a range of disturbances including grazing, encroachment, fire and climate change impacts that need are specific considerations.

• Adequate financing is one of the major concerns for the success of any interventions including restoration.

• Corporate Social responsibility(CSR): The contribution of corporates in restoration efforts so far has been limited to 2%.

• Conflict of interests among different stakeholders: due to the involvement of multiple stakeholders in forest restoration.

Significance of the forest cover:

• Ecosystem service

• Support diverse species

• Carbon sequestration

• Reduce global warming

• Prevent soil erosion

• Provide medicines

• Provide foods

• Create jobs

• Aesthetic values

• Prevent flooding

Consequences of less forest cover:

• Global warming

• Soil erosion

• Less rain

• Climate change

• Losses of livelihood

• Climate change

• Biodiversity loss

• Aridity increase

• Flooding

• Aesthetic value

Way forward:

• Active engagement of stakeholders including non¬governmental organisations, awareness and capacity building of stakeholders with enabling policy interventions and finance can help a lot to achieve the remaining 16 MHA restoration objectives for India.

• The need of the hour is an inclusive approach encompassing these concerns with the required wherewithal.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Jal Jeevan Mission, consider the following statements:

1. It aims to provide clean tap water to every household.

2. It is implemented in partnership with States with a budget of Rs. 3.60 lakh Crores.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

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