Forest Fires

Forest fires cost India ₹1,100 crore a year: report

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Details of the Report

Mains level: Prevention of forest fires


News

Context

  1. With at least one in four people dependent on forests for their livelihood, India is losing at least ₹1,100 crore due to forest fires every year, says a new World Bank report.
  2. The report calls for a national plan for the prevention of forest fire.

Findings of the Report

  1. The  report titled “Strengthening Forest Fire Management in India” is jointly prepared by the MoEFCC and the World Bank.
  2. Forest fires occur in around half of the country’s 647 districts every year states the report.
  3. Repeated fires in short succession are reducing diversity of species and harming natural regeneration, while posing a risk to over 92 million in India who live in areas of forest cover.
  4. Analysing patterns and trends the report highlights that central India has the largest area affected by fire.
  5. North-East accounts for 56% of burnt forest land during 2003-2016, followed by southern states and the North-East.
  6. However, North-eastern states account for the biggest share of fire detections, with at least 55% of fire incidents reported during 2003-2016.

Significance of the Report

  1. The findings are significant since preventing forest fires is crucial to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) in order to limit global warming.
  2. As per the Fifth Assessment Report of IPCC, forest fires globally contribute 2.5 billion to 4.0 billion tonnes of CO2 to carbon emissions every year.
  3. Tackling forest fires is even more important in India as the country has committed to bringing 33% of its geographical area under forest cover by 2030, as part of NDCs.

Way Forward

  1. India aims to increase its forest cover by 5 million hectares, as part of India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
  2. Forest fire management is part of our long-term vision for sustainable forest management.
  3. Forest fires can be controlled only by using an aggressive strategy.
  4. Apart from incentivizing communities and forest departments, there is also a need to bring a social movement across states to address the issue.
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