Forest Conservation Efforts – NFP, Western Ghats, etc.

[op-ed snap] Woods and trees



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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the report

Mains level: The newscard briefly discusses the India State of Forest Report 2017.


‘India State of Forest Report 2017’ 

  1. The Environment Ministry’s ‘India State of Forest Report 2017’ based on satellite imagery, present a net positive balance in the form of 24.4% of India’s land area under some form of forest or tree cover
  2. According to the report, forest and tree cover together registered a 1% rise over the previous estimate two years ago
  3. However, according to some experts, such an estimate through remote sensing does not really provide deep insights into the integrity of the green areas

India’s forest cover is not satisfactory

  1. The ecosystem services performed by plantations that have a lot of trees grown for commercial purposes(as included in this report) cannot be equated with those of an undisturbed assemblage of plants, trees and animals
  2. India retains very little of its ancient forests after centuries of pre-colonial and colonial exploitation
  3. Forest restoration should, therefore, aid the return of native vegetation

Other findings of the report

  1. In its audit of various regions, the Ministry’s report has calculated a cumulative loss of forests in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal of nearly 1,200 sq km
  2. The impact of such a terrible loss must be seen against the backdrop of the Northeast representing a global biodiversity hotspot
  3. Dedicated efforts are required to protect the precious forests of the Northeast

What should be done?

  1. India must review the programmes that it has been pursuing to revive forests
  2. And move away from monoculture plantations that are favoured by even forest development corporations in many States
  3. Scientific reforms to bring true nature back are needed
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