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Forest Landscape Restoration ||Explained||

 

Forest Landscape Restoration: Relevance

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Forest conservation: Context

  • Recently, in a glaring example of community effort, about 100 women, employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), working with 50 young people from a local club, and district administration planted trees during the World Environment Day.

 

Tress restoration: About Van Mahotsav

  • Van Mahotsav literally means “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.
  • Subsequently, in 1950, M. Munshi, an environmentalist and Union Minister of Agriculture and Food, expanded its reach and national scope.
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), deforestation and forest degradation contribute around 12% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The total area occupied by primary forests in India has decreased by 3.6%.
  • Therefore, more forests need to be created and restored. However, there is much debate about the efforts around tree planting.

 

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What is Forest landscape restoration?

  • Nearly two billion hectares of degraded land in the world (and 140 million hectares in India) have scope for potential restoration as forest land.
  • Earlier, the governments have relied on afforestation and reforestation as a means of establishing trees on non-treed land.
  • These strategies, however, have been evolving in recent days.
  • Forest Land Restoration means the process of regaining ecological functionality and improving human welfare across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.
  • This approach keeps in mind multiple lands uses and people’s needs in the short and long terms.
  • Forest landscape restoration is an attempt to involve communities in the process of designing and executing mutually advantageous interventions for the upgradation of landscapes.
  • While implementing forest land landscape, ensuring diversity while planting trees are imperative.
  • Natural forests with diverse native tree species are more efficient in sequestering carbon than monoculture tree plantations.
  • Planting diverse species is also healthier for local communities and their livelihoods.

 

Benefits of Forest Landscape Restoration

  • Environmental benefits: Forests regulates ecosystems. It influences the carbon cycle and mitigates the effects of climate change.
    • Annually, forests absorb roughly 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. This absorption includes nearly 33% of the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels.
  • Benefits for human: Millions of lives and livelihoods are intertwined with our forests. Forests are a boon for local communities and their livelihoods by functioning as a resource base for goods and services.
  • Multi-dimensional benefits: According to World Resources Institute, forest ecosystems enrich soil fertility and water availability, enhancing agricultural productivity, and in turn the rural economy.
  • Tree planting prevents erosion and stems flooding.
  • Women empowerment: Sustainable Forest crops reduce food insecurity and empower women, allowing them to gain access to more nutritional diets and new income streams.
  • Reduces migration: Agroforestry lessens rural-to-urban migration and contributes to an increase in resources and household income.

 

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Indian programmes for forest restoration

International efforts

  • The span 2021-2030 is the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, emphasising efforts to restore degraded terrestrial ecosystems including forests.
  • India joined the Bonn Challenge in 2015, pledging to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030.
    • In 2011, the Bonn Challenge was launched with a global goal to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2020 and 350 million hectares 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.

 

National efforts

  • Various schemes like 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 was launched for trees restoration.
  • Focus on youth via the Green Skill Development Programme who aspire to attain employment in the environment and forest sectors.

 

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