The Indian government has approved a bold plan to expand and improve the quality of its forests as a part of the nation’s National Action Plan on Climate Change. The reforestation plan, dubbed the National Mission for a Green India (NMGI), will expand forests by five million hectares (over 12 million acres), while improving forests quality on another five million hectares for $10.14 billion (460 billion rupees).
According to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests, the plan will result in the carbon sequestration of 50-60 million tons every year by, sequestering around 6% of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Including the forest expansion, the NMGI has a number of other goals: providing tens-of-thousands of dollars to forest villages every year, protecting biodiversity, mitigating human-wildlife conflict, promoting community conservation of 14,000 sacred groves, and protecting important watershed.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 23% of India is currently under forest cover or 68 million hectares, although around 40% is considered degraded. In contrast, ten million hectares (14%) are considered primary growth forest. In the last 20 years, forest cover has declined in India by nearly a quarter of a million hectares.
The government said it will used satellites to monitor its progress.
(02/14/2011) The Jeypore-Dehing lowland rainforest in Assam, India is home to a record seven wild cat species, more than any other ecosystem on Earth. While it took wildlife biologist Kashmira Kakati two years of camera-trapping to document the seven felines, the announcement put this forest on the map—and may very well save it. A year after the record was announced, officials are promising to pursue permanent preservation status for the forest, which is threatened by logging, poaching, oil and coal industries, and big hydroelectric projects.
(11/29/2010) While mangrove forests are vanishing around the world, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests is reporting a slight uptick of mangrove forests along the nation’s eastern coast. According to a report, mangroves expanded from 4,581 square kilometers in 2005 to 4,639 square kilometers in 2007, an increase of 58 square kilometers.
(07/06/2010) Researchers have questioned 2009 findings by the Forest Survey of India (FSI) that found that India’s forests were, unlike many tropical Asian nations’, on the rebound. According to the FSI, Indian forests had grown by almost five percent from the 1990s. Yet, were these finding too good to be true?