The Prakash Javadekar-led Environment Ministry, which was earlier on a spree of clearing forests in the name of development, is now thinking of reviving forests lying in degraded condition in the country.
The ministry has come out with an ambitious plan to regenerate forests in 2.97 lakh square km of the forestland, which is currently lying in degraded form.
India has about 6.97 lakh square km of the forestland, which is about 21 per cent of the total geographical area. Of this about 4 lakh square km comprises dense to moderately dense forests. While dense forests have a tree canopy density of over 70 per cent, moderately dense forests are those with tree canopy density between 40-70 By Akash Vashishtha in New Delhi per cent.
According to the National Forest Policy 1988, the states should have at least 33 per cent of their total geographical area under forest cover. According to the Forest Survey of India (FSI), as many as 14 states have their forest areas below 33 per cent.
“We are working on the details of the plan. We will get The Centre plans to identify the degraded forest patches in various states and Union Territories.” a top official in the Forests Conservation division of the Environment Ministry said.
According to sources said, the plan would include identification of the degraded forest patches in various states and Union Territories and ascertaining the eco-climatic zones for their suitability in planting new species.