The draft National Forest Policy (NFP) 2018, released by the environment ministry on Wednesday is set to replace the country’s 30-year-old national forest policy. The New Forest Policy takes into account the role of forest in addressing the challenge of climate change.
The Total Forest Cover in India at present is 708,273 square km, which is 21.54 per cent of the country’s geographical area. The tree cover is estimated to be 93,815 sq km, which is 2.85 per cent. Between 2007 and 2016, there were as many as 310,867 fires across major forest areas.
The New Draft Policy For Forest calls for :-
- Promoting urban greens
- Public Private Partnership models for afforestation
- Strengthening forest fire prevention measures
- Plantations in catchment areas to rejuvenate water bodies among many proposals to protect India’s green cover.
Challenges faced by Old Policy :-
- New challenges of climate change
- Human-Wildlife conflict
- Intensifying water crisis
- Increasing air and water pollution and deteriorating environment.
About New National Forest Policy 2018 :-
- It seeks to sync it with the country’s forestry-related ‘Nationally Determined Contribution’ targets under the Paris Agreement where India has promised to rapidly increase its forest cover so that an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent is created by the year 2030.
- It proposes launching of a National Community Forest Management Mission for the community resource management under Forest Rights Act (FRA).
- It also emphasises on ensuring “synergy” between Gram Sabha & joint forest management committee.
- Integrate climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in forest management through the mechanism of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plus) so that the impact of the climate change is minimised
- It proposes for launching of a National Board of Forestry (NBF) which to be headed by the central minister in charge of forests for better management of the country’s forests.
- It also calls for State Boards of Forestry headed by state ministers in charge of forests to be established for ensuring inter-sectoral convergence, simplification of procedures, conflict resolution, among other things.
- It also calls for private participation in forest management.
- On the issue of finances required for management of forests, the draft stated that the Compensatory Afforestation Fund which is being transferred to the states would be a major source of funds for taking up afforestation and rehabilitation works in degraded forest areas as well as for bringing new areas under forest and tree cover.
- It also calls for “promotion of trees outside forests and urban greens”.
- It also calls for mapping vulnerable areas and develop early warning systems and methods to control fire through remote-sensing technology and community participation.
- It also talks of Empowering forest-dependent communities by managing forest-based industry and non-timber forest produce (NTFP) to increase their income and generate more employment.
SALIENT FEATURES OF DRAFT NATIONAL FOREST POLICY, 2018 :-
- Public private participation for afforestation in degraded forest areas
- Promoting urban greens
- Measures to safeguard ecosystems from forest fire (map the vulnerable areas; develop and strengthen early warning systems)
- National Community Forest Management Mission for participatory forest management
- Afforestation in catchment areas for river rejuvenation and water recycling
- Economic valuation of forests
The Govt is still open for recommendations by stakeholders to implement effective new National Forest Policy.
Prelims Level :- Features of New National Forest Policy
Mains Level :- Features of New National Forest Policy & steps to increase forest land in India