Forest conservation is no watertight compartment: MoEF

Present carbon footprint stock of India is 26.5 million tonnes and there is an annual increase of merely 3.5 million tonnes.

Siddhanta Das, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) on Monday said forest conservation cannot be looked at as a watertight compartment.

He said, while there was a need to conserve existing forest patches, there was also a need to focus on areas outside forests and lay thrust on hydrology. The measure has been included in the draft national forest policy.

Das said the policy also thrusts on carbon footprint. The prime minister has set a target that the forests in the country should be able to absorb 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes or equivalent carbon by 2030. Present carbon footprint stock of India is 26.5 million tonnes and there is an annual increase of merely 3.5 million tonnes.

He said sustainability can no longer be addressed with timber. It is just a byproduct, which ensures least carbon footprint. There is huge carbon emission when steel is used. Policymakers need to understand this.

Suresh Gairola, Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education emphasised on the need for a holistic approach towards research and management. He admitted that research-based policy decisions were not being implemented on the ground. So, MoUs are being signed with Krishi Vignan Kendras to ensure guidelines issued are implemented on the ground, and also keep track of what is being
done.

‘Forest dept authority’

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punati Sridhar, said government and people depend upon IISc for research and data. They are like the jack of all. “The government should look at us as we are the authority in wildlife and environment. To put our points across, we should have data. There is a need for the site and non-site specific data across fields and one single body for research and wildlife,” he said.

App on plant disease

A mobile application on ‘Disease Management in Forest Nurseries and Plantations’ was launched on the occasion. Designed by the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding and Environmental Information System, it can be easily downloaded on Playstore. The App gives information about the diseases to plants. It is useful for researchers, students, forest officials, growers and nurseries. Photographs can be uploaded and queries resolved.

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Forest conservation is no watertight compartment: MoEF

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