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India: Combating Land Degradation and Desertification



  Apr 23, 2024

India: Combating Land Degradation and Desertification



What national goals does the National Forest Policy (NFP) of 1988 set?

The National Forest Policy of 1988 aims for a minimum of one-third of India's total land area to be covered by forest or tree cover. This goal supports the broader objectives of environmental stability, maintenance of ecological balance, and conservation of natural heritage.

What are some of the major schemes implemented by the Ministry to increase forest and tree cover?

The Ministry implements several major schemes, including the National Mission for a Green India (GIM) and the Forest Fire Protection & Management Scheme (FFPM). Additionally, Compensatory Afforestation under CAMPA (Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority) is used to increase forest cover across the country.

How does the National Coastal Mission Programme contribute to combating land degradation?

The National Coastal Mission Programme focuses on the conservation and management of mangroves and coral reefs. Under this scheme, annual Management Action Plans (MAPs) for the conservation of mangroves are formulated and implemented across all coastal states and union territories in India.

What tools are used to monitor and plan against land degradation in India?

The Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas of India, published by the Space Applications Centre (SAC) of the Indian Space Research Organisation, provides extensive data on the extent of land degradation. This atlas offers crucial state-wise information that aids in planning and implementing restoration schemes. Additionally, an online portal developed with SAC helps visualize degraded areas and the processes causing the degradation.

What role does the Centre of Excellence at ICFRE Dehradun play?

The Centre of Excellence at the Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in Dehradun focuses on enhancing South-South Cooperation. It is involved in knowledge sharing, promotion of best practices, sharing India's experiences with sustainable land management strategies, developing transformative project ideas, and capacity building.

What commitments has India made under international agreements to combat land degradation?

India has committed to the Bonn Challenge to bring 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land into restoration by 2020, and an additional 8 million hectares by 2030. During UNCCD COP14 in 2019, this pledge was increased to 26 million hectares by 2030.

How is afforestation reported and measured in India?

Afforestation efforts are tracked under the Twenty Point Programme, which reported covering approximately 18.94 million hectares from 2011-12 to 2021-22. These efforts are supported by various central and state-specific schemes managed by State Governments.

Can you elaborate on the coastal habitat rehabilitation in Tamil Nadu?

In Tamil Nadu, the Rehabilitation of Coastal Habitat through the formation of bio-shield is planned from 2023-24 to 2025-26 across all coastal districts, including Thanjavur, Mayiladuthurai, and Nagapattinam. The project includes eco-restoration of existing mangroves to an extent of 11.25 Sq.km and new planting of mangrove over 3.28 Sq.km. Tree species that act as bio-shields, such as Casuarinas, Cashew, Mangrove spp, Palmyrah, and other specialized species, are being raised for this purpose. The initiative also incorporates training, awareness, and local community involvement.



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