Study of afforestation projects shows 70% flouted

NEW DELHI: A new study on more than 2,000 compensatory afforestation plantations across the country has found that 70% of the projects violated guidelines by taking up plantations on notified forest lands that were termed “degraded” in official records.Case studies documented by the authors reveal that in many cases plantations were raised in dense native forests, defeating the very purpose of afforestation.In about 53 of the 63 case studies taken up by Community Forest Rights Learning and Advocacy (CFR-LA), a coalition of researchers working on forest rights, no consent was taken from gram sabhas for plantation.The authors used secondary data downloaded from e-greenwatch website (environment ministry website on plantations) for 2,479 compensatory afforestation projects in 10 states.The plantations were taken up at a cost of Rs 195 crore during 2007-2017. No data was available for the performance and survival of the trees planted during this period on the e-greenwatch website.The data shows 70% of the compensatory afforestation has been taken up on forest lands rather than non-forest lands. “This is in violation of guidelines issued under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, which say compensatory afforestation should be done on non-forest land in the same district where there is diversion of forest, or in areas closer to it.Only if nonforest land is not available should the plantation be set up on degraded forest land twice th e area of diverted forest land,” the study say.

March 17, 2018 22:41 UTC

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