India outlines forest restoration plan
India plans 20 million hectares of afforestation and ecosystem restoration over the next ten years under a draft climate plan released by the government this week.
The Green India Mission is one component of the national climate change action plan and, subject to consultation and final approval, would see around 6 million hectares of cleared land afforested. The remaining target area would see degraded forests, scrub and grasslands, mangroves, wetlands, degraded agricultural land and urban forest lands subject to restoration activity along with the establishment of wildlife corridors. Separate green mission targets would be outlined for each land-use restoration type.
It’s estimated the resulting new forest and restored ecosystem area would sequester 43 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year by 2020, equal to 6 per cent of India’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
The plan adheres closely to the principles of the emerging international REDD+ mechanism being developed by the UNFCCC as part of a new global climate agreement. REDD+ goes beyond tackling deforestation and would extend forest measures to increasing carbon stocks in existing forest via improved and sustainable management practices.
Four tiers of government down to the village level would be involved in governance with local communities given a key role in implementation. Food, water and environmental issues as well as livelihood security of forest dwellers would be recognised.
The Green India Mission draft says foreign funding and investment assistance will be sought to help pay the budgeted 44 billion rupees ($US940 million) cost of the plan.
The Hindu 26/5/10, rediff.com 24/5/10