World Forest Day: Know how life is getting enriched with forest wealth
The importance of forest medicines came in front of the world in the Corona disaster. Market increased.
The theme of World Forest Day 2023 is ‘Forests and Health’. About ten years ago, on 28 November 2012, the United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate 21 March every year as World Forest Day to bring worldwide awareness about forest conservation and promotion. According to the report of the United Nations, the area of forests in the world is decreasing, that is, forests are decreasing. On the other hand, during the Corona, the world also realized that the forests, i.e., the green area, reduced the magnitude of the global pandemic. It is not a mere coincidence that where there are more trees and plants, which is the forest area, despite relatively fewer medical facilities, fewer people fell prey to Covid-19, while in urban areas, the disease caused more devastation.
2261 sq km Forest area increased in 2 years
According to the Forest Survey Report 2021 in India, 80.9 million hectares of land are covered with forests and trees. This is 24.62 percent of the total geographical area of the country. In the two years between 2019 and 2021, there has been an increase of 2261 square kilometers in the Indian forest area. Of these, the forest area is 1540 sq km, while the area under plantation has increased by 721 sq km.
If this increase is seen in terms of states, Andhra Pradesh has 647 sq km, Telangana has 632 sq km, and Odisha has 537 sq km. At the national level, about one-fourth of the land is a forest area, but according to the Forest Survey Report 2021, 17 states and union territories have one-third of the land forest area. A large population of many states of the country is dependent on forests. Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Lakshadweep, Andaman, and Nicobar Islands have more than 75 percent forest cover of the total area. Similarly, 12 states and union territories of the country have forest cover between 33 percent and 75 percent. According to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Madhya Pradesh is the state with the largest forest area in the country in terms of area.
Contribution of Forest Resources to GDP
The aim of the government is not only to expand the forest areas but also to enrich them qualitatively. This also emerges from the theme of World Forest Day 2022, which focuses on sustainable production and consumption from forests. Forest resources include minerals, timber, fuel, forest produce, medicines, animal feed, carbon storage, air, and water.
The Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM) will also conduct an economic assessment of forests, so that it can be ascertained how much forests contribute to the gross domestic product of a state. The contribution of the mining sector can be understood from the fact that recently a wave of anxiety was seen running in the country for several days regarding the alleged shortage of coal. Forests play an important role in carbon sinks, forest areas help to absorb carbon emissions.
Forest dwellers are dependent on Forests
The necessity of forest for life can be gauged from the fact that in the states where the population of forest dwellers is high, their livelihood depends to a great extent on the conservation and promotion of forests. A state like Chhattisgarh has 44 per cent forest area in its total land area. In the Bastar region of this state, 52 percent of the livelihood of the forest dwellers is dependent on forests. The life and culture of forest dwellers is based on forests, which is why forest dwellers communities are against the cutting of trees and encroachment of forest areas. The forest dwellers take from the forests only what is worth their livelihood, which is in the form of forest produce. Chhattisgarh government had increased the minimum support price for minor forest produce like mahua, tamarind, chironji, lac, which helped the forest dwellers a lot during Corona.
Income & Employment is increasing due to rich Forest Resources
In the collection, processing and marketing of minor forest produce, forest dwellers, self-help groups and government organizations working together are showing good results. The demand for forest medicines has increased due to the changes brought in the lifestyle of the entire world by the Corona period. With the establishment of forest produce processing units, the quality of forest produce has improved and along with the quality of the products, the market is also getting bigger.
Earlier, where forest produce could be bought and sold at the local level, now producers, sellers and buyers can connect on online marketing platforms as well. Such steps can be effective in increasing the income from forests and employment opportunities are also increasing with these steps.
Watch this special conversation of Kisan of India with Chhattisgarh’s forest entrepreneur Sheikh Razia.
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