New Delhi: India’s Tree Outside Forest (TOF) comprises 36.18 per cent of total forest and tree cover in the country, said Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav.
Addressing the High-Level Session on the theme “Healthy Forests for Healthy People” on the occasion of International Day of Forests 2023, the Minister said India has a strong drive to expand the green cover by promoting Tree Outside Forest (ToF) including Agroforestry system, river catchments and urban greens.
The Programme was hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations at FAO Headquarters, Rome.
He said that “India has a robust institutional mechanism with ICFRE (Indian Council for Forest Research and Education), IIFM (Indian Institute of Forest Management), Wildlife Institute of India to support ecological security and sustainable development of forest ecosystems”.
The Union Minister said that India highly values the traditional knowledge and wisdom of local people and follows a participatory approach in forest management along with gender equity.
“Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India manages her forest areas and their resources in a scientific manner based on the principle of sustainability” he said.
He said that India has a legal provision for recognising the rights of tribal and forest dependent communities through the Forest Rights Act.
Speaking over the river rejuvenation programme, he said that 13 major rivers through a massive focus on plantation activities, Urban Greening Guidelines, Smart Cities Mission launched in 2015 aims to promote cities that provide core infrastructure, clean and sustainable environment and a decent quality of life.
The Green Highways Policy 2015 aims of planting trees along all the highways in the country with the help of local communities, in order to reduce the impact of heat, air and noise pollution and check soil erosion at the embankment slopes.
He said that aiming for Sustainable cities, Communities Forests and urban greens has a major role to play in bringing our cities and communities lifestyle closer towards sustainability, which is one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Union Minister said that India has recognised the urban forest as an integral part of the city planning process including those in peri-urban areas and is focusing in that area.
The opening remarks for the High-level session was given Director-General, FAO, Mr QU Dongyu, where the importance of forests for the well-being of people was highlighted.