Monday, February 18, 2013

Indian Updates: Institutional Framework for Implementing REDD+ in India. (18 Feb 2013)

Ministry of Environment and Forests
Institutional Framework for Implementing REDD+ in India.
Updated: February 18th, 2013

by Ridhima Sud, Jitendra Vir Sharma, Arun Kumar Bansal, Subhash Chandra


Forests in India have always held a special place in the socio-economic, cultural, and religious facets of Indian society. Though blessed with diverse forest resources that support a rich diversity of flora and fauna, the geographical distribution and quality of forests is not uniform in India. India has 78.29 million hectare (Mha) under forest and tree cover (Forest Survey of India, 2011) which is 23.81 per cent of the total geographical area of the country. Of this total, forest cover constitutes 69.20 Mha (21.05 per cent), whereas tree cover is 9.84 Mha (2.76 per 
cent). However, improving the quality of forest cover is a major concern today in terms of density classes, since very dense forests, having canopy density more than 0.7, constitutes only 8.347 Mha (2.54 per cent), and medium-density forests with canopy density of 0.4–0.7,constitute 32.07 Mha (9.76 per cent). The remaining forest cover is open 
forest or scrub which requires to be rehabilitated. India’s forests are facing immense pressure due to unsustainable use of forest produce. Poverty and forest degradation are inextricably linked and curbing forest degradation requires convergence of various poverty alleviation policies and schemes. The role of local communities is vital in not only addressing the drivers of forest degradation but also enhancing carbon stock through conservation, protection, and reforestation. The carbon stock of Indian forests in 2004 has been estimated by the 
Forest Survey of India (FSI) to be 6,663 metric tonnes (FSI, 2011). Carbon stock in India’s Forests has increased by 592 metric tonnes between 1994 and 2004, but it can be increased significantly through the involvement of local communities. The institutional mechanism for REDD+ will leverage on the strengths of the existing forest management system in the country while also ensuring sectoral integration and inter-departmental coordination to 
address some of the key drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the country.

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