Forest Current Affairs - 2020

FAO Report: Global Forest Resources Assessment, 2020

On May 13, 2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization released the Global Forest Resources Assessment Report, 2020. According to the report, around 178 million hectares of forests is lost in the last 30 years. However, the rate at which the forests are being destroyed has reduced.

Key Findings

The report says that between 2015 and 2020, the rate of forest loss has declined to 10 million hectares. Between 2010 and 2015, the forest loss was 12 million hectares. This shows that the rate of forest loss is declining. The Forest Resource Assessment Report has examined the status of forests in more than 236 countries and territories between the period 1990 and 2020.

Also, the forests in protected areas increased by 191 million hectares since 1990.

Region Wise

Africa had the largest decline of forest of all the continents. Around 3.9 million hectares (per year) of forest land were destroyed in the continent between 2000 and 2010. Following Africa, South America faced largest forest loss at 2.6 million hectares (per year) in the same time period.

Europe and Asia had recorded the least forest loss.

Types of Forests

The largest proportion of the forest that currently contributes on the earth is the tropical forest standing at 45%. The tropical forests were followed by boreal forest, temperate forests and subtropical forests.

Five major countries

The report says that currently 5 major countries in the world contribute to the forest resources of the world. They are Brazil, USA, Canada, China and Russia.

Study of Community Forest Resources by Ministry of Tribal Affairs

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs recently commissioned a study about Community Forest resource Rights. According to the study, broad guidelines are needed to implement Community Forest Rights.

Legislation

The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) act, 2006, also called the FRA act defines the Community Forest resource Rights. The FRA also says that a village shall get its traditionally held forest land. It provides the Gram Sabhas the right to protect, conserve and regenerate.

Suggestions provided by the Study

Apart from FRA act, 2006, the 73rd amendment of the constitution also empowers the Gram Sabhas to govern community forests. However, there are no guidelines to implement Community Forest Rights. The State Governments should create guidelines according the locals and their traditions. It should also focus on capacity building of Gram Sabha members. Micro-plans should be prepared so that the Gram Sabhas shall facilitate sustainable forest management.