Forest Conservation Current Affairs - 2020

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FSI: 21.4% of forest cover prone to forest fires

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recently released India State of Forest Report, 2019. The report predominantly talks about forest cover in the country. The report also mentions about forest fires in the country.

Highlights of forest fire

According to the report, 21.4% of Indian forests are prone to forest fires. The report has given the figures after a thorough study of fire points identified between 2004 and 2017. The study says that forests in central India and north-eastern India are most vulnerable to forest fires.

The total number of forest fire alerts issued between November 2018 and June 2019 were 29,547. Out of these alerts, Mizoram recorded the highest. Of the alerts received, one-third were from north-eastern states. The major reason for increased number of alerts in north eastern region is slash and burn cultivation (Jhoom Cultivation).

The report also said that the overall forest cover of the country has increased. However, the forest cover in the north east region has declined.

Forest Survey of India

The Forest Survey of India begun in 1981. It is the successor of Pre investment Survey of Forest Resources (PISFR). The PISFR was supported by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). The report is published twice a year.

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Sikkim Government allows people to forge fraternal ties with trees

Sikkim Government has allowed people from state to forge fraternal ties with trees. In this regard, State Forests, Department has issued notification titled Sikkim Forest Tree (Amity & Reverence) Rules 2017.

The purpose of this move is to preserve trees by encouraging people to forge relationship of brotherhood or sisterhood with trees through tradition practice locally known as Mitini or Mith/Mit.

Provision of notification

State government allows any person to associate with trees standing on his or her private land or on any public land by entering into Mitini relationship. Person can also adopt tree as if it was his/her own child, in which tree will be called adopted tree. Person can also adopt or preserve them in remembrance of a departed relative in which case tree shall be called smriti tree.

In case person desires to enter into a relationship with a tree located on public land then permission from forests department needs to be taken. If an individual wants to forge relationship with tree which stands another person’s land, then concerned person shall execute agreement with owner and compensate him in terms of market value of timber or wood contained in tree.

It prohibits felling or damage to any tree registered as Mitini, smriti or adopted tree and points out that any such violation will be treated as forest offence.

Comment

Sikkim is one of cleanest and greenest north-eastern States. As per Forest Survey of India, 2015 forest cover of Sikkim is 47.80 % of State’s total geographical area. The recent notification has given formal recognition to age-old tradition of promoting amity between man and nature, particularly trees.

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