Protected areas Current Affairs - 2020

AIIB sanctions 145 million USD loan for Major Irrigation Project of West Bengal

On May 15, 2020, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approves a loan of 145 million USD to improve irrigation facilities and flood management West Bengal


The project is to focus on the Damodar Valley of West Bengal. It will benefit more than 2.7 million farmers spread across five districts of West Bengal. The total value of the project is 413.8 million USD. Apart from the AIIB, the project is also co-financed by IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development).

The IBRD and the IDA (International Development Association) together constitute the World Bank. Though there are other major partners of the world bank, these two have role in terms of decision making and approving grants.

Damodar River

The river flows across the states of Jharkhand and West Bengal. The river is called “Sorrow of Bengal”. The river got the name as if ravages floods in the plains of Bengal. Some of the major tributaries of Damodar river include Haharo, Barakar, Bokaro, Konar, Ghari, Jamunia, Khadia, Guaia and Bhera.

The river flows through Chhota Nagpur Plateau

Chhota Nagpur Plateau

It is a plateau in the eastern India. It covers the state of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. The Palamau Tiger Reserve and Sanjay National Park lies in the plateau. Around 6% of the plateaus lie in the protected area zone.

The plateau is the major store house of minerals such as limestone, iron ore, copper, bauxite, mica and coal.

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.