National Afforestation Programme and Status of Forests in India

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Context: Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change informed Lok Sabha about National Afforestation Programme.

Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Mains: GS III-

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment Disaster and disaster management.

Afforestation and deforestation:

Forest cover in India:

India State of Forest Report (ISFR):

  • According to the data, a quarter of India’s geographical area (24.49 %) is under forest and tree cover.
  • Northeast crowds the list of states with most dense tree, forest cover.
  • Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Meghalaya are among the top 6 states with highest forest and tree cover.
  • The lowest forest and tree cover is in Haryana at 6.79 % of its geographical area. Punjab follows with 6.87 %.
  • Top 3 States with maximum Forest cover (in terms of area):
    • Madhya Pradesh (77,414 sq km)
    • Arunachal Pradesh (66,964 sq km) and
    • Chhattisgarh (55,547 sq).
  • Top states with highest Forest cover in terms of percentage geographical area:
    • Lakshadweep with (90.33%),
    • Mizoram (86.27%) and
    • Andaman & Nicobar Islands (81.73%)
  • Rajasthan’s forest and tree cover is over 7.26% of its geographical area while Madhya Pradesh’s is 27.73 %.
  • Top 5 States with maximum increase in forest cover:
    • Andhra Pradesh (2141 sq km),
    • Karnataka (1101 sq km)
    • Kerala (1043 sq km),
    • Odisha (885 sq km) and
    • Telangana (565 sq km)
  • Goa and Kerala are two other states with more than 50 per cent of their geographical area under forest and tree cover.
  • Forest Survey of India (FSI) has been assessing the forest and tree resources of our country on a biennial basis since 1987.
  • The results of the assessment are published in its biennial report titled “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”.


Afforestation measures in India:

  • The conservation and development of forest primarily involves three strategies – afforestation through natural/artificial regeneration, protection and management.
  • The ministry is implementing three major schemes for development of forest areas i.e. National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme, National Mission for a Green India (GIM) and Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPM).
    • NAP is being implemented for afforestation of degraded forest lands.
    • GIM aims at improving the quality of forest and an increase in forest cover besides cross-sectoral activities on a landscape basis.
    • The FFPM takes care of forest fire prevention and management measures.

About National Afforestation Programme (2000):

  • Aim:
    • Sustainable development and management of forest resources.
  • Objectives:
    • Ecological restoration of degraded forests.
    • Improve livelihoods of the forest-fringe communities.
    • The overall objective of the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme is the ecological restoration of degraded forests and to develop the forest resources with peoples’ participation.
  • Implementation:
    • It is implemented by three-tier institutional setup through
    • State Forest Development Agency (SFDA) at the state level,
    • Forest Development Agency (FDA) at the forest division level 
    • Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at village level.
  • Component:
    • The major components of the scheme includes
      • Afforestation under Seven plantation models,
      • Maintenance of previous years plantations and Ancillary Activities like soil and moisture conservation activities (SMC),
      • Fencing, overheads,
      • Micro-planning,
      • Awareness-raising,
      • Entry Point Activities (EPA) etc.
  • Funding: 
    • NAP is a centrally sponsored scheme which is implemented with the fund sharing pattern of 60: 40 % between Centre and States wherein the sharing pattern for Northeastern and hilly States is 90:10. 

Additional Information:

  • National Forest Policy, 1988:
    • It aims to maintain 33% of total geographical area under forest and tree cover to prevent soil erosion, land degradation and maintain ecological balance.
  • National Mission for a Green India (GIM), 2015:
    • It is one of the eight missions launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC). It targets increasing the forest and tree cover by 5 million ha, and increasing the quality of the existing forest and tree cover in another 5 million ha of forest/non-forest lands in 10 years.
  • National Green Highways Mission, 2016:
    • It aims to provide a green canopy along 100,000km of highways.
  • Nagar Van-udyan Yojana, 2015:
    • It aims to create “city forest” in each City with Municipal Council.

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