21st March-World Forestry Day

World Forestry Day is celebrated on 21 March every year.
• Origin of the concept of World Forestry Day originated at the 23rd General Assembly of the European Confederation of Agriculture in 1971.
• March 21 which is also the autumnal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere was chosen as the day to be celebrated offering information about the three key facets of forestry - protection, production and recreation.
Theme for 2010 World Forestry Day is “Forests and Biodiversity’. This day aims to provide opportunities for people to learn how forests can be managed and used sustainably.
Convention on Biological Diversity:
• The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) addresses forests directly through the expanded programme of work on forest biological diversity (annex to decision Vi/22), adopted in 2002 by the Conference of the Parties at its sixth meeting.
• The forest work programme constitutes a broad set of goals, objectives and activities aimed at the conservation of forest biodiversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable use of the benefits arising from the utilization of forest genetic resources.
• The programme of work on forest biodiversity consists of three elements conservation, sustainable use, and benefit- sharing; institutional and socio-economic enabling environment and knowledge, assessment, and monitoring.
• Today forests cover approximately 9.4% of the Earth's surface (or 30% of total land area), in past they once covered much more (about 50% of total land area).
Forests in India:
• Forest cover in India is stabilized around 19% of the total geographical area.
Intensification of Forest Management Scheme
• In India Intensification of Forest Management Scheme aims primarily at protection of forests in the country and not at increasing the forest cover. The targets for Afforestation/tree planting are fixed annually and monitored under 20 Point Programme.
National Afforestation Programme
• The Ministry of Environment and Forests is implementing a major scheme namely: National Afforestation Programme (NAP), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme for regeneration of degraded forests and adjoining areas in the country.
• As on 18-02-2010, 800 FDA projects have been approved in 28 States to cover a project area of 1.69 million ha. Rs.2231.10 crore has been released so far under NAP Scheme.
Eco- Task Force (ETF) Battalions
• Two new Eco- Task Force (ETF) Battalions have been operationalised by the Ministry for ecorestoration of degraded areas in Assam, in addition to supporting the existing four ETF battalions in the country.
Vanpanchayat Yojna:
• A new scheme for Afforestation involving Panchayati Raj Institution, Gram/ Panchayat Van Yojana has been mooted by the Ministry.
• Tree planting is a permissible activity under a number of schemes of other Ministries of Government of India, notably NREGS, Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture etc.
Forestry in NAPCL:
• Under National Action Plan on Climate Change announced by the Prime Minister, National Mission for a Green India is included as one of the eight missions.
New Scheme:
• A new state plan scheme of ‘Additional Central Assistance for Accelerated Programme of Restoration and Regeneration of Forest Cover’ has been introduced during 2009-10.
Eleventh Plan and Forestry:
• The eleventh plan (2007-12) has projected a total investment of Rs. 8840 crore for forests and environment (at 2006-7 prices) and Rs. 10,000 crore at current prices.
Forest Policy 1952:
• The Forest policy 1952 aimed at raising steadily the area under forests to 33% of India's Geographical area.
• However, this target was never achieved. on the contrary, in spite of spending crores of Rupees on various ambitious schmes the deforestations goes on at an alarming rate. 1.3-1.5 million hectares of the forests are swept away every year in India. In summary, the 1952 Forest Policy was an impractical policy which was bound to fail.
Social Forestry Programmes:
• The Government of India accepted the recommendation of the National commission on agriculture 1976 and agreed to set up social forestry projects on non forest lands, public lands and village commons.
• The social forestry programmes have also not been able to achieve what they ever meant to achieve.
• The only success of the social forestry has been in regard with the farm forestry where free or highly subsidized seedlings were distributed by the Forest departments and only the bigger farmers could derive its benefits.
• The social forestry programmes have been backed by the World bank in India as well as in other countries.
Forest Policy 1988:
• Forest Policy 1988 was launched with more importance to tribal and local communities.
More Points:
• 17 autonomous Forest development corporations have been set up in various states & union Territories.
• The central government had set up National Wastelands Development Board in 1985 to bring 5 million hectares of wasteland per year under fuel wood and fodder plants.

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