The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) is implementing plantation/afforestation schemes in the forest areas with a participatory approach. The plantation species under the schemes is selected by the implementing agencies/the members of Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC) on the basis of their needs, ecological conditions and other local factors in consultation with the Forest Department.
The native forest species are encouraged for plantation in the forest areas giving importance to trees with multiple uses. MoEFCC has not issued any specific direction for plantation of fruit-bearing trees as it is decided by the JFM Committees considering local conditions and the micro plan of the area.
The conservation and development of forest primarily involve three strategies – afforestation through natural/artificial regeneration, protection and management. The ministry is implementing three major schemes for development of forest areas:
- National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme
- National Mission for a Green India (GIM)
- Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPM).
Afforestation of degraded forest lands
While NAP is being implemented for afforestation of degraded forest lands, GIM aims at improving the quality of forest and increase in forest cover besides cross-sectoral activities on landscape basis. The FFPM takes care of forest fire prevention and management measures. For scientific management of forests, the States prepare a management plan called Working Plan which highlights various activities to be undertaken in a forest division for effective management of the forest.
The working plan is approved by the Ministry. Besides, the funds collected under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA), as compensatory levies from states inter-alia, is also used in plantation activity including compensatory afforestation by States/UTs.
What is the objective?
The overall objective of the National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme is an ecological restoration of degraded forests and to develop the forest resources with peoples' participation, with focus on improvement in livelihoods of the forest-fringe communities, especially the poor.
NAP aims to support and accelerate the on-going process of devolving forest conservation, protection, management and development functions to the Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) at the village level, which are registered societies. The scheme is implemented by three-tier institutional set up through the State Forest Development Agency (SFDA) at the state level, Forest Development Agency (FDA) at the forest division level and JFMCs at the village level.
Major components of the scheme
The major components of the scheme include afforestation under Seven plantation models, maintenance of previous years plantations and Ancillary Activities like soil and moisture conservation activities (SMC), fencing, overheads, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), micro-planning, awareness-raising, Entry Point Activities (EPA) etc.
The Scheme is demand-driven and afforestation area is sanctioned on the basis of past performance, potential degraded forest land available for eco-restoration and availability of budget. The Annual Plan of Operation (APO) of SFDAs is approved as per Guidelines of NAP. NAP is a centrally sponsored scheme which is implemented with the fund sharing pattern of 60: 40 per cent between Centre and States wherein the sharing pattern for Northeastern and hilly States is 90:10.
The central share of funds are released through State Government and state government transfers the funds to SFDA along with its state share which sometime causes a delay in fund availability to SFDAs for implementation of NAPcausing delay in submission of mandatory documents for subsequent release of funds.
Since the inception of the NAP (2000-2002), an amount of Rs.3874.02 crores has been released till 2018-19 to various States and is being utilized for treatment/afforestation over 21 lakh hectare sanctioned area. This information was provided by Minister of State, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change Shri Babul Supriyo in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.