Five percent increase in India`s forest cover

PM today said the country`s forest cover has increased by nearly five percent between 1997 and 2007.

New Delhi: In what could bring cheers to
environmentalists, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said
the country`s forest cover has increased by nearly five per
cent between 1997 and 2007.

"I am happy to state that India`s forest cover had
increased by nearly 5 percent between 1997 and 2007 with a
small decrease since then.

"We hope to see further accretion with the implementation
of the Green India Mission which aims to increase the forest
and tree cover by 5 million hectares and improve forest cover
on another 5 million hectares," he said addressing the 12th
Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.

The Prime Minister felt that eventually these forests
will act as a sink that could absorb 50-60 million tonnes of
carbon dioxide annually and offset about 6 per cent of India`s
annual emissions.

The government, he said, is also trying to put in place
institutional arrangements and mechanisms to promote policy
development and stakeholder engagement on sustainable
management of commons (resources that are owned in common).

Sharing the 2011 Tiger census which showed a 20 per cent
increase in the number of tigers over that of the year 2006,
he said, "The lessons learnt will be used to conserve other
endangered species as well".

He said an estimated 1700 wild tigers are there in the
country out of a global population of around 3,000.

Talking about the government`s ambitious plan to make
River Ganga pollution free, he said the setting up of the
National Ganga River Basin Authority is yet another example
"where we are trying institutional innovation to protect the
sacred River".