Five percent increase in India's forest cover



Five percent increase in India`s forest cover 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".

PTI