Forges ahead with 2021 target estimates
Shimla | TNR
Himachal is fast emerging as a green cover trendsetter in the country. While forests all over the country are being depleted for commercial gains and development, Himachal Pradesh has actually increased its forest cover by no less than 334 kms.
This recent survey conducted by the Forest Survey of India proves that no forest mafia has been able to encroach into the state’s forests.
In fact, there has been a great increase in forest areas particularly in Shimla, Kullu, Chamba, Sirmaur, Kinnaur and Mandi districts, which proves the point.
Tree felling in Dev Vans a taboo Superstitions and traditions also have a lot to do with this fact. So much so, that local people fearing a curse of the Gods, even refrain from cutting wood for their use etc from the forests which are called “Dev Van” in local parlance, or simply forests of the Gods in Himachal.
These forests are also overseen by the local “Devaluo” who have laid down their own rules to protect these forests.
Anyone who breaks these rules and tries to cut or take away valuable wood is strictly dealt with by the “Devalues”.
A panchayat is then called immediately and the offender is punished. Shedding light on these superstitions, Het Ram, the kardar and numberdar of the deity Chikneshwar Janog said that “Deva” forests have existed near Deviyo for centuries and no one has ever been allowed to cut wood from these forests.
He added that local people who have faith in the deity karinde, local residents having faith in God, protect the forests from the forest mafia and consider themselves as guardians or forest guards, of these holy forests.
Wood from these forests can only be used for temple construction and making and renovating the chariot of the deity.
New plantations have helped Apart from these “Dev Vans”, new plantations have also added to the increase in forest area in Himachal.
The Forest department along with public participation has been doing a good job in this direction. Lakhs of rupees are being spent for this purpose.
In the year 2018-19, about 20 lakh saplings of different species were planted. The Forest Department had set a target of planting more than 75 lakh saplings in 2019-20, about one crore saplings in 2020-21 and 1.25 crore saplings this year.
Increase in forest cover The forest cover of the carbon credit state of Himachal has increased by 334 square Kilometres taking the total forest cover of the state to 15434 square kilometres.
A Forest survey of India report shows that despite cutting thousands of trees for roads and electricity projects, as well as other developmental works, people of the state are creating new plantations in large numbers and also preserving them.
30 per cent target on the recommendation of NITI Aayog The total geographical area of Himachal is 55.673 square kilometres of which its forest cover in the year 2017 was 15,000 square kilometres (27.72 per cent) in the year 2019.
In the year 2019, it increased to 27.72 per cent. Legally, Himachal’s forest area covers more than 67 per cent. Following the recommendation of NITI Aayog, the state government has set a target of converting 30 per cent of the forest area into forest cover by 2030.