61,375 bighas of forest land freed from encroachers: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma
The State Government has set the target of raising the forest coverage in the state to 38 percent from the existing 34 percent.
Government to plant one crore samplings on Gandhi Jayanti
GUWAHATI: The State Government has set the target of raising the forest coverage in the state to 38 percent from the existing 34 percent. To make this happen, the State government has adopted a twin approach: carrying out plantations in one way and evicting encroachers from forest land in the other.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said this at the ‘Amrit Plantation Programme’ at Chandubu, Kamrup, today. He said, "Around 20 percent of forestland in the state has already been converted into human habitation areas. Houses were erected by felling trees and earth-cutting atop hills. We feel the impact of such activities in the form of climate change, accompanied by scanty rainfall and sweltering heat."
The Chief Minister said, "In the past two years, the State Government has freed around 61,375 bighas of forest land from encroachment. The government is carrying out a massive plantation drive in the freed forest lands. To bring the temperature back to its optimal level, we should take steps to increase our forest cover, phase away fossil fuels, and free the encroached forest land."
He further said, "To extend the green cover in the state and to give a fillip to a ‘tree economy, one crore will be planted on Gandhi Jayanti this year. To extend the ‘tree economy’ the state government will offer Rs 300 per sapling. An individual planting a sapling will get Rs. 100. He will get another Rs 200 if the sampling planted by him survives for three years."
The Chief Minister made it clear that the government would stop felling trees in forest areas. "We have allowed the public to commercially grow trees outside forest areas as part of the ‘tree economy’. The Forest Department will have no objection if the private growers cut their grown-up trees."
According to official sources, the total Recorded Forest Area (RFA) in Assam is 26,836 sq km, which is 34.2 percent of the total geographical area of the state. Out of the total RFA, the total reserved forest area in the state is 17,862 sq km.
Forest cover refers to all tree patches that have a canopy density of more than ten percent over an area of one hectare or more, irrespective of land use, legal status, or ownership. It may include orchards, bamboo, palms, etc.
According to the report of the Forest Survey of India, 2021, the forest cover of Assam has decreased by 15 percent as compared to 2019. However, forest and tree covers outside the RFA increased by 126 sq km and 222 sq km, respectively, compared to 2019.