Around 1.6 billion people – including more than 2,000 indigenous cultures – depend on forests for their livelihood.
Forests cover one third of the Earth’s land mass, performing vital functions around the world. It is a widely acknowledged fact that anthropogenic activities has led to massive depletion of forest cover across the globe. Forests are the most biologically-diverse ecosystems on land, home to more than 80% of the terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects. They also provide shelter, jobs and security for forest-dependent communities. The United Nations suggests that 33% of land should be the minimum forest cover for any country to follow. Currently, India’s forest cover is only 23% and as per plans it was suppose to be 33% by 2012. It is also seen the afforestation work which is being carried out by governments are also reducing the biodiversity of the countries by just focusing on a few species of trees and plants. India like other nations is highly dependent on forests for many valuable resources.
The forests not only serves as a means of livelihood generation but also helps preserve the environment from further depletion. Understanding the importance of green cover, the government through the environment ministry has been working to increase India’s forest cover. Fiinovation understands that as humans we have stopped respecting the nature and the consequences are reduced biodiversity, extinction of species, droughts, floods, soil degradation, global warming etc. Therefore, Fiinovation urges to promote the cause of environment conservation by highlighting the importance of all types of forests, and trees outside forests, for benefit of not only the current but future generations as well.
Each year, the International Day of Forests is observed on March 21st after it was established through a resolution on November 2012 in the United Nations General Assembly. This year the theme is “Forests and Water” which focuses on the role of forests in supporting water systems. It is understandable that investing in forests is an insurance for the planet. This day provides us an opportunity to introspect on the fact that despite all of these priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits, global deforestation continues at an alarming rate – 13 million hectares of forest are destroyed annually. Fiinovation reviews that deforestation accounts for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Therefore, Fiinovation believes as nation we need to develop more forested catchments that will provide freshwater for farms, industry and homes. Development of forested catchments or forested watersheds helps in saving costs of building new infrastructure for water purification. It is also understandable that forests are central to addressing climate change. Increasing forest cover provides cost-effective and efficient natural carbon capture and storage system.
It is the need of hour to work towards afforestation and conservation of forests so that we can mitigate the risks of climate change and provide a healthy ecosystem for the future generations. Let’s hope that governments, businesses, civil society and other partners adopt holistic policies and practices to protect, restore and sustain healthy forests for our common future.
By Rahul Choudhury
Media & Communications , Fiinovation