NEW DELHI: Concerned over inaccurate data related to compensatory afforestation provided by certain state forest departments, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has decided to use GIS (geographic information system) platform to monitor afforestation done across the country in lieu of diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes to companies for infrastructure and other projects.
In a recent meeting of the ad-hoc Compensatory Afforestation Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) chaired by Director General (Forest) S S Garbyal, it was decided that a GIS platform would be set up in the ministry so that senior officials can monitor the plantation being done by states as promised at the time of project clearence.
The MoEF has asked the Dehradun-based Forest Survey of India (FSI) to submit a plan soon and the system is expected to be in place by the end of this year.
Project proponents would provide money through CAMPA to carry out afforestation on non-forest land in the concerned states, which will then be released to states to do the plantation.
“No central system is in place for digitally monitoring forests in the country and we have to always ask the FSI to give us a report on status of forests. Now, we will have GIS mapping system in the ministry to monitor the reality on the ground,” said a senior MoEF official.
According to officials, industries give money through the CAMPA for plantation so as to transfer forest land for non-forest purposes, which is then allotted to the states. “The money is allotted to state forest departments to carry out compensatory afforestation and at times they give wrong reports about plantation done on the ground.”