State Government will roll out a massive forestry action plan that will ensure plantation of 10 crore saplings in a year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said here on Thursday.
Under the Greening Odisha Action Plan, which will be implemented in the coming financial year, the Government targets to plant over 10 crore saplings in a mission mode as industrialisation and mining have taken a toll on the forest cover in the State.
The India State of Forest Report, 2011 had pointed out that Odisha lost at least 41 sq km of very dense and moderately dense forest between 2007 and 2009. The State’s very dense forest cover declined from 7,073 sq km to 7,060 sq km whereas moderately dense forest declined more __ from 21,394 sq km to 21,366 sq km.
Addressing a meeting on World Forestry Day, Patnaik said forest management must put emphasis on inclusive growth, poverty reduction and environment conservation.
“We must use our forest and forest land in a way and at a rate that maintain their biodiversity, productivity, regeneration capacity and their ecological, economic and social functions without causing damage to the eco-systems,” he said.
His Government, the Chief Minister said, has adopted a pro-poor and pro-people strategy for forest management. Apart from Joint Forest Management, massive afforestation measures too have been taken up under various programmes. Steps have been taken to empower tribal people with community forest rights for collection, value addition, storage, sale and transport of minor forest produce including bamboo.
“Farmers must be encouraged to take up farm forestry and agro-forestry for higher income generation by evolving appropriate models, technology, extension and credit support systems. Similarly, cultivation of medicinal plants and their wide application in primary health care, child and women healthcare need to be enhanced, Patnaik said. Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray stressed on sustainable development and measures to enhance green cover. Secretary RK Sharma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest PN Padhi and State Silviculturist LK Das also spoke.