Efforts on to make Forest development a people's movement: Minister

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New Delhi, Mar 21 (UNI) The approach towards forest development is shifting from regulatory to participatory mode of administration and will be more people oriented in future, Minister of State for Environment and Forests S Regupathy said here today .

The major task before the country is to rehabilitate the degraded forests, increase the green cover and use forest resources in poverty alleviation involving people in the process, he said The objectives of the country's forest policy were underlined by the Minister while addressing the World Forestry Day celebration today.

Mr Regupathy said India had highlighted the gaps in the implementation of sustainable forest management in the decisions of Bali Conference on Climate Change and other international fora.

Referring to this year's theme 'Forest and Climate Change', the Minister said the process of economic growth and development through industrialization and urbanization had led to the emission of Green House Gases (GHG) into the atmosphere leading to a rise in global temperature.

''Carbon di-oxide is the dominant GHG accounting for about half of the total global warming contribution by all GHG together.

The CO2 is released mainly from burning of fossil fuels and urbanization. We have to work very hard to increase land area under forest and achieve one-third area of the country under forest and tree,'' he said.

He said the aim of the National Forest Policy was to provide environmental stability and ecological balance including atmospheric equilibrium, which are vital for sustenance of all life forms - human, animal and plants, by conserving the natural heritage of the country.

India's forests are primarily considered as social and environmental resources.

Earlier in his key-note address, Director General of TERI Dr R K Pachauri said forests were the country's biggest treasure.

''Today there are many stresses and challenges on forest sector, and it is application of science that can help in increasing the forest cover and development of the sector,'' he said.

Children from Bal Bhavan and from various NGOs presented a variety of programmes relating to theme of conservation of forests on the occasion.

UNI NAZ MSJ GC1938

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