State Forest Policy 2010 envisioned increasing vegetal cover in the State to 20 percent of the geographical area. Forest cover in the State actually increased by around 82sq km. from 2017 to 2021. There is now a clear need to provide much needed momentum to the efforts being made in this direction.
In the more recent times, a clear obligation has also been felt to integrate the vision of sustainable forest management through elements of ecosystem conservation, ecological security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, promotion of urban forestry and robust convergence with the Sustainable Development Goals.
In June 2023, Rajasthan Forest Policy 2023 has been brought out by the government. The policy aims to increase vegetation cover to 20 percent of the geographical area within next twenty years with special focus on increasing vegetation cover outside forests. The vision and objectives of the State Forest Policy, 2023 shall be achieved on the basis of the principles of protection and consolidation, ecological restoration, and people’s participation.
The objectives of Rajasthan Forest Policy 2023 are:
- To protect, conserve, restore and manage existing natural forests, wildlife and bio-diversity to enhance their productive capacity for
- ecological security and flow of ecosystem services as well as to contribute towards economic and social well-being.
- To increase the extent of forest/tree cover in the State by encouraging reforestation, restoration and rehabilitation measures in existing forest areas and by encouraging and expanding vegetal cover in urban and rural areas outside the existing forest areas by promoting protection and afforestation practices on common property resources, agro forestry practices on farm lands and tree planting on available spaces.
- To encourage community participation and improve livelihoods opportunities for people through sustainable use of forest and grassland based resources and ecosystem services.
- To prevent all forms of land degradation including decertification, and improve productivity of land under forests, grasslands and plantations through appropriate management interventions and use of contemporary scientific and technological knowledge.
- To conserve and promote floral and faunal diversity and gene pool reserve especially of the rare and endangered species of flora and fauna through ex-situ,in-situ and circa-situm conservation measures including conservation and management of bio-diversity rich ecosystems like grasslands, wetlands, sacred groves, deserts etc.
- To consolidate climate change mitigation and adaptation measures in forest, wildlife and bio-diversity management and management of vegetal cover in Rajasthan.
Principles of Forest Management
The vision and objectives of the State Forest Policy shall be achieved on the basis of following broad principles:
- Protection and Consolidation: Effective protection of forests, wildlife and bio-diversity rich areas enhance and accelerate ecological restoration. Compact and contiguous ecological units have far more beneficial impact than the sum of its parts. Hence, efforts shall be made to increase protection, reduce fragmentation and increase consolidation of ecological units to achieve a synergistic advantage.
- Ecological Restoration: Primacy shall be accorded to restoration of constituents of the ecosystem in such a way so as to restore the ecological structure, functions and bio-diversity of the area.
- Sustainability: Efforts shall be made to strike an equitable balance between the ecological, economic and social dimension in such a way so as to be able to meet the needs and aspirations of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to be able to meet their own needs and aspirations.
- Expansion: It is imperative to spread the efforts and investments also in areas outside the recorded forest area so as to be able to increase the actual forest and vegetal cover.
- Evidence-based Approach: Knowledge gained out of research, technological innovation and field experience shall be sourced and put to effective use in all the efforts toward restoration and conservation of forests, wildlife and bio-diversity.
- Participation: Participation and productive engagement of stakeholders from all section of the society shall be ensured to achieve long term sustainability.
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