Now, earn money for growing trees
PUNE: Soon, planting trees could become a money-making proposition. A proposal on 'tree credits,' a concept to make conditions favourable for people to willingly grow and protect trees by getting appropriate periodic financial returns, has been floated by the directorate of social forestry. The proposal will be sent to the state government in a month or two, and has the backing of Nitin Raut, minister for EGS and water conservation. It will be tabled in the cabinet's winter session, said Tasneem Ahmad, director general of social forestry.
Also, the idea of village forest, where a village manages its own forest, will be encouraged to increase the state's green cover from the current 20% to around 33%.
"Out of these 20%, only 14% is green cover and the remaining six per cent is barren. Of the 80% non-forest area, only three per cent comprises tree cover. Therefore, there is a need for massive tree plantation, especially on non-forest land," said Suresh Thorat, additional director general, social forestry.
Ahmad said farmers from different parts of the state will be encouraged to plant trees of indigenous species, nurture them and then earn tree credits accordingly.
"The objective is to facilitate carbon sequestration via plantation of trees. Farmers growing trees will be given certificates on tree credits after five years of plantation. These credits will be bought by pollution-making agencies to compensate for trees felled due to reasons like road-widening or construction activities. Therefore, we should have a bank of growing trees," he added.
A tree credits council committee will be formed to determine prices. "Polluting agencies will have to compulsorily buy tree credits. We will determine the liability of the polluting agencies for tree credits in consultation with the state pollution control board. The prices will be fixed as per demand and supply/availability of the tree credits in the market. A software will be developed to keep track of issuance of tree credits," said Ahmad.
So far, over 20 indigenous tree species have been shortlisted. These include 'moha,' mango, neem, sandalwood, anjan, shisham, suru, teak, tiwas, hirda, ain, babul, tamarind, baheda, and bija. "This is an ambitious project aimed at ensuring proper carbon sequestration, conservation of trees and ensuring consistent livelihood to farmers. It will boost the rural economy," Ahmad added.
The social forestry is currently inviting feedback on the project from the public. Citizens can reach the authorities at firstname.lastname@example.org.BOX:
The proposal put forward by Tasneem Ahmad, director general of social forestry, will also include provisions for village forests. "Village forests are forest areas managed by villagers themselves. Boundaries of the forest, grazing area, tree plantation and other aspects governing the forests, particularly under the framework of the national forest policy and the Indian Forest Act, 1927, will be decided with due participation from the villagers. The idea behind this concept is to preserve the green cover and also entitle villagers their rights and privileges pertaining to livelihood," said Ahmad.