India and US Launch New Program to Increase Tree Coverage in India

By siliconindia   |   Monday, 12 September 2022, 20:02 IST
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India and US Launch New Program to Increase Tree Coverage in India

The US and India launched a new initiative called trees outside forests in India, with the objective of increasing tree coverage in India and, in the longer term, curbing the climate change crisis

On September 8, 2022, the ministry of environment, forest, and climate change, the government of India and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) declared the launch of a new programme called Trees outside forests in India. This initiative is carried out to expand tree coverage outside of forest lands to improve carbon sequestration, help local communities, and enhance the climate resilience of agriculture, which leads to supporting global climate change alleviation and adaptation objectives.

This new 25 million USD programme aims to bring together farmers, companies, and private institutions in India to rapidly expand tree coverage outside traditional forests by 28 lakh hectares. The initiative also seeks to improve the resilience of farming systems and increase their income through the implementation of agroforestry or integrating trees into farming systems. It will also use innovative financing mechanisms and optimise India’s private sector to promote tree-based organisations to help in developing sustainable markets and boost rural economies and livelihoods with the potential to benefit more than 13 million people. This programme will be carried out in seven states, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh, by a consortium led by World Agroforestry (ICRAF) and the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

While announcing the launch, Leena Nandan, the Secretary for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, stated that India and the US are strongly committed to working closely in various fields, including the forestry sector. India plays a significant role in forming and shaping affirmative responses to the challenges faced by the forest and environmental sector at the global level. Through strategic planning and focused implementation, India has successfully pursued rapid economic expansion while successfully preserving and developing its forest resources, and it will continue to do so.

While indicating US-India cooperation on climate change and forestry, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina stated that India, as one of the world’s largest economies and a global leader in science and innovation, plays a vital role in helping solve the climate crisis. The new initiative tackles the climate crisis by enhancing carbon sequestration and strengthening resilience in the face of climate threats. India’s accomplishments on these issues can offer models for the world.

In support of the US-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership, USAID engages in forestry activities in India that contribute to the Forestry Pillar of the Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue. USAID works with India to implement its ambitious emissions mitigation measures by shifting to renewable energy and adapting ongoing activities, like health and disaster risk reduction, to today’s climate issues, along with protecting India's forests and other critical ecosystems.