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Jharkhand to plant 2.5 crore saplings this monsoon season: PCCF

‘Many conservation activities have been planned this year in the state’

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RANCHI, July 2 (PTI): Jharkhand will plant 2.5 crore saplings this monsoon season besides other measures to enhance forest quality and also to restore ecosystems and bring about a qualitative change in soil, a top Forest official said on Sunday.

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Jharkhand boasts 23,721 square kilometre of forest cover which is 29.76 per cent of its total geographical area, higher than the 21.71 per cent of forest cover pan India.

“We will plant 2.5 crore saplings this monsoon season. We will be having plantation drives across the state including Van Mahotsav and awareness plans in order to enrich ecosystems and increase the forest cover in the state,” principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) and head of forest force (HoFF), Sanjay Srivastava told PTI.

In Ranchi city alone one lakh trees will be planted, he said.

“Apart from this we are also targeting river banks and this (plantation drive) will be taken up in more than 110 km of river bank area”, Srivastava said.

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The PCCF said it is heartening to see that there is a gradual increase in forest cover in the state and as per recent data, there has been an increase of about 110 square km of forest area in the state but the main concern is to maintain the quality of the forests.

“If I talk about the recent increase, there was an addition of about 110 square kilometres of forest area and that is a thing to rejoice upon. But it comes with a drawback that the quality of the forest has to be looked into very carefully because there is pressure on the forest by the local community as they are dependent on the forest for their livelihood and daily needs on a day to day basis and there is a huge problem of forest fire in the state,” the PCCF said.

The Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, an organisation under the ministry of environment, forest and climate change carries out the assessment of forest cover biennially, since 1987 and the findings are published in the India State of Forest Report (ISFR).

As per the latest ISFR 2021, the total forest cover of the country is 7,13,789 square kilometre which is 21.71 per cent of the geographical area of the country while that of Jharkhand stands at 29.76 per cent.

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The forest cover of the country has increased by 1,540 square kilometre between ISFR 2019 and ISFR 2021 assessment including 110 km in Jharkhand.

The PCCF said due to pressure on forests and incidences of fire, regeneration of the forest crops is getting compromised many a time in the state and that is why many conservation activities have been planned this year in the state.

“Efforts are on to conserve the moisture in the soil because moisture in the soil is the main factor which propagates the natural regeneration of the forest areas,” he said, adding that in addition constant efforts will be made to control the forest fire.

“We are in the advance stage of an integrated forest action plan in the state that will be financed by the Government of India,” Srivastava said.

Large-scale forest fire in Jharkhand pose a threat to flora and fauna in the state.

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