Srinagar, October 4 (Scoop News) – The Minister for Forest, Environment and Ecology, Mian Altaf today informed the Legislative Council that the geographical area of the Jammu and Kashmir State is 1,01,387km sq while the forest cover in the State is 16,309 km sq.(excluding forest cover outside line of control)
He was replying to a question raised by Vijay Bakaya in the Legislative Council.
The Minister said that about 59% is under permanent snow cover, glaciers and cold desert (Ladakh region) where it is not possible to grow trees due to physical limitations. He said the increasing population and live stocks is putting tremendous pressure on natural resources including forests. Thus, the forests of the State have been bearing brunt over the decades, result in degradation of the forests to the extent of 50%.
Altaf said that the State Forest Policy, 2011 emphasized on conservation of forest resources for ecosystem goods and services, meeting needs of the people for forest produce, and poverty alleviation through forestry related activities. He said that the department has undertaken various projects for Aforestation programme on non-forest lands as well as degraded forest lands under various schemes to cover the gap like rehabilitation of degraded forest, eco-task force, Urban Forestry,stabilization of Slip areas, River valley project,CM’s participatory Aforestation scheme(pilot scheme),Forest Development Agencies (National Aforestation Progamme) and CAMPA.
The Minister said efforts are being made for rehabilitation of degraded forests. However the Minister said that the rehabilitation process can be expedited with enhanced financial support.
Reply to another question raised by the Naresh Kumar, the Forest Minister said that Village Forest Committees (VFCs) have been constituted in territorial Divisions of the State for efficient implementation of Aforestation programme which help in the protection and sustainable management of the forests.