Roadmap for achieving additional 2.5-3 billion tons CO2e sequestration from forestry sector by 2030
Forests are considered primarily as social and environmental resource, and secondarily as commercial resource in India. More than 350 million people derive their full or partial livelihood and sustenance need from forests. India has stabilized its forest and tree cover but quality of forests is degrading due to unsustainable harvest of fuel wood and other minor forest produce. Government of India has voluntarily communicated to UNFCCC to achieve additional 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2e by 2030 from forestry sector on 2nd October, 2015 which was further ratified on 2nd October, 2016. However, India’s mandate of high economic growth with schemes such as Make in India, Housing for All, Electricity for All for a population of 1.5 billion by 2030, will impact the quality of forests.
India has potential to sequester 3 billion tons of CO2e by adopting conservation approach with conversion of open forests into moderately dense forests and afforestation largely through agroforestry. The financial resource of around INR 60000 crores per annum is estimated along with institutional and policy reforms such as capacity building of frontline staff and forest dependent community, involvement of private entrepreneur for improving the quality of forests, filling the vacancies of frontline staff, community based forest governance, investment on research and development, creation of national market for carbon trading and carbon neutrality for corporate/ industrial sector to achieve the target of sequestering additional 2.5-3 billion tons of CO2e by 2030. While there is political commitment to take this target at global level, same kind of commitment must be shown to achieve it.