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Much to be done to reach forest cover target: President

Dehradun: Noting that India’s forest policy calls for maintaining a third of the country’s total land as forest cover, President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday said a lot was to be done towards this goal.

“India has an area of 79.4 million hectares designated as forests. This is about 19.32 percent of the country. The forest policy of the year 1952 calls for maintaining one third of the total land of the country as forest cover. This clearly indicates a gap of about 15 percent, which has to be bridged,” he said in his address at the annual convocation of the Indira Gandhi National Forest Academy here.

The President said the Indian Forest Service does not only have the responsibility of serving the sector of forestry in the country, but a much larger onus of arresting climate change apart from preservation of bio-diversity, enhancement of forest cover and encouraging forest-based livelihood.

“Forest management is an important aspect in Indian cultural and ethos,” he said, expressing happiness that the Forest Service was working hard to improve the forest cover in the country.

“It is indeed a matter of satisfaction that, aided by technology like e-surveillance and GIS application along with the hard work being put in by the officers of the Indian Forest Service, the forest cover in the country has increased from 64.2 million hectares in 1987 to 79.4 million hectares, as per recent reports. While this is a tremendous achievement in itself, but yet there are many more miles to be covered,” he said.

–IANS