Hyderabad: Succeeding the national launch on September 25, 2019, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) of India launched the bilateral program “Forest-PLUS 2.0: Forest for Water and Prosperity” at an event in Hyderabad, Telangana.
Under the joint program, the USAID will provide technical assistance to Telangana Forest Department to improve the management of Medak Forest Division.
Through Tetra Tech ARD, the program implementation organization, the USAID will build activities based on the tools, techniques, and practices developed through its successful predecessor program, the Forest-PLUS: Partnership for Land Use Science, which was implemented from 2012 to 2017.
Speaking on the occasion, USAID/India Deputy Mission Director, Ms. Ramona El Hamzaoui remarked that the Forest-PLUS 2.0 will contribute to achieving the goals of “Telangana ku Harita Haram” (“Green Garland for Telangana” in English), a program of massive afforestation, rejuvenation of degraded forests, and soil and moisture conservation launched by the Telangana State Government.
Highlighting the importance of program, A. Indrakaran Reddy, Minister for Forest & Environment, Science & Technology, Endowments and Laws, Government of Telangana said, “The protection of forest and preservation of ecosystem services are the top priority of the Telangana State. Telangana Haritha Haram is one of the best programs in India to increase the Green Cover from 24 percent to 33 percent. Forest-PLUS 2.O will contribute technical support for the management of the forest and landscape in the Telangana state.”
The technical sessions in the launch event focused on the importance of forest ecosystem services and the need for incorporating them in forest landscape planning by local forest department, such as the Working Plans prepared by the Telangana Forest Department and the landscape management plan by the Medak Forest Division.
The sessions also delved into the role of gender in forestry and the economic opportunities for the forest dependent communities to significantly enhance their well-being beyond subsistence level. Specifically, Forest-PLUS 2.0 will pay more attention to address the barriers to women’s participation in forest management and access to more viable economic opportunities.
PccF R. shobha said, The Forest Department is committed to environmental protection measures and the objectives set by the State Government and the commitment of Forest Officers, Staff will continue to see the success of Forest Plus 2.0. she added that Adl. Pccf lokesh Jaiswal works as a nodal officer for the programme.
Almost 300 million people in India depend on forest resources for their livelihoods. While the forest cover is stable, the unsustainable use of forest resources continues to degrade the forests.