Through the Plans
Environmental load increases with increasing population and rapid economic growth. Growth should be environmentally benign and sustainable. Monitoring and timely actions for mitigation of negative environmental impacts are important. Greater environmental awareness, appropriate policies and regulatory mechanisms are important means to ensure these considerations in development.
Forest cover of India is 67.71 million ha, which is 20.60% of its geographical area. Of this, 5.46 million ha (1.66%) is very dense forest, 33.26 million ha (10.12%) is moderately dense and the rest 28.99 million ha is open including 0.44 million ha of mangroves. The policy target is to have 33% forest and tree cover ultimately which will require additional coverage of 16 million ha.
Sanctuaries and National Parks showcase biodiversity and require specific measures for preservation. There are 96 National Parks and 509 Wildlife sanctuaries declared for the protection of wildlife habitats. The total area of 15.7 million ha, which is about 4.78% of the geographical area of the country covering about 20% of the total forests is maintained under the protected area network.
Global Climate Change due to rising levels of Green House Gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere is one of the most serious environmental concerns of our time. Since Global warming depends upon the total stock of GHG in the atmosphere, continued emissions beyond the earth’s absorptive capacity necessarily imply a rise in temperature. If emissions are stabilized at present level, a warming of about 0.2oC per decade is projected by Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many Regions in India are highly vulnerable to natural and other disasters on account of geological conditions. About 60% of the landmass is susceptible to earthquakes and over 8% is prone to floods. Of the nearly 7500 kilometers of coastline, approximately 5700 kilometers is prone to cyclones. About 68% area is susceptible to drought.
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 has been enacted for establishing requisite institutional mechanisms for drawing up and monitoring the implementation of disaster management plans, ensuring measures by various wings of the government for prevention and mitigating the effects of disasters, and for undertaking a holistic, coordinated and prompt response to any disaster situation.
The Environment and Forest Division is concerned with: