Odisha forest area has increased by 274 sqkm

Bhubaneswar: The investment under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) has yielded good result in the State with an increase of forest area by 274 sqkm during last two years as per India State of Forest Report (ISFR), a biennial publication of Forest Survey of India.

This was known in a State-level Steering Committee Authority of CAMPA held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy here on Tuesday wherein Additional Chief Secretary Dr Mona Sharma outlined the issues for discussion.

CAMPA Chief Executive Officer Uma Nanduri said, “As per ISFR- 2019, the forest area in Odisha has increased by 274 sqkm within the year 2017 to 2019. Besides, the tree cover area has also increased by 655 sqkm. Odisha has been projected as a lead State in different parameters of forest management and has been placed at 6th position at the national level.”

“This has been possible because of different initiatives and projects taken under CAMPA,” said PCCF Sandeep Tripathy.

Chief Secretary Tripathy directed officials to focus on effective implementation of wildlife management plan and growth of biodiversity. He also directed the Forest & Environment Department to enhance mangrove forest coverage in Bhitarkanika.

The committee approved the Annual Action Plan of 2020-21 with a total outlay of Rs 803.65 crore. The major activities include block plantation, assisted natural regeneration, bald hill plantation, maintenance of previous year’s plantation, fodder and fruit-bearing plantation, bamboo culture, wildlife management, etc.

A target was set to undertake plantation in 1500 hectares of land at the rate of 1,600 plants per hectare during 2020-21. The issue of protection from forest fire also figured in the meeting. An amount of Rs 41.13 crore was approved for maintenance of fire protection line, operation of 216 fire protection squads and support to VSS for fire protection works.

Nanduri said, “As of now, a total forest area of 55,534.40 hectares has been diverted for different purposes in Odisha. Against this, 72,606.57 hectares have been stipulated for compensatory afforestation. Till September, 2019 afforestation was done in 64,135.27 hectares. The APO 2020-21 has planned for plantation in 4,355.35 hectares. The balance area of 4000 hectares will be planted in APO 21-22.”

PCCF Tripathy said, “DGPS survey of the entire forestland of 60,991 sqkm has been undertaken applying RS and GIS techniques. This has proved to be very useful in monitoring of forest area, wildlife and maintenance of different assets. The method has been accepted as a best practice at the national level and the Government of India has advised other States to emulate the model.”