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India’s forest cover increased consistently over last 15 years: Environment Ministry at UN forum

India’s forest cover saw a consistent increase over the last 15 years, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) said at the recently concluded United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) in the US.

An Indian delegation, led by Jitendra Kumar, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary, MoEFCC, participated in the 19th Session of the UNFF, held at the UN Headquarters in New York from May 6 to May 10.

The delegation apprised the UNFF that the consistent increase in forest cover was due to the “country’s significant advancements in forest conservation and sustainable forest management,” MoEFCC said on Sunday.

“Globally, India ranks third in the net gain, in average annual forest area, between 2010 and 2020,” it added.

The Ministry further noted that “biodiversity and wildlife conservation” is of high priority for India. It can be seen in the “expanded network of protected areas to over a thousand wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, tiger reserves, biosphere reserves, and other wildlife habitats.”

Recently, the country also marked 50 years of Project Tiger and 30 years of Project Elephant, underscoring its commitment to species conservation and habitat protection.

The delegation also highlighted the creation of the International Big Cat Alliance, along with the introduction of the ‘Green Credit Programme,’ to incentivise entities to take up tree plantation and restoration of degraded forest lands.

The UNFF 19 also witnessed a declaration by participating countries to take urgent and accelerated actions to halt deforestation and forest degradation and to prevent land degradation.

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