To meet the deficiency of supply of wood in view of the growing demand, three important schemes were undertaken: (i) plantation of quick growing species; (ii) plantation of economic species like teak, sissoo and semal etc. (iii) plantations to be raised under the scheme of rehabilitation of degraded forests. There were various afforestation schemes under state plans and a total area of about 4.2 million hectares was brought under man made plantation between 1951 and 1988.
In 1985, the Central Government set up a National Wasteland Development Board (NWDB) with the aim of bringing 5 million hectares of wasteland per year under fuelwood and fodder plantation with people’s participation.
Under this scheme of afforestation, priority was given to ; (i) establishment of decentralised nurseries; (ii) block plantation on community land and land of SC/ST and people living below the poverty line; (iii) pasture development through people’s involvement; and (iv) assistance in implementing the Tree Pata Schemes. Often afforestation programmes are not quite successful because of the poor quality of seeds.
Therefore, for developing quality seeds a centrally sponsored scheme was introduced by the National Wastelands Development Board in 1988-89. In India, the fuel wood and fodder requirements of the rural population and the tribals cannot be met in an ad hoc manner. Therefore, to ensure an area-specific approach of fuel wood and fooder, a centrally sponsored scheme was initiated in 1988-89.
This scheme has covered the watersheds in the districts included under the National Watershed Development Programme of the Department of Agriculture. The scheme of decentralised people’s nurseries was initiated in 1986-87 for encouraging seeding production by farmers to cater to local needs of planting material. The Eighth Plan identified some deficiencies of the various afforestation schemes.
According to plan document, the afforestation schemes have no specific plan of action for meeting fuel wood and fodder requirement except for the continuance of the scheme for rural fuel wood plantation, which does not directly address these issues. Fostering of people’s movement for afforestation has been done largely through increasing people’s interest in farm forestry.
Under the social forestry programme, the efforts have been departmental. The rural poor and tribals who depend mostly on public and forest lands for their living have at best been given restricted access to the areas taken up for development.
Under the “Van Mahotsava” movement, thousands of trees have been planted along roads railway lines and hill slopes.
The restoration of forests that had been indiscriminately destroyed is called re-afforestation. Under this scheme, two sapling are planted to replace every felled tree.
India is signatory to the following important international treaties/agreements in the field of environment:
(a) International Convention for the regulation of Whaling.
(b) International Plant Protection Convention.
(c) The Antarctic Treaty.
(d) Convention on Wetlands of International importance especially as water flow habitat.
(e) International Convention on International trade in endangered species of wild flora and fauna.
(f) Protocol of 1978 relating to the international convention for the prevention of pollution from ships, 1973.
(g) Vienna Convention for the protection of the ozone layer.
(h) Convention on Migratory Species.
(i) Basel Convention on trans-boundary movement of hazardous substances.
(j) Framework Convention on climate change.
(k) Convention on conservation of bio-diversity.
(l) Montreal Protocol on the substances that deplete the ozone layer.
(m) International Convention for Combating Desertification.