Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to plant 1.3 crore trees this year.
A senior official of the forest department said they have planned multiple plantation drives for the year to increase the green cover in the union territory.
“The forest department on an average restores 100-200 square kilometers of the degraded forest area in a year. This year, we have planned to plant 1.3 crore trees in both divisions,” he said.
The afforestation programme, as per the officials, is a part of the Rs 372.22 crore Green India Mission, which is estimated to cover 32,420 hectares of land.
The official said the DFO will depute experts for taking care of planted saplings.
Official figures said a total of 2,250 square kilometers of the forest area has been degraded in the Union Territory to date.
Forest Survey of India report has revealed that Jammu and Kashmir’s forest area has increased to 21,387 sq km in 2021 from 21,358 in 2019.
The official said the forest department last year also succeeded to plant over one crore saplings in various districts of Jammu and Kashmir. “Multiple plantation drives have been held last year. We are on a mission to complete our target,” he said.
As per the official figures, the forest and tree cover in Jammu and Kashmir is about 55%, which is substantially higher than the national average of 24.56%.
Moreover, Jammu and Kashmir administration has created a first-of-its-kind Forest Protection Cell to prevent jungle fires and keep timber smugglers at bay.
The Cell will primarily oversee conservation activities through technological intervention.
“Protection of the forests from various damages, encroachments, fires, etc is becoming challenging and problematic in some vulnerable pockets. To strengthen the mechanism for providing regular directions, guidance and for monitoring of protection-related activities, a Forest Protection Cell (FPC) is created with immediate effect,” said a document available with The Kashmir Monitor.