Forests are one of the most important resource of Uttarakhand and has a direct role in supporting rural livelihoods in the state. Not only do forests meet people’s day to day needs for fuel, fodder and timber but they also provide ecosystem services to people living downstream. Uttarakhand supports more than 64.7 percent of forest area and are home of a diverse floral and faunal species. Total forest area is about 34,651 km2 . The forest cover in the state, based on FSI, 2011 data is 24,496 km2 , which is 45.8 % of the state’s geographical area. In terms of forest density classes, the state has 4,762 km2 area under very dense forest, 14,167 km2 area under moderately dense forest and 5,567 km2 area under open forest. Reserve forests constitute 71.1 %, protected forests 28.5 %, and unclassified forests, 0.35 % of the total forest area (FSI, 2011).
Objectives of the Tree Plantation Project:
Short term objectives:
- Regeneration and eco‑development of degraded forests and adjoining areas of River Ganga / Ganga River basin.
- Securing people’s participation in planning and regeneration efforts to ensure sustainability and equitable distribution of forest products from the regenerated lands, and to promote the partnership concept in the management and administration of forests and common property resources.
- Promotion of agro-forestry and development of Common Property Resources.
- Conservation and improvement of non-timber forest produce such as bamboo, cane and medicinal plants.
- Development of water resources through plantation and water harvesting programme.
- Social forestry and bio-diversity promotion
- Rehabilitation of special problem lands like Himalayas
- Employment generation for the disadvantaged sections of society, particularly women, scheduled castes/scheduled tribes and landless rural labourers, inhabiting the forests and adjoining areas.
- Long‑term objectives:
- Protection, Conservation of natural resources through active involvement of the people.
- Checking land degradation, deforestation and loss of bio-diversity.
- Ecological restoration and environmental conservation and eco‑development,
- Fulfilment of the broader objectives of productivity, equity, and sustainability for the general good of the people.
- Improving quality of life and self-sustenance of people living in and around forest areas.
- Addressing climatic changes and sustainable development goals
Need Assessment / Local people’s observations of climate change are
- Increased warming in snowfall period, lower periods of snow on ground
- Decline in apple yield and upward shift of apple zone due to less snow fall
- Successful cultivation of cabbage/pea/tomato in higher elevations 39 Box 2.2. Crop yields and Climate Change Crop yields are heavily dependent on the weather – particularly in rain-fed conditions. The impacts of climate change on mountain agriculture based on farmers’ perceptions are documented below (Negi & Palni, 2010):
- Reduced availability of water for irrigation
- Extreme events and shift in the rainfall regime resulting in failure of crop germination and fruit set
- Increase in invasion of weeds into croplands
- Increased frequency of insect/pest attacks.
- Decline in crop yield
- Shortening of maturity periods of winter (rabi) crops
- Increased pest infestation
- Less rains during March-May – abandonment of millets like Panicum milliaceum and decline yield of Amaranthus
- Shift of monsoon upto October damage the mature crops which leads decline in yields
- Shift of winter season delaying the sowing period of winter crops and decline in most of the Rabi season crops