A reforestation drive has recently been launched by the forest department in Durg, Chhattisgarh, on the outskirts of the Nandini mines of the Bhilai Steel Plant.
The development has come as a propitious move to mitigate the impacts of climate change.
What is reforestation? |
How it helps to mitigate the effects of climate change?
Reforestation refers to the natural process of re-planting trees or recreating existing forests and woodlands that have been depleted, often as a result of deforestation.
As per experts, the process of reforestation is one of the key ways to mitigate the impacts of climate change, also capable of reversing it partially.
An IPCC report published in 2020 lists reforestation, along with improved management of agricultural lands as a major natural climate solution opportunity in India.
About the reforestation drive:
The large-scale reforestation program launched by the Durg forest division of Chhattisgarh aims to cover 2,500 acres of land, on the outskirts of the limestone mining area.
The forest cover of the Durg division is over 248.59 hectares which comprise only 0.04 percent of the total geographical area of 509,317 hectares.
The Durg division including the geographical areas of Durg & Bemetara districts has a low forest cover owing to it being an industrial area, located about 40 km. from the Raipur city.
About the site:
The Nandini Limestone Mines of Bhilai Steel Plant, in Dhamdha tehsil of Durg district was opened in 1958 and a mining lease was granted in 2005.
The Bhilai Steel Plant has proposed an environmental clearance for expansion of the mining lease area from 526.34 hectares in 2018 to 549.03 hectares up to 2028. The site is near the villages of Ahiwara, Pithora, Deorjhal, Nandini-Khundini, and Kashadihi.
One of the key attractions of the massive reforestation being launched in Durg is the participation of residents from nearby villages.
Residents from five to six nearby villages have been roped in for the ambitious reforestation project.
Further, as part of the plantation drive, lantana bushes, an invasive plant species, are being removed by the local community.
Given the monumental size of the area in question, the reforestation process has been divided into four parts. Of the total funding of over Rs. three crores, two parts are being funded by the District Mineral Foundation and the rest by the forest department.
Recreation of Biodiversity:
Prior to the launch of the plantation drive, a baseline survey was being conducted to assess the status of the local flora and fauna (biodiversity).
Further, another round of surveys will be conducted to find out what kinds of birds and animals have been attracted to the area because of the effort.
Thus, the survey team is creating pathways between two points and has been visiting the areas in regular intervals to record the status of birds and mammals.
Progress of the reforestation drive:
The department has prepared 885 acres for plantation work of a total of 2,500 acres. The rest of the area will be used for developing grasslands. A total of 80,000 saplings from nurseries will be planted this time. Apart from sal and mahua, species like arjuna, Jamun or black plum, peepal, amla or Indian gooseberry, and banyan will be planted.
So far, work on pit digging has started and the plantation of saplings will take place by the end of July. Indigenous species like mahua will be introduced and sal will be planted on an experimental basis as the species is not naturally found in Durg.