The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has developed a programme for enhancing various aspects of environment and forestry in India. This was one of the collaborative programmes of mutual interest on forests, climate change and biodiversity discussed during a visit by a delegation comprising representatives of USAID, New Delhi and United States Forest Service (USFS) to the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).
The US delegation was led by Dr Dale Boseworth from USFS, other delegation members included Minister Counselor for Agriculture Affairs at US Embassy New Delhi, Allan Mustard, Sasha Gottlieb and Valdis Mezainis from USFS and Varghese Paul from USAID.
Welcoming the US delegation, ICFRE director general Dr VK Bahuguna said that although 95 per cent forests in India are government owned there is heavy dependence of people on forests. “About 300 million people in India depend on forests for their livelihood while more than 170,000 villages are situated in fringes of forests which cover around 32 million hectares of forest land out of which 16 million hectares comprises protected areas like national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. The thrust areas of the council’s research include models for sustaining livelihood, helping farmers with superior clones, genetics and tree improvement, biodiversity conservation and climate change,” said Bahuguna.
He further informed the US delegation that ICFRE had developed an All India Coordinated Programme on Climate Change which is directly connecting with the masses.
Varghese Paul from USAID informed that USAID Programme has developed a Forest Plus programme for India with the main thrust being on strengthening India’s capacity for reducing emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) plus and in the areas of silviculture management and carbon sequestration, multiple value of forest ecosystems, strengthening forest carbon ecosystem and involvement of communities in these programmes.
The American delegation interacted with Indian officials including Forest Research Institute director Dr PP Bhojvaid, DDGs (Administration) Dr SP Singh, (Research) Sandeep Tripathi and (Extension) Saibal Dasgupta, director (International Cooperation) Dr NS Bisht and Climate Change and Forest Influences head MP Singh among others