The State Government is committed towards environmental protection and is giving special emphasis to increase the green cover of the state for which several schemes are being implemented through the Forest Department. The State Government has implemented the ‘Himachal Pradesh Forest Ecosystem Management and Livelihood Improvement Project’ to provide a livelihood to the people of the State, along with the increase of green cover, which has showed positive results.
Forest Department has spent Rs. 800 crore on this project aided by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The main objective of 10 years project is to improve the forest cover, biodiversity conservation and to improve the economy of rural people with the strengthening of institutional capacity. For the year 2020-21, Rs. 41.78 crore has been allocated for this project. A target of planting more than one crore saplings of different species on 12 thousand hectares of forest land for this financial year has been fixed. For completion of this project under JICA, one crore 35 lakh saplings would be nurtured in various nurseries across the State.
The project has been implemented in 16 forest circles of 18 forest divisions in six districts of the State, which are Kinnaur, Shimla, Bilaspur, Mandi, Kullu, and Lahaul-Spiti. As many as 81 Rural Forest Committees have been formed with the objective of ensuring the participation of local people in the project. Under this project, medicinal plants such as Pine nut (Chilgoza) of Kinnaur and Sea buckthorn of Spiti tribal areas will be promoted. For planting 35 thousand saplings of these species, an amount of about Rs. 10 lakh will be made available to the concerned Divisional Forest Officers.
Under this project, the plantation would be done to make the degraded forest areas dense, improvement of grazing land, soil and water conservation work, forest fire-prevention, weed destruction work, experimental project on biodiversity corridor, basic studies on biodiversity enumeration, community-based livelihood improvement activities, livelihood improvement activities based on medicinal plants will be started, for which Him Herbs Committee will also be constituted.
A micro plan has been prepared for each ward of the districts involved in the project and 40 micro schemes will be implemented this year. A target has been set to create 150 micro plans for the year 2020-21. Under these schemes, 10 youth would be provided with employment in each ward. Under this project, for implementation of micro schemes prepared by Rural Forest Committees, saplings would be planted in 759 hectares of land. About 16 Active Task Force has been constituted to tackle issues related to human-wildlife conflict. Surveys are being conducted with the help of satellites and drones for the census of the biodiversity in the state.
To improve the livelihood of the people of rural areas of the state, the ‘Him Herbs Committee’ would be constituted and linked with the Van Samridhi Jan Samridhi Yojana. The main objective of this would be to provide employment to the people as well as to conserve the forest wealth of the state. Along with tagging the geographical indicators (GI) of the medicinal plants of the State, special managers will be appointed for processing and marketing them. With the aim to increase people’s participation in the state, it is proposed to constitute 11 Him Herbs Cooperative Societies.