Question :Examine the appositeness of Urban Forest Programme launched recently in changing the face of cities and helps in biodiversity conservation. Explain the different kinds of forestry in the vogue and its benefits?
Structure of the answer
- Recent introduction of Nagar Van or Urban Forest programme would make a better introduction.
- Discuss the significance of Urban forest programme will be the first part of the answer.
- Point out the different kinds of forestry at present existing in India and its benefits would make the final part along with latest efforts by government also included.
Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar launched the Nagar Van or Urban Forests with 200 corporations and cities across India.
An urban forest is a collection of trees that grow within a city, town or a suburb including any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements.
Appositeness of the programme
- Mitigate the effects of urban heat island through evapotranspiration and the shading of streets and buildings. This improves human comfort, reduces the risk of heat stroke and decreases costs to cool buildings.
- Improve air quality by absorbing pollutants such as ozone, nitrogen dioxide, ammonia, and particulate matter as well as performing carbon sequestration.
- Urban forest can be an important tool for flood management as trees absorb and store rainwater through the canopy, and slow down and filter runoff with their roots
- Actions for nature means a lower risk of future pandemics, achieving the sustainable development goal, slowing climate change, healthier lives, better economies, being able to cherish that breath of fresh air or walk in the woods protecting life itself.
Different types of forestry on the vogue
Urban forestry is the art and science of managing trees and forest resources in and around urban community ecosystems for availing physiological, sociological, economic and aesthetic benefits trees provide for society
- Microclimate and Urban Heat Island effect: Urban trees can help to improve the air quality by cooling and cleaning the air, reducing smog, ground-level ozone and greenhouse effect. They can mitigate the heat island effect by giving green lungs to cities.
- Carbon Sequestration: Urban forests can sequester huge amounts of carbon by capturing carbon dioxide from atmosphere.
- Biodiversity: Trees and forests present in urban areas can provide shelter and habitat to many important animals especially avifauna.
- Management of Urban Hydrological Cycle: Through water provisioning, regulating, recharging and filtering role, urban forests play key roles in supporting water management in and around urban settlements.
- Checks Haphazard Urbanization: Urban forests can check rapid and unplanned urbanization; development of slums by demarcating city limits and industrial spaces.
- Aesthetic Benefits: Urban trees enhance beauty and environmental quotient of city contribute to aesthetic quality of residential streets and community parks.
- Improves Mental Alertness And Reduce Stress: Green areas reduce stress and improve physical health for urban residents while providing spaces for people to interact.
- Education: Urban forests in the form of parks, botanical gardens, zoological gardens, avenue trees and other urban green spaces are centres of education on flora and fauna.
- Recreation: Green parks provide a break from the busy, tiring, often repetitive and tedious routine jobs and works for people and safe playgrounds for children
- Cultural Regeneration: Urban green spaces can enhance cultural activities by providing venues for local festivals, civic celebrations, political gatherings and theatrical performances.
It is forestry outside conventional forests, which primarily aims at providing continuous flow of goods and services for the needs of local people.
Benefits of social forestry
- Fuel, fodder, timber, supplementary food and income from surplus forest products and tree derived resources for rural people.
- Form villagers into a well-knit community and increased social cohesion.
- Reclamation of waste lands and degraded lands along with soil conservation and green cover.
- Protection of agricultural fields from winds and dust storms
- Check desertification.
Agroforestry is the management and integration of trees, crops and/or livestock on the same plot of land. It combines agriculture and forestry by planting viable tree shelter belts along agricultural lands.
Benefits of agroforestry
- Maintain soil organic matter and biological activity at levels satisfactory for soil fertility.
- Control runoff and soil erosion and maintains required soil moisture.
- Maintain more favourable soil physical properties than agriculture, through organic matter maintenance and the effects of tree roots.
- More closed nutrient cycling than agriculture and hence to more efficient use of nutrients.
- Nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs can substantially increase nitrogen inputs to agro forestry systems.
- Decomposition of tree and pruning can substantially contribute to maintenance of soil fertility.
- Helps in income diversification thereby reducing agricultural dependency of farmers.
The total forest cover In India has increased due to all these continuous efforts and these efforts had decisive say in this achievement.