News Excerpt
On World Environment Day, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced implementation of the Nagar Van Udyan Scheme to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years with the active people participation.

•    Urban Forestry: Urban forestry is an integrated concept, defined as the art, science, and technology of managing trees and forest resources in and around community ecosystems for the psychological, sociological, aesthetic economic, and environmental benefits.
•    CAMPA: According to the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) Act, 2016, a company diverting forest land must provide alternative land to take up compensatory afforestation and pay to plant new trees in this alternative land provided to the state. The loss of forest ecosystem must also be compensated for by paying its net present value (NPV).

Key highlights of the Scheme
    To revive the age-old tradition of village forest in cities, Government has launched the scheme to develop green cover in urban pockets by way of tree plantation.
    It is a collaborative approach that includes multiple stakeholders’ like-NGO, People participation, Industries participation etc.
    It will be a public private partnership (PPP) initiative where fencing will be done by the government but planting, public convenience infrastructure, walkways can be done by private companies as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Benefits of Green Cover in Urban Regions-
    Carbon Sequestering: Urban regions are economic hubs and generate pollutant and Green House Gases (GHG) as well. Urban forest will likely facilitate long-term storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon tomitigate global warming and minimize the adversities of climate change. It has been proposed to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases, which are released by burning fossil fuels.
    Combat Climate Change: Urban trees facilitate more rapid absorption, reduced runoff, and capture of water in the soil, thus conserve water and improving the microclimate of the area. India has vowed to create an additional carbon sink (a natural or artificially created environment that absorbs CO from the atmosphere) of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes of CO equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030 and urban forestry will have an important contribution towards achieving it.
    Ecological Benefits: Urban Forestry has innumerable benefits ranging from economic to ecological. Its ecological benefits include reduction in temperature rise in urban areas, reduction in CO emissions through photosynthesis, removal of other air pollutants, prevention of soil erosion, recharge of groundwater, and stabilization of soil. They act as home to many animals and birds and hence help in conservation of biodiversity. Several studies have evaluated the potential of urban forests to mitigate air pollution, purify water, and provide landscape amenities as well as recreational opportunities.
    People can benefit from green-space accessibility in terms of reduced mortality and improved general health. Furthermore, urban trees can yield out various economic benefits through tangible economic items like Firewood, timber, fruits, medicinal products, etc.

Key Concern
There is no policy led clarity on urban trees like-which areas will be earmarked for the development of urban forests. Forests within cities are not empty spaces; they are used for multiple purposes by people. For instance- Aarey forest in Mumbai. As per scheme trees are to be planted in vacant spaces. However, the terms need to be clarified. This runs the risk of enclosing open spaces where rights of admission may be reserved.
The uncontrolled urbanization resulted in deterioration of natural resources and environment. Rising population has adversely affected the green cover. Due to this, a gap between inhabitants and nature is increasing. Such initiatives will bridge the gap and connect the human with nature.

Social Forestry, NAPCC,
Vertical farming, INDC