‘Despite limitations, Punjab has improved its forest cover’

By Times Of India on 06 Jun 2018 | read
Chandigarh: Punjab has 6.87% of its total geographical area under forest and tree cover. There has been a marginal increase as compared to 2003, when it was 6.3%. Punjab’s total geographical area is 50,362 square kilometers. This was stated by Punjab’s principal chief conservator of forests Jitendra Sharma.
Sharma said, “Despite large scale development activities like widening of roads and construction of canals for which hundreds of trees are cut, we are improving the forest and tree cover area in Punjab. Our area under forest and tree cover is more than the neighbouring state of Haryana.”

Sharma said Punjab was an agriculture-dependent state where most of the area was under cultivation so it had its own limitations.

The intensive agriculture states including Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh have less area under forest cover as compared to hilly state of Himachal Pradesh or north eastern states.

To incentivize farmers for planting more trees in their own fields for fixing carbon and diversification of land use from paddy-wheat vicious cycle, the state government has come out with various schemes. Experts say the best bet with the state government was to come up with remunerative models for farmers to grow trees on their land looking at the physical constraints of land use in Punjab.

This will help in generating income to farmers as well as control pollution. The state has to be pragmatic to increase the area under forest and tree cover as well as to walk on the path of growth by industrialization.

The Punjab government is also launching a campaign later this year to encourage farmers by distribution of high-value yielding plants like sandalwood.