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New forest policy provides for urban green spaces

The government has come out with draft National Forest Policy, 2018 and has put the same in public domain for public information and submission of specific comments. Unlike the National Forest Policy 1988 which aimed at  ensuring environmental stability and maintenance of ecological balance including atmospheric equilibrium which are vital for sustenance of all life forms, human, animals and plants, the latest policy provides for integration of  the vision of sustainable forest management by incorporating elements of ecosystem security , climate change mitigation and adaptation, forest hydrology, participatory forest management, urban forestry, etc.

Thus, the new forest policy talks about urban forestry as one of the objectives of the policy. “Managing and expanding green spaces in urban and peri-urban areas to enhance citizens wellbeing,” says the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018. Promotion of trees outside forests & urban greens will be taken up on a mission mode for attaining the national goal of bringing one third of the area under Forests & trees cover and also for achieving the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) targets of the country.

Urban greens like woodlands, wetlands, parks, wood in institutional areas, gardens, avenue plantations, block plantations etc bring many aesthetic, recreational, environmental and economic benefits to cities and their dwellers. “They need to be managed as urban forest ecosystems to enhance optimal urban forest cover and to nurture and sustain urban health, clean air and related benefits,” the draft Policy states. Management plans will be prepared and implemented in consonance with the development plan of cities.

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