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Hyderabad: The Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Government of India and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), have on Thursday announced the launch of a new programme, “Trees Outside Forests in India.”

The programme will expand tree coverage outside of forest lands to enhance carbon sequestration, support local communities, and strengthen the climate resilience of agriculture, thereby supporting global climate change mitigation and adaptation goals, according to an official press release.

The new $25 million programme will bring together farmers, companies and private institutions in India to rapidly expand tree coverage outside of traditional forests by 28 lakh hectares. Through agroforestry, or integrating trees into farming systems, the programme will improve the resilience of farming systems while increasing the income of farmers. The programme will also use innovative financing models and leverage India’s private sector to promote tree-based enterprises, helping to create sustainable markets and improve rural economies and livelihoods, with the potential to benefit more than 13 million people, the release said.

Implemented by a consortium led by the Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) and World Agroforestry (ICRAF), the programme will be implemented in seven states including Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

Announcing the launch, the Secretary for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Leena Nandan, said, “India and the U.S. are firmly committed to working closely in many areas including the forestry sector. At the global level, India is playing a prominent role in forming and shaping affirmative responses to the challenges faced by the forest and environment sector. India has undertaken rapid economic growth while successfully conserving and enhancing its forest resources and would continue to do so through strategic planning and focused implementation.”

Highlighting the U.S.-India cooperation on climate change and forestry, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Patricia A. Lacina, said, “As one of the world’s largest economies and a global leader in science and innovation, India plays a critical role in helping solve the climate crisis. This new programme builds on the enduring U.S.-India partnership to tackle the climate crisis by enhancing carbon sequestration and bolstering resilience in the face of climate threats. India’s achievements on these issues can provide models for the world.”

USAID’s forestry activities in India support important priorities of the U.S. and Indian governments, contributing to the Forestry Pillar of the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue in support of the U.S.-India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership. This new programme builds on the enduring U.S.-India partnership to tackle the climate crisis and bolster resilience in the face of climate threats and extreme weather events, the release added.



Author: Howard Caldwell