Forests need to be viewed as a habitat of the tribal communities and forest conservation must be considered a way to build local livelihood, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Sunita Narain said on Thursday.
She said forest conservation should be seen along with two contexts -- climate change and natural calamities."We have an issue of climate change. Trees are a very important part of finding an answer to climate change and forests play a very important role in reducing pollution," Narain said.
Speaking at a workshop on the topic of "The Fight Over a Right" organised by the CSE in Bhubaneswar, she further said the country is in "deep crisis" when it comes to natural calamities and disasters and that green areas in the cities need to be planned.
"If the government is bringing new laws, what compensation is it giving to the tribals? Somewhere we are going wrong in the policy and that is something we have to talk about. Forest is also a natural source of livelihood," she said.
Narain said forests should be used as a source to soak up fossil fuel emissions and build local livelihood. Earlier, Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav had said the new forest conservation rules "do not dilute or infringe on" the provisions of the Forest Rights Act, 2006, assuaging concerns that the new rules allow cutting of forests without the consent of forest-dwellers.
The environment ministry notified the Forest (Conservation) Rules, 2022 under the Forest (Conservation) Act (FCA) on June 28 to replace the earlier rules, notified in 2003. The FCA was enacted in 1980 to help conserve the country's forests. It strictly restricts and regulates the de-reservation of forests or use of forest land for non-forest purposes without the prior approval of the Centre. PTI ABU