Afforestation accounts for the conversion of any barren, waste, arid, or semi-arid lands to a forest area, towards greenery. This is performed by planting trees and sowing seeds of the plants.
Afforestation helps in achieving greenery and biodiversity. The forest will provide habitat to many of the living organisms. The newly created forests will be helpful in the purification of the air by absorbing the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The process of afforestation is a beneficial one but should be carried on with proper knowledge and care. Many times numerous local species might undergo extinction due to biome modification.
Need for Afforestation
The forests are providing us with various services and needs. They are responsible for important activities like temperature and rainfall regulation, maintain the ecological balance, etc. But certain practices are making afforestation to be carried out extensively and are enlisted below:
Overpopulation: The continuous rise in population is becoming a threat. The rise in population and demands for meeting their needs is leading to the degradation of forests. A large-scale cutting down of trees and forest for making the land available for agriculture, construction, and settlement purpose. The biodiversity dwelling in the forests is becoming homeless and there are chances of extinction of many of the native species. Thus, the ill-effects of overpopulation can only be compensated by afforestation.
Industrialization and Urbanization: The changing lifestyle and standard of living have made the world to move towards industrialization. Therefore moving in the race of development, many constructions, project technologies are installed and build-up, again by using them destroying our natural resources such as the construction of roads, dams, buildings, power projects, mining. More and more people are coming to cities from rural areas in order to get benefitted from different facilities and opportunities. This in turn is increasing the load on the carrying capacity of the ecosystem.
Overgrazing : The regular grazing of the grasslands by the livestock leads to clearing up the grassland and turn into barren land. The speed by which grazing is continued is insufficient for the grasslands and soil to replenish itself. Thus overgrazing of the greener areas turns it into a bare one.
Methods to Promote Afforestation
- Public Participation and Awareness Programmes: Each and every individual of society should be self-responsible to plant more and more trees. The focus should not be only on the plantation but also on taking good care of the same. Making people aware of the importance of forest and its services. One of the best examples of public participation and awareness is the CHIPKO MOVEMENT, in 1973 which was based on the conservation of trees and forests.
- Rules must be implemented for the unwanted clearing up of the forest areas, those who would be unable to abide by the rules would be punished and charged a penalty.
- Regular planting of trees must be done.
- The accidents in the forest areas must be reduced or checked.
- The government should make plans and policies for carrying out afforestation and reforestation practices.
A Successful Effort of NTPC towards Afforestation
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is successfully involved in the afforestation program, moving forward one step towards conservation of the environment. The company has successfully planted 20 million trees in areas including the project and areas outside the projects. The main aim of the company is to reduce carbon credits and the forest plantation will help in sequestration measures.
Overall it is a great effort of this organization, towards environment protection by adopting one of the conservation measures i.e. Afforestation.
Afforestation is said to be a mitigating measure for the depletion of green cover and decreased fertility of the soil caused due to different inhuman activities taking place. As it is said Prevention is better than cure, in the same aspect we need to lay stress on the protection of our forests. The protection strategies and proper management will reduce the chances of application of any mitigation measures. But on a whole, afforestation is a better method to see the barren land turning to lush green along with rendering of important ecological and functional services.