Uttarakhand Governor Dr Krishan Kant Paul has called upon foresters to work towards bringing the degraded forests to life.

Addressing the valedictory session of International Symposium on Transforming Mountain Forestry held at Forest Research Institute, Dehradun, Dr Paul argued that degraded soils do not hold healthy forests and called upon the scientists and foresters to explore the causes of forest degeneration.

“The once highest rainfall area of Cherrapunji in Meghalaya is now bereft of forests and shrubs,’’ Paul pointed out. He said some of the traditional practices like the sacred forests in the tribal areas of the north-eastern India could offer traditional methods of sustaining forests.

The governor also highlighted the need to conduct research on finding hydrocarbon species that can address the fossil fuel crisis. “By drawing patents on new discoveries of products from the forests, the scientists can make the best use of knowledge”, he remarked. He also categorically held that the recommendations drawn by the symposium should influence policy.

Spread over 5 days in as many as 26 plenary and parallel sessions, the International Symposium on Transforming Mountain Forestry delved into a wide diversity of issues related to mountain forestry in the Hindukush Himalayas.

The need for linking science with policy and practice was stressed. Innovative ways to exchange knowledge for bridging information gaps was suggested to create horizontal and vertical links among stakeholders.

The symposium was unequivocal in voicing its concern on the growing human-wildlife conflicts. Ways to improve forest management by involving and engaging communities were put forth. Incentives to enhance stewardship of forests by communities by developing both fiscal and non-fiscal mechanisms for payment for ecosystem services were showcased through case studies. Recognising and mainstreaming traditional knowledge in planning and implementation could inspire local stewardship of forests.

A total of 250 participants drawn from 15 countries, including 8 countries of the HKH region attended the symposium, which was jointly organized by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, India; Forest Research Institute, India and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

Later talking to mediapersons, FRI Director Dr PP Bhojvaid said that the symposium was successful in convincing eight Himalayan countries to frequently hold interaction on mutual issues. He disclosed that key issues affecting the region were deliberated upon in 43 sessions of the five-day long symposium.

Source: The Tribune