Forests provide multiple benefits including timber and non-timber produce such as fibre, fodder, fuelwood, fruits, medicines, honey and essential oils. Also, forests have their intrinsic value, supporting numerous other organisms. They act as natural regulator of climate and are carbon sinks.
India has enormous diversity and hosts 16 types of forests that are storehouses of rich biodiversity.
More than 20% of the country’s population is directly dependent on forests for part of their livelihood. Forests are revered and trees worshipped. Forest and tree cover in India stands at 24.01 per cent of the country’s geographical area and is on the ascendance. The forests of India are a critical resource for rural and local people throughout the country, provisioning food, fuel, and fodder. They have a role in stabilising soil and water resources. Forests neutralise approximately 12 percent of India’s GHG emissions.
Planting of trees is seen as Punya or a ‘karmically’ rewarding activity forming the basis of plantation drives or Van Mahotsav annually.
Visiting a protected area make people aware about the importance of conservation of Wildlife and biodiversity. People should be encouraged to visit protected areas during their vacations and educate the younger ones about the importance of biodiversity. But we need to visit these areas as responsible callers. Such tourism, called ecotourism, has low impact, educational, and conserves the environment while directly contributing to the economic development of local communities.
- Use natural and biodegradable products like natural fibre from coconut, biodegradable leaf plates and coir beds.
- Buy used furniture to reduce wood consumption.
- Use sustainable alternatives to wood. Use bamboo-based products.
- Support institutions and establishments such as restaurants and shops which are using forests and biodiversity conservation practices.
- Undertake monitoring and control of invasive species in and around your home, and planting of local plant species to prevent the spread of invasive species.
- Don't release aquarium fish, other exotic animals or ornamental plants into the wild.
- Celebrate festivals linked to biodiversity conservation such as Magh Bihu and Chhadakhai.
- Bring home air purifying plants such as Money Plant (Epipremnum aureumto) and Bamboo Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) to reduce indoor air pollution.
- Planting of trees and shrubs in garden, balcony, roof top or a terrace garden provide shelter to birds and helps in conserving urban biodiversity.
- Place a fresh water bowl or bathtub for the birds.
- Install bird feeders or place a bowl with different varieties of food such as cereals, pulses, raw vegetables, flowers and grains at suitable locations.
- Install birdhouses and nest boxes.
- Grow fruits, vegetables and flowers in the space available around bungalows, galleries of flats, open ter races and windows wherever the sun light reaches the plants.
- Identify barren neighbourhoods in your community and support targeted greening in these areas.
- Support development of a n urban greening plan in your community.
- Support retrofitting with green infrastructures, such as bioswales and permeable pavements, during street construction and repair.
- Incorporate green space into the street design, particularly in tandem with the development of "Complete Streets" that promote walking and biking.
- Establish community nursery to collect local seeds and plants and provide stock to green space rehabilitation programs.
- Introduce a system of rewarding community members who actively participate in identified programs.
- Enhance the social aspect of conservation activities that involve green spaces and biodiversity by encouraging field days, picnics and outings for interested parties.
- Support efforts to fund and build community and school g ardens, parks, and initiate community gardens.
- Develop and implement a communication strategy for green spaces, trees, and biodiversity.
- Raise awareness about the value of forest and biodiversity among kids, youth and professionals through celebrating fore stry/wildlife week, Van Mahotsav , etc.
- Open institutional green spaces for public use.
- Set up volunteer programs for the conservation, information, and dissemination of green spaces and biodiversity.
- Organize 'idea contests' related to green spaces and biodiversity open to various groups.
- Corporate organizations should own up responsibilities of urban parks, plantations along streets as part of corporate social responsibility and brand development.
- Strengthen cooperation with the network of institutions and work hand in hand with the authorities involved.
- Organize eco-trails or trips to eco-tourism spots.
- Use summer holidays as an opportunity to engage students in forestry and biodiversity-related activities.
- Visit wilderness areas to exp lore and study biodiversity.
- Do not carry plastic bags and materials like plastic plates and glasses to the natural sites.
- Bring back all waste from the forest areas to be disposed of in appropriate bins outside the forest areas.
- Do not make noise as you drive through permitted forest areas.
- Strictly go by the guidelines and the advice of the escort during visits.
- At corporate level, initiatives could be taken up to generate funds for green spaces and parks.
- Prepare educational material to highlight various local plant species for the region, or specific areas, to be used as a catalyst for awareness raising and behavioural change.
- Inform wildlife authorities, if you notice any illegal activity concerning wildlife.
- Increase your awareness about wildlife laws and learn ways to conserve wildlife.
- Encourage your school and office to have talks, debates, skits, painting competition etc.
- Become a Wildlife Crime Control Bureau volunteer and help in the fight against illegal wildlife trade.
- Treat all animals with kindness as they also have feelings.
- Spread awareness about wild animal and their stress under captivity.
- Do let our transport systems such as railways, airlines, buses and the private vehicles become messengers of wildlife.
- Don’t buy trophies of bones, skulls, teeth, skins, feathers etc. of wild animals.
- Don’t keep wild animal such as turtles/tortoises and parakeets as pets.
- Don’t throw plastic in the wild and destroy ecology.
- Develop herbal gardens for common medicinal plants.
- Develop a 'Food Forest' by growing different fruits and vegetables at different heights in limited space.
- Develop a seed bank to conserve indigenous varieties for ensuring food security.
- Plant a tree on every birthday and water it for at least five years.
- Develop a rooftop garden for greening your neighbourhood.
- Spend at least an hour a day in a garden or a natural place.
- Gift a sapling on special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries.
- Save an animal, help in the rescue of animals.
- Don’t feed and tease animals in Zoos, National parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries etc.
- Respect and obey rules and regulations about environment, biodiversity, and wildlife.
- Don’t buy products made of skins of endangered animals (shoes, belts, purse, handbags, shawls etc.)
Source : Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change