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Centre’s Tweak in Green Credit Programme Norms

Published: 19th Apr, 2024


The Union Environment Ministry has introduced amendments to the Green Credit Programme (GCP) to emphasize the restoration of ecosystems over mere tree planting, addressing concerns of potential misalignment with conservation objectives.

Key Highlights of the Programme
  • Focus on Ecosystem Restoration: The revised norms prioritize the restoration of degraded forest lands rather than solely emphasizing tree planting for financial incentives, aligning with broader ecological conservation goals.
  • State Participation: Thirteen states have already identified 387 parcels of degraded forest land spanning approximately 10,983 hectares for restoration efforts, indicating active state involvement in the programme.
  • Role of Individuals and Organizations: Individuals and companies can contribute to ecosystem restoration by financing the restoration process through the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE).
  • Credit Mechanism: The programme introduces the concept of 'green credits,' wherein each planted tree evaluated by the ICFRE after two years can translate into one green credit. These credits can be utilized for compliance with forest laws or corporate social responsibility obligations.
1: Dimension - Emphasis on Ecosystem Restoration
  • Clarification on Objectives: The amendments underscore the importance of restoring degraded ecosystems, acknowledging the complexity and significance of ecosystem health beyond mere afforestation.
  • State-led Initiatives: State forest departments are entrusted with the task of actual afforestation activities, ensuring localized management and expertise in ecosystem restoration.
2: Dimension - Integration with Corporate Responsibility
  • Utilization of Green Credits: The programme offers a dual benefit by allowing organizations to fulfill legal obligations, such as compensatory afforestation, while also integrating environmental stewardship into corporate governance practices.
  • Alignment with CSR Mandates: Green credits provide organizations with a mechanism to meet corporate social responsibility requirements, fostering sustainable development practices.
3: Dimension - Adaptive Guidelines for Restoration
  • Flexible Criteria: The Ministry's decision to remove the fixed requirement of 1,100 trees per hectare for reforestation reflects an adaptive approach, allowing states to tailor restoration efforts according to local ecological conditions.
  • Ecosystem Diversity Considerations: Recognizing the diverse nature of degraded forests, the guidelines permit the restoration of ecosystems using a variety of vegetation types, including shrubs, herbs, and grasses, based on ecological suitability.

Mains Practice Question

Q. Discuss the significance of prioritizing ecosystem restoration over mere afforestation.

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