Is Compensatory Afforestation compensatory enough?

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill was recently introduced in the Indian Parliament. It seeks to establish a permanent National Compensatory Afforestation Fund as well as State Compensatory Afforestation Funds. These will be managed by the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) and the State CAMPA.

Compensatory Afforestation is afforestation done in lieu of the diversion of forest land for non forest use under the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980. It is doubted that the CAF Bill will in its present form would add to the ecological security of India. Also it is feared that ill-planned development projects pose a threat of fragementation

Peer-reviewed scientific research has clearly established that fragmentation is one of the most serious threats to long-term biodiversity conservation, causing several devastating impacts; among other things, it disrupts landscape connectivity, affecting dispersal of animals, and creates new edges that expose forests to exploitation and severe degradation. Sadly, instead of addressing this critical issue, successive governments have been pursuing the flawed idea of trying to ‘compensate’ for forest loss and fragmentation by raising artificial plantations elsewhere.

It would be interesting to know what kind of projects and policies are there in other countries regarding compensatory afforestation, and the outcomes of the same. Please do share if you know of any!

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@krithikadinesh I came across this best practice in my country. http://www.carbonneutral.com/carbon-offsets/meru-nanyuki-community-reforestation I think giving incentives to the citizens to plant trees has also worked in Kenya and also through legislation where for every tree one cuts is required to plant two and also giving regulations on tree coverage in the country where Kenya targets to achieve at least 10% tree coverage. School projects promoting tree planting and environmental projects have also worked in Kenya. As much as afforestation is more reactive to the effects caused by industrialisation in the country, it’s the only available remedy to the environmental problems caused by deforestation but the approach matters. Am also eager to know other best practices in other countries.

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Thank you @mustafa_mahmoud for sharing the afforestation practices in Kenya! The Meru Nanyuki Community Reforestation program sounds very interesting. Would love to know more about the laws and its implementation in Kenya regarding afforestation.

Maybe @sonkitaconteh could share with us about the deforestation problem in Sierra Leone and how it is being tackled there.

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Euphemising forest diversion? talks of what gets lost in reforestation and how compensatory afforestation is not enough:

The diversion of forests along the Alaknanda basin in Uttarakhand for building hydro-electric power projects will impact the Himalayan Brown Bear. Similarly, a proposed dam on the Nyamjang Chhu river in Arunachal Pradesh will submerge the wintering habitat of the rare and endangered Black Necked Crane, while widening of the NH7 highway running along Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh will destroy the Pench corridor used by a vast population of tigers. Due to mining and railways expansion across forest areas, a steady increase has already been witnessed in the incidence of human conflict with elephants. These are just a few examples. Will monoculture plantations bring back what we are going to lose?

Recently, in states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the forest department has been carrying out the policy of ‘aggressively afforesting’ forest land. This translated into taking away lands under shifting cultivation from Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups and carrying out plantations without the consent of these communities.