Biodiversity plan to focus on conservation for 10 years with available resources
The Haryana State Biodiversity Board has started preparations for a biodiversity strategy and action plan to focus on preserving the biodiversity of the state for the next 10 years with available resources.
This plan will provide guidance on reducing negative impacts on biodiversity and focus on biodiversity restoration and maintenance with landscape-based interventions, officials said on Monday. The board has set a target of March 2022 for developing the plan.
The plan is being developed with the help of the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), which has been involved in biodiversity conservation by implementing biodiversity-related policies and programmes for the Central government. After dividing the state into four divisions, experts from WII will be studying aspects like plant species, wildlife and crops found in different parts of the state and analyse the pressures on biodiversity.
The board conducted a workshop concerning this project in July, after which a regional workshop was conducted by experts from WII in Ambala last week. Similar workshops will be conducted in Gurugram, Rohtak and Hisar this month.
“To develop a strategy and action plan, we are first taking stock of the flora and fauna, current status and trends in biodiversity in the state. Further, existing threats or pressures to biodiversity and ecosystems are being identified. These inputs will be used to formulate a guideline for not just forest and wildlife departments, but all departments, such as fisheries, agriculture, land revenue, with the aim of maintaining the current biodiversity even 10 years from now, with available resources,” Vineet Kumar Garg, the chairman of Haryana State Biodiversity Board, said.
The authority is also coordinating with individuals and non-governmental organisations that have been working for the protection of biodiversity in the state.
According to the targets of the National Biodiversity Action Plan (NBAP), an effective, participatory and updated biodiversity action plan must be made operational at different levels of governance. In this context, various states and union territories are required to prepare their own state biodiversity action plans in alignment with the NBAP.
MD Sinha, the principal secretary of the state tourism department, who earlier served as the conservator of forests for Gurugram, said that the importance of conservation of habitat was discussed in the workshop held in July.
“In an agriculture-dominated state like Haryana, forest cover has decreased drastically due to intensive agricultural practices and ever-increasing human population and urbanisation. For six districts of south Haryana, essentially, it is only the Aravallis which constitute actual forest cover. If we take that out, only 0.5% of the geographical area of these districts will remain as block forests,” said Sinha.
He said urban landscape management, focussing on urban biodiversity, is the need of the hour for Indian cities and this must be kept in mind while preparing the state biodiversity and strategic action plan.