Forests are crucial for the survival of life on earth. From controlling the environment, preserving biodiversity to generating economic benefits and renewable energy, the importance of forests is multifold. This is why deforestation for the purpose of development has caused more damage than ever to the world.
Campaigns across the world to stop deforestation have been popular and promoted by countries, non-profits and citizens enthusiastically. These campaigns have borne its fruit as per the Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) report, which said that the rate of forest loss has declined in the period of 1990-2020. The FRA report is released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It is based on the assessment of more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period of 1990–2020.
According to the report, the world has lost 178 million hectares (mha) of forest since 1990. However, there has been a substantial decrease in the rate of net forest loss during the period of 1990–2020. This is due to a reduction in deforestation in some countries, plus increases in the forest area in others through afforestation and the natural expansion of forests.
CSR projects for Afforestation
Considering the importance of forests and its role in global economy business enterprises are taking a keen interest in afforestation. In India, 9.7% of CSR funds was spent on environmental preservation activities in 2018 according to a report released by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
One of the leading companies to successfully implement a CSR project on afforestation is ITC. According to the 15th Sustainability Report 2018, ITC Limited has greened over 683,000 acres of land together under its farm and social forestry programmes in the last 18 years, generating 124 million man-days of employment.
JSPL not staying too far behind organises mass tree plantation programmes in consultation with the forest department. The company undertakes afforestation programmes covering vast tracts of land in and around its projects. Afforestation programme for project, township, green-belt and other sites are designed according to the geographical features. Species are selected on the basis of their adaptability and local species The company’s administration takes care of horticulture department at its project sites headed by experienced horticulture officers/supervisors. Saving existing trees, planting right at the beginning of the construction phase, preservation of trees and advice from state forest departments are a few general guidelines followed.