The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, would provide technical assistance to Telangana Forest Department for improving the management of Medak Forest Division, by way of a bilateral programme ‘Forest-PLUS 2.0: Forest for Water and Prosperity’.
Succeeding national launch in September, the programme was launched in Telangana on Wednesday.
Under the joint programme through Tetra Tech ARD, the implementation organisation, the USAID would build activities based on the tools, techniques, and practices developed through its successful predecessor programme, the Forest-PLUS: Partnership for Land Use Science, which was implemented from 2012 to 2017, a press statement said.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Forest and Environment A. Indrakaran Reddy said protection of forests and preservation of ecosystems are the top priority of the Telangana State. Deputy Mission Director of USAID-India Ramona El Hamzaoui said the programme would contribute to the achievement of goals of ‘Telanganaku Haritha Haaram’ for massive afforestation.
The technical sessions at the launch event focused on the importance of forest ecosystem services and the need for incorporating them in forest landscape planning, akin to the working plans prepared by the Telangana Forest Department and the landscape management plan by the Medak Forest Division.
The sessions also delved into the role of gender in forestry and the economic opportunities for the Forest Dependent communities to significantly enhance their well-being beyond subsistence level. Specifically, the Forest-PLUS 2.0 would pay more attention to address the barriers to women’s participation in forest management and access to more viable economic opportunities. The PCCF and Head of Forest Forces R. Shoba was present at the event.
Almost 30 crore people in India depend on forest resources for their livelihood. While the forest cover is stable, the unsustainable use of forest resources continues to degrade the forests, a document from the USAID said.