Gurvinder Kaur and Manisha Sharma
Ecosystem services, Forests, Green Economy, Wood fuel, Biodiesel and Bamboo
|PUBLISHED DATE||March 14, 2016|
|PUBLISHER||The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/ publications|
Protection of environment has been the cornerstone of Indian ethos and culture. Forests play an important role in environmental stability and provide a variety of benefits to the economy. The current environmental crisis presents unique opportunities for moving towards greener future by giving a major thrust to the forest sector that will generate employment, create real and durable assets and help rebuild rural India . The objective of this paper is to assessing the contribution of forest sector in building green economy . The paper is divided into two sections, first section reflects the role of forest sector in building green economy and in second section explains suggestions and policy implications. Use of bio energy will contribute to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and will be helpful in conserving bio diversity as well as will reduce India’s dependence on importing oil. Producing biodiesel from tree-borne oilseeds is seen by many as a win-win opportunity to solve India’s most pressing problems. Biomass is a versatile renewable resource and wood fuels contribute 56 percent of total biomass energy in India. The time seems to be right to give forestry a prime place in India’s pursuit of more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development. Green economy can be built by joint effort of government and people of country. The transition to a green economy will entail moving away from the system that allowed, and at times generated, these crises to a system that proactively addresses and prevents them.
The United Nations Environment Programme defines a green economy as one that is low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive, which would result in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities . In a green economy, growth and employment are driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency and minimize the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The strategic objective in the transition to a green economy is therefore, to facilitate economic growth and investment while at the same time taking measures to enhance environmental quality and social inclusiveness leading to sustainable development. Green economy has the potential to be a major driver of far-reaching and innovative policy reforms and changes in business-as-usual economic interests. It provides new economic incentives for investments thus creating a new generation of greener employment opportunities thus helping to reduce poverty in a range of important sectors, viz. agriculture, forestry, fisheries, fresh water and energy.
The forest sector displays many of the characteristics of a green economy. These characteristics are
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) report presented to the United Nations in 2005 assessed the consequences of ecosystem change on human well-being. This report also examined the scientific basis for action needed to enhance the conservation and sustainable use of those ecosystems and their contribution to human wellbeing can be seen in figure 1.
One of the major findings of the MA is that human actions are depleting Earth’s natural capital, putting such strain on the environment that the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted. The Rio +20 Outcome Document also recognises that forest ecosystems make important contributions to sustainable development through the provision of goods and services which are environmentally sound, enhance food security and the livelihoods of the poor, and invigorate production and sustained economic growth. The Outcome Document also reaffirms the necessity to promote, enhance and support more sustainable forestry that eradicates hunger and is economically viable, while conserving biodiversity and water resources and enhancing resilience to climate change and natural disasters . Furthermore, the Outcome Document acknowledges that:
/p>“…the wide range of products and services that forests provide creates opportunities to address many of the most pressing sustainable development challenges. We call for enhanced efforts to achieve the sustainable management of forests, reforestation, restoration and afforestation, and we support all efforts that effectively slow, halt and reverse deforestation and forest degradation, including promoting trade in legally harvested forest products. We note the importance of such on-going initiatives as reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon Stocks in developing countries” . Objectives of the study The study will focus on following main objectives:
|ISSN||Print : 2349-7564, Online : 2349-7769|
The potential benefits of investing in forestry and progressing towards a green economy are manifold. It can solve the problem of economy and environment by replacing fossil fuel energy with renewable energy sources. Producing biodiesel from tree-borne oilseeds is seen as opportunity to solve two of India’s most pressing problems that of stimulating rural development and needs of energy. As oil-bearing trees can be grown in semiarid regions, there is a potential to rehabilitate degraded lands which are abundantly available in India. Biodiesel production in India involves much fewer risks for the environment and food security. The use of wood fuel has several benefits it can benefit financially because it is currently the cheapest heating option moreover it also help in reducing carbon dioxide emissions and subsequently help to combat the climate change. The financial and environmental benefits are probably good enough reasons to switch to wood fuel. The future of bio energy and wood energy development is largely dependent on the effectiveness of policies and the consistency with which they are implemented.