The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has called upon forest officers across the country to equip themselves with the knowledge and skills to deal with challenges thrown by the changing climate, changing weather patterns and the challenges thrown by each ecological area.
He said that the traditional role of forester was changing radically and He or she was now entrusted not only with the sustainable management of forests but also the empowerment of the people, who were dependent on forests.
Vice President while interacting with the Officer Trainees of the 2018 batch of Indian Forest Service at Upa Rashtrapati Bhawan, today stressed upon the need to educate and encourage people on forest conservation and protection.
“Very little scope to expand forest cover given the growing population, it is time that we conserve, preserve and protect them,” he added.
Calling the Forest officers the custodians of forests, Vice President Naidu said that it was their mandate to implement the National Forest Policy, in order to ensure the ecological stability of the country, through the protection and participatory, sustainable management of natural resources.
Saying that forest conservation and protection was essential to maintain ecological balance, the Vice President asked Forest Officers to be the custodians of our national treasure and play a vital role to play in striking a fine balance between development and environmental conservation.
“This balance is necessary for the inclusive and sustainable development of a fast-growing nation like India,” he added.
He also asked them to place special emphasis on preserving the forests of the North-Eastern region of India which has been consistently losing tree cover over the last 18 years.
Pointing out that a number of species of flora and fauna were now facing the threat of extinction due to habitat loss and fragmentation and reckless exploitation, the Vice President said that loss of biodiversity might trigger large, unpredictable and disastrous changes in the ecosystem that would adversely impact all life on earth.
The Vice President said that India has been playing a key role in addressing climate change and biodiversity loss at the global level. He opined that India, being one of the big countries in the world in terms of population and economy must become a world leader by creating a model for other nations to follow.
He appreciated the significant progress made towards conservation goals. He expressed happiness about the recently announced results of the tiger census that estimated that the number of tigers in India had increased from 1411 in 2006 to 2,976 in 2018.
(With inputs from agency)