Himachal Pradesh’s Forest Department is involving school students in planting saplings and ensuring their survival to create awareness, officials said on Sunday.
For this, the department has set up the Vidyarthi Van Mitra Yojna under which eco clubs have been set up in the schools to identify open or degraded forest areas for carrying out plantation of indigenous species. These areas will be maintained by the students, to help them develop a bond with plants.
In 2018-19, 228 schools were covered under the scheme and 166,830 saplings were planted in 164.30 hectare area.
In 2019-20, 146 schools were covered and 86,702 saplings were planted in 131.5 hectares, an official statement said.
Under this scheme, the students and school administration play a vital role in identifying the site for plantation of saplings.
A micro plan for plantation is prepared by the school administration and the Divisional Forest Officer provides approval to it. The department provides necessary technical information for plantation.
The students are not only responsible for plantation of the saplings but also maintain the area on a long-term basis.
The government is laying stress not just in creating awareness among students on conservation of forest and wildlife but is also emphasising on conservation of the natural resources.
Besides, the government is ensuring conservation of forests for those communities that are dependent on resources generated from forests for livelihood.
In Himachal Pradesh, 37,948 sq km is forest area and 15,433.52 sq km is green forest cover of the total forest area. About 16,376 sq km forest area is above treeline.