Bihar inks MoU with FSI for TOF field survey to promote agroforestry

NEW DELHI: To encourage tree plantation on farmland along with crops to help farmers get additional income, Bihar government in association with FSI has decided to conduct ‘Trees Outside Forest’ (TOF) field survey to identify the dominant tree species that are growing outside the recorded forest areas (RFA) in the state, an official said.

As per the Forest Survey of India (FSI) India state of Forest Report, 2021, Bihar has registered an increase of 3.79 per cent in growing stock in RFA and 0.58 per cent in TOF respectively, the official said.

“The overall tree cover has also increased in the state from 2,003 sq km in 2019 to 2,341 sq km in 2021. The FSI survey was conducted by using remote sensing based forest cover mapping of all patches of more than one hectare within and outside the RFA. Now, we want a comprehensive TOF survey based on field inspection”, Ashutosh, Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, told PTI.

He said, “Through this survey, we would be able to identify the dominant tree species that are growing outside the RFA in rural as well as in urban areas. After this survey, effective measures will be taken to encourage tree plantation on farm land along with crops to help the farmers get additional income and make their farming systems more climate resilient and adaptive.”

Ashutosh said there are several areas of agroforestry which will be beneficial for the farmers. These include, nursery development, boundary plantation and block plantation of prominent tree species to promote, inter-alia, fruit bearing trees, tree borne oilseeds, medicinal and aromatic plants in addition to timber species.

The TOF field survey, for which a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the FSI is expected to start from April.

“The survey, which will be completed in two months, will cover all 38 districts. According to initial estimates at least 150 to 170 plots (measuring between 0.1 to 1 hectare) will be surveyed in each district. It may be increased further during the survey. We are expecting to conduct a field survey of around 6,000 patches in the entire state. We have constituted 266 teams for this comprehensive exercise”, said the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.

“The integration of trees into farming systems will not only increase the farmer’s income but also improve the resilience of their farming system. Through an agroforestry system, farmers can add trees to their land and plant them in and near cities. It has many environmental and socioeconomic benefits”, said Ashutosh.

According to FSI’s 2021 report, top five species in numbers in trees outside forests in Bihar in rural and urban areas are: Mangifera indica (commonly known as mango), Dalbergia sissoo, (shisham), Borassus flabellifer (commonly known as doub palm), Litchi sinensis, Syzygium cumini (commonly known as jamun), Bombax ceiba (commonly known as cotton tree) and Psidium guajava (guava). Besides, the Bamboo bearing area inside RFA is 1,103 sq km.

Source: Press Trust of India

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